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Essay: A frame work for Citizen Relationship and Grievance Management System (Cir & GMS) through multi-channel access for Government services: The Indian Perspective

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A frame work for Citizen Relationship and Grievance Management System (Cir & GMS) through multi-channel access for Government services: The Indian Perspective
Some industry observers perceive that the primary goal of e-Government is ‘citizen interaction with the Government online. However this is not entirely true. Not all government information and services can be provided online as the citizens have diverse needs and demands of services and hence the government should be conceived with a balanced selection of multi-channel access. A multi-channel, single-window government is becoming increasingly popular because a multi-channel approach provides different means of access which encourages more participation by citizens. This approach tends to deliver better results than a single channel approach. The goal for multi-channel service delivery is to provide the government with a consistent view of the citizen and that the citizen experiences the government as a unified and cohesive organization. Ensuring that citizens have a number of channels to access public services is perhaps one of the most common principles or goals that inform the development of e-Government services. But according to the United Nations E-Government Survey 2012 only few developing countries are providing citizen services through multi-channels access. This paper aim is to examine public service delivery through the multi-channel access in the Indian context through an exhaustive case study. A framework namely ‘Citizen Relationship and Grievance Management System (CiRGMS) through multi-channel single window access for effective E-Government services’ is proposed. Furthermore, the results of the trial use of the framework are outlined. This paper identified that a successful adoption of multi-channel by governments has the potential to provide better service delivery. It is, however, acknowledged that such initiatives in developing countries are fraught with numerous challenges. This framework provides some guidance to decision and policy makers in the public sector.
Keywords: multi-channel service delivery, e-government, Grievance Management, Citizen Relationship, Channel choice
1. Introduction
The Mandates of e-Goevrnment can only be achieved if a large range of government services are delivered seamlessly to citizens (Vincent, Dombeu & Huisman , 2011).Many researchers have highlighted the fact that e-government has the potential to provide a one-stop solution for citizens’ access to government information and services (Reddick ,2009,Chircu and Lee ,2005).The single-window government provides the public with multi-channeled access to integrated services on a one-stop-shop basis across the whole of government. This represents a transformational shift in how government operates (CGI , 2005).The e-government transition path is given at Fig 1.
Fig 1: e-government transition path [Source: EGTP(2006)]
The goal for multi-channel service delivery is to provide the government with a consistent view of the citizen and that the citizen experiences the government as a unified and cohesive organization (OECD ,2012).Emerging advanced technologies and multi-channel delivery channels such as Internet, mobile telephony, SMS, IVRS, notice boards, newspapers, public announcements, media broadcasts, visiting offices etc. have helped government to think innovatively in delivering public services (NCEG, 2012, Webratna,2012).The government should provide the citizens with the freedom of choice of the channel ,according to their preferences, capabilities and needs. Apart from the Web access to government services, a number of countries have successfully utilized such channels such as citizen service centers, automated kiosks, call centers, mobile networks (“m-government”), digital TV (“t-government”) (CCG, 2007).Citizens can make selections according to their needs and circumstances and receive consistent information and services across channels resulting in an increase in their satisfaction and trust in government. In order to increase demand and support for e-government services, the government has to develop a multi-channel single-window common service delivery infrastructure, including offline citizen service centers (Nag Yeon Lee and Kwangsok Oh , 2011)).A few developing countries are exploiting the full potential of multichannel service delivery (UN ,2012).Leading countries including the Australia, Ireland , US, and UK are advocating the delivery of service through integrated delivery channels where citizens can access government by any means. They also promote the integration of channels so that regardless of the channel of entry, citizens can get a consistent level of service across all channels (IBM, 2008).
A multi-channel, single-window government is becoming increasingly popular because a multi-channel approach provides different means of access which encourages more participation by citizens. This approach tends to deliver better results than a single channel approach. A multi-channel approach is necessary to ensure maximum participation of citizens and since different groups are likely to have different preferences and capabilities of access to these channels. For example, the rural population is less likely to have access to electronic channels (e.g. the Internet, e-mail, mobile, digital TV) than the urban population (WB ,2006). The Multichannel public service delivery can also be used to deliver sustainable services to socially excluded groups (UN, 2012). The various zones of citizen /customer activity is given at Fig. 2
Fig 2: Zones of Citizen/Customer activity [ Source :FCS (2001)]
The paper is organized as follows; Section 2 presents the literature review to understanding E-governance and citizen service through Multi-channel. Section 3 provides understanding Multi-Channel Architecture, Integration & Management and Strengths & Weaknesses. Section 4 defines Citizen Relationship and Grievance Management (CiR&GMS) followed by the conceptual framework of CiR&GMS. Section 5 presents the case study of multi-channel services provided by some State Governments and Central Government in India by applying the proposed framework. Section 6 discusses the findings and results of the study and followed by issued and challenges given in Section7. Section 8 presents recommendations and conclusions.
