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SUWIDHA – A Perspective

SUWIDHA [Single User-friendly WIndow Disposal and Help-line for Applicants], designed and developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) provides convenience to the citizen. It is built to provide the convenience to the citizen by capturing the input at a single point, defining a specified delivery date depending upon the type of service and accepting cash at the counter itself. SUWIDHA 1.x version was initially implemented at Fatehgarh Sahib District in the year 2003 as per directions of the Chief Secretary, Govt of Punjab and then rolled out in all the districts.

During its inception, SUWIDHA was mainly conceived for the DC office only, but its successful implementation has generated its demand at the offices at other levels of the district administration such as SDM office, Tehsil etc.

Governments world over have been criticized for not delivering the services for which they were created. The giant machinery remains at work with virtually no output. In the past, several attempts have been made to improve its efficiency by introducing Information Technology (IT), however, the dividends have been minimal and the plight of the citizen remains the same. The citizen wonders at the very sight of the digital gadgets used in government offices. The computers are planted with great expectations of creating miracles, but the whole effort turns out to be mere hype and internal data processing. It may be worthwhile examining the Citizen dilemma:

  • Has to visit different branches for varied services of district administration.
  • Is not familiar with government culture.
  • Does not know the procedures
  • Is unaware of the schemes being implemented for his benefit.
  • Learns about the completeness of his application many days after he had submitted the same.
  • Has to frequently visit the branch to ensure movement of the case and to enquire the status.
  • Services take a long time.
  • Services are not delivered as scheduled.
  • Has to visit many offices for a single service.

Initiating IT activities with government dilatory procedures cannot yield the desired results. At best it can slightly increase the efficiency of the staff. The citizen friendly system can only be built after Re-engineering government processes while keeping citizen convenience as the prime goal of the whole exercise. The government has to redefine and redesign itself at all levels. Today, for example, for every petty service charge, one has to go to the bank and treasury for making payment before the application form is accepted in some other government office. The government needs to answer many questions such as:

  1. Why can’t the petty fee be accepted at the counter itself and deposited in the treasury by the government office as a composite challan?
  2. What is the need to visit many branches for a single service?
  3. Why can’t a citizen charter be defined with service delivery time frame depending upon the type of service desired?
  4. Why can’t a control loop be included in each activity so that the delivery mechanism can be checked for quality?
  5. What is the need for verification again and again? Can’t the services be provided on the spot?
  6. When there is a single government, why to have a number of faces to talk to the citizen?

SUWIDHA has been conceived to facilitate citizen by capturing the input at a single point, defining a specified delivery date depending upon the type of service and accepting cash at the counter itself.

Following are the objectives of SUWIDHA Project:

  • To provide service level convenience to the citizens
  • Re-engineering of Government Processes to provide quality & timely services to citizens
  • To integrate SUWIDHA Back-end Services (SUBS) with front-end to reduce the time of delivery.
  • Linkage with Web based Citizens IT Interface (WebCITI) or Dialup based Citizens IT Interface (DialCITI) to know the latest information about their service./p>
  • To standardize the processes throughout the state.

The project was initiated in August 2002 at Fatehgarh Sahib. It was inaugurated by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab on 31.10.2002. The project was funded by Government of India, Department of Communication & Information Technology. The project was successfully completed by District Administration with technical support of National Informatics Centre, Punjab State Centre. Based on the success of the pilot, the Government of Punjab decided to implement this project in all districts of Punjab along with SUWIDHA Back-end Services (SUBS) of the Deputy Commissioner Branches in December 2004. The project replication started in all districts with technical support of NIC-District Centres. As of now, the project is being executed in all Deputy Commissioners’ offices. All the objectives given above have been achieved successfully. Now the project has been extended to establish State Level Data Centre for SUWIDHA Project.

Service Orientation

How SUWIDHA Works?

  • The citizen approaches SUWIDHA Queue Counter and gets the Queue Token number.
  • He waits for some time till his token number is displayed on the screen. On his turn at SUWIDHA Service Counter, he files his application.
  • She/he is issued a receipt cum token number, which specifies the date of delivery of services. Each type of service has a pre-defined delivery time and system automatically calculates the service delivery date.
  • All kind of payments for the fees etc can be made at the SUWIDHA counter. This further saves the inconvenience of the citizen caused to visit either bank or treasury office to deposit such payments.
  • The application/case is then sent to the branch for action.
  • In between the citizen can track the case with the help of SUWIDHA Token number through DialCITI (which is IVR based system) or website, wherever implemented.
  • In order to ensure the timely delivery, the DC monitors the progress regularly so that citizen does not have to visit the office un-necessarily.
  • The delivery of documents/processed case is made on the specified date. The delivery of the documents is also from SUWIDHA Delivery Counter and not from the branch. This way the branches are able to concentrate on the backend work rather than attending to the citizens and this further helps in improving government services and the citizen are freed from inconvenience /harassment.

With this process, all applications received are recorded and monitored against the delivery due date, branch-wise. Computerized print, placement of processes has improved the quality of service. SUWIDHA Software provided the facility of local language (Punjabi) as well. The operators are available on the counters for the prescribed timings so easily accessibility to the citizens.