Ranchi, Sept. 1: Santhal Pargana is lagging far behind in Jharkhand’s attempt to deliver IT-enabled citizen’s services as the state government is yet to outsource the job to a private company ever since the contract with a Delhi-based firm was terminated a year ago.
The six districts of Santhal Pargana, the pocket borough of JMM supremo Shibu Soren and his family, including son and deputy chief minister Hemant, are to have 1,019 pragya kendras in village panchayats that will use information technology to ensure a host of services like issuing caste and other certificates, railway tickets using the Internet, banking facilities through village-level entrepreneurs, information about government schemes, etc.
But as of now, only 10 common service centres (CSC) have been set up. The contract with Zoom Developers was annulled a year back as it was too slow in implementing the project in the region.
Now the information technology department is thinking of inviting fresh tenders, a process it has already gone through five times earlier in its search for the perfect e-partner or a service centre agency.
“We have no option other than inviting fresh tenders. For, we evaluated the financial bids offered by companies who responded to the second bidding process of the IT department. Not one of them are suitable for our the project,” explained Rajesh Prasad, manager, CSC, e-Governance Services India Limited.
Zoom was one of three firms selected as service centre agencies to set up 4,562 pragya kendras in panchayats.
While United Telecom Limited (UTL) was to set up e-kiosks in Ranchi, Hazaribagh and Kolhan, Alternative for India Development (AID), a Delhi NGO, would tackle areas in Palamau commissionary that also includes districts of Chatra, Garhwa and Latehar.
Both United Telecom and Alternative For India have achieved reasonable success in implementing the project (see box), but the nagging problem they face daily is that of Internet connectivity and power supply, both huge challenges in the hinterlands of Jharkhand.
As per an agreement, the state government would pay Rs 700 per CSC per month in Ranchi to UTL, in case of Hazaribagh and Kolhan it is about Rs 3,000 per CSC per month. AID is to get Rs 3,280 per CSC set up in Palamau per month.
However, none of them has received payment as the project hasn’t been completed. A high-level committee has therefore, extended the project by another four years.