2 Literature review
Across the world, many governments believe that there are significant opportunities to improve the citizen services and reduce cost by transforming deliver services through a one stop shop. Socially excluded groups require an intermediary person or organisation to enable them to benefit from a combination of information and transactions, put together to meet their highly specific and complex needs ( Ecotec Research Limited, 2009).There are five principles of a citizen- centric one stop shop; namely: 1) Listen to the citizens 2) Break down the silos 3) Enable a multi channel service experience 4) Improve through citizen feedback 5) Set citizen centric service standards (PWC, ?, Curtin and al. 2004, Grant and Chau (2006)).Increasing power of
has provided governments with the flexibility of providing services and information to citizens through multi-channels. Citizens have diverse needs and demands for services; therefore it is no longer sustainable for governments to utilize one preferred way of service provision over the other. It is now ever more essential that governments exploit all possible delivery channels in order to reach out to as many people as possible, no matter how poor, illiterate or isolated (UN,2012).
Some industry observers perceive that the primary goal of e-Government is ‘citizen interaction with the Government online, however this is not entirely true. Not all government information and services can be provided online as the targeted users may face different obstacles in making full use of such resources. Hence citizen services should be conceived with a balanced selection of multi-channel access. While the internet and information kiosks are popular modes of online government service delivery, channels such as telephone, postal mail and face to face contact remain just as important in citizen interaction. Information kiosks are particularly useful in rural areas (Young ,2004).
In the private sector, customers have many different alternatives in which they can interact with a company. In addition to the traditional service delivery format (face-to-face), companies are using voice-to-voice (toll-free telephone support) and bit-to-bit (on-line service delivery) modes, as well as combinations thereof, to deliver their services (Keen, De Ruyter, Wetzels and Feinberg, 2000).Traditional media such as radio, books, and network television is primarily designed to be a broadcast platform (one-to-many), whereas social media is designed to be a dialogue (many-to-many interaction) (Porter, 2008).This many-to-many interaction allows large groups of geographically dispersed users to produce valuable information resources (Benkler, 2002).Hence it t is necessary to provide multiple channels for extending government services to the masses, particularly vulnerable groups in rural areas.(IEEE6269561), for example, a governmental service might be requested using a website, whereas status information is obtained via the telephone (Phythian and Taylor 2001).Therefore a mix of electronic and traditional channels, which must be managed together for effective and efficient service delivery, will typically be used to ensure citizen participation.
Website :A website is a multi-functional information system which provides a single point of access to relevant services (Forman and Thompson, 2007).The UN (2012) assessment indicates that, websites aim at centralizing the entry point of service delivery to a single portal where citizens can access all government-supplied services, regardless of which government authority provides that service. The Research shows that citizens mainly use the Internet to search for information, to provide government agencies with information and to order forms or documents [Van Dijk. J, Pieterson.W, Van Deuren.A and Ebbers.W, 2000].Citizens expectations for the service levels from government websites has also increased considerably ( Barnes & Vidgen , 2006). The combination of Internet access and maps provide a new level of services (ESRI, ?).Only a limited number of countries promote free access to government services via the Internet through means such as kiosks or free Wi-Fi. Only 25 countries have developed separate m-government websites, and 24 countries provide the option of making payments via mobile phones. No country had a true single-sign-on integrated portal ( UN , 2012)
Fig 3: Countries offering a one-stop-shop (UN, 2012)
E-Government realized that the Internet cannot be the only medium for electronic public service delivery for technologically less developed countries. A number of hybrid offline and online strategies are coming out of developing countries as an alternative to the use of the Internet (IEEE”). Holden( 2003) mentioned that most of the time, use of the internet by governments is limited to providing content on websites. Heeks (2008) does not agree that e-government should only have the involvement of Internet related applications, which some argue as prerequisites of e-governance. Both talking and listening to citizens remains as important segments of the process with respect to informing citizens of public sector activities and incorporating valuable inputs from them while preparing policies of public interest.The crash of the Internet-bubble led to a rethinking of the position of the Internet in the channel-mix (Ebbers et al. 2008). This was due to observations such as that the Internet as a whole was not going to replace the other channels, (Pieterson, 2009 ).According to ITU ( 2009) beyond the Internet, other technologies and applications can be used for e-government services, such as telephones (fixed or mobile), messaging systems (SMS or MMS), fax, biometric identification, smart cards, radio-frequencyID (RFID) chips, as well as television or radio-based government services used to provide disaster warnings, electronic newsletters, education management systems and traffic control systems.
Mobile channel :
The mobile channel in particular has become a popular means for communicating with government, while offering choice and personalization to citizens (IBM, 2008). Mobile government as one of the channels in multiservice delivery, has tremendous benefits for public agencies. Research suggests that the economic and social benefit of mobile technologies will be highest in rural areas, which currently have less telephony services (UN , 2012).Some services are inherently more appropriate for delivery through mobile channels (e.g. paying tolls, reserving parking places etc) since citizens mainly use these services on the move. Mobile phones can be used for provision of emergency and other time-critical public information to citizens. The Short Messaging Service (SMS )could be the more appropriate channel to deliver e-government services in developing countries (Susanto and Goodwin, 2006).In most countries SMS is a more cost effective medium with respect to conventional medium, such as mail and fixed line telephony (Panagiotis Germanakos, George Samaras and Eleni Christodoulou, ‘?).In many developing countries including India, SMS is considered as a legal document (Srivathsan, 2004, ‘? SMS India HT 2013).The Research shows that the main reason why citizens use SMS based e-government services is because they believe that these services are easy to use (UN, 2012).In developing countries people are more familiar with SMS than the Internet, the number of SMS users is much higher. The SMS costs are lower than Internet costs and mobile phones are much more affordable than Personal Computers. SMS could be the more appropriate channel to deliver e-government services in developing countries (Susanto and Goodwin, 2006).
A recent study of farmers conducted in Bangladesh, China, India, and Vietnam found that 80 percent of farmers in these countries owned a mobile phone and used them to connect with agents and more than 50 percent of these farmers would make arrangements for sale over the phone. (Minten, Reardon, and Chen ‘?) .Because of the limited screen size and the limited amount of material that is visible to the user, SMS technology may not be appropriate for submission of long forms such as for filing taxes (UN , 2012).
E-governance has created an avenue for its citizens to communicate through tools such as as video conferencing, online grievance channels and complaints’ cells ( Waida,2000). Call centres are increasingly using the short messaging service (SMS) to receive queries and feedback and also to provide basic information to clients. Kinder (2001) is of the opinion that transactions in call centres are five times cheaper than paper-based transactions while the cost is ten times higher than that in Internet-based transactions. Social media has experienced a rapid shift from pure Web-based sites to large and ubiquitous interactive communication platforms. As for the public sector, less research has been conducted sorely oriented to the exploitation of the social media (Moreira, 2010; Punie et al., 2009).Social media presents a new avenue of not only e-service delivery but also usage. At present only 40 per cent of member states are using a social networking site (UN ,2012). Unlike traditional media such as television or print advertising, social media provides continuous contact with citizens.Increasing use of smart cards allows the citizen to have access to a number of government services and thereby prevents fraud and misuse of public services resulting in increased public confidence in welfare and taxation services (Wescott ,2003).
Streib and Navaro (2006) also find that people prefer in’person and telephonic in comparison to the internet.It is argued by Kinder (2001) that even if Internet-based transactions are cheaper, consumers in general have greater access to the telephone and thus Internet use in these areas is criticized as intensifying social exclusion. This is an important factor for developing countries where social exclusion already exists to a large extent. Telephone usage could therefore be argued as a more viable option than the Internet, hence justifying the use of call centers by the public sector rather than adopting the online mode of e-governance.In a number of countries where studies have been conducted on channel usage, it appears as though the telephone and face-to-face channel remain the most popular. In most countries, the use of the Internet (websites and e-mail) increases. The number of visits and hits on websites has grown tremendously since the introduction of the Internet. However, apart from a decrease in the use of the written channel (Berner Fachhochschule and Unisys, 2005) the use of the traditional service channels has not decreased in most known countries. This implies that the total number of contacts with most governments has increased in recent years (Deursen and Pieterson, 2006).Despite the advantages of the Internet, citizens prefer the more expensive personal channels (front desk and telephone) to the newer cost-efficient digital channels for many service interactions (Pieterson, W (2009), Pieterson,.W M. Teerling and W. Ebbers, 2008).According to the ITU ((2011), 73.8 percent of the population in developed countries, 26.3 percent in developing countries and 34.7 per cent of the entire world population were able to access the Internet. This means that nearly 