Karnataka designing iCare platform for mobile governance: CM

Bengaluru: Tech-savvy Karnataka is designing a platform named iCare for citizen engagement through its Mobile-One service for minimum government and maximum governance, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Monday.

“We are designing a platform on the lines of ‘Open 311’ some states in the US are experimenting with to use technology for transparent and open communication using standardised protocols for location-based collaborative issue tracking,” Siddaramaiah said, inaugurating a two-day regional conference on ‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’ here.

Referring to the prime minister’s call to state governments for mapping their department databases with Aadhaar (unique identification) for better targetting and removing all irregularities, Siddaramaiah said the state government was working on creating such databases on all schemes meant for beneficiaries.

Karnataka became the first state in the country to offer a range of citizen services through mobile applications linked to various state departments since December 8, 2014 when President Pranab Mukherjee flagged of its Mobile-One platform in this tech hub.

Asserting that technology was at the core of transforming the way India would be governed in future, the chief minister said that Karnataka was a pioneer in using ICT (information and communication technologies) in providing a plethora of public services to its citizens across the state.

“Though good governance means many different things to different people, for us it means convenient, accountable, transparent and efficient service delivery to the 6.5-crore (65 million) people of the state, as 5.4 crore (54 million) of them use mobile for voice, data and a host of services,” Siddaramaiah said.

Noting that road to ‘Digital India’ began from Bengaluru as the country’s IT capital, the chief minister said public services became faster, affordable and transparent through the use of first computerisation, followed by electronic-governance and mobile governance.

“As a result of computerisation of state departments in the nineties and e-governance in the first decade of this century, governance has evolved into a more citizen-centric, service-oriented and transparent offering through m-governance,” Siddaramaiah told about 300 participants from the southern states, including ministers, officials and other (private) stakeholders.

Claiming that Mobile-One service was getting one-lakh hits or downloads daily and transactions were steadily picking up, the chief minister said besides the central government, many state governments have approached Karnataka to replicate its m-governance model across the country.

“A top United Nations team visited our Mobile-One centre and showcased it at the UN headquarters in New York. The wireless service had also won many awards including Express IT Award Gold and CSI Nihilent e-governance award,” the chief minister recalled on the occasion.

“Use of integrated digital media will also allow the government to elicit public opinion, which is shaped every single minute, whether or not government is tapped into it or not,” Siddaramaiah affirmed.

The m-service can extend to citizen audit of public works, or of rural asset creation programmes that entails a G2C (government to consumer) or a G2B (government to business) engagement.

Karnataka also won the Prime Minister’s award for excellence for path breaking project namely E-Sugam (Simple Uploading of Goods Arrival and Movement) in which 30 lakh forms per month are generated, enforcing accountability and has reduced corruption by making traders act as agents of government for indirect tax collection.

“Tax collections are in the range of Rs.40,000 crore per annum through five-lakh returns and has eliminated 1.5 lakh visits of traders, daily to government offices,” Siddaramaiah added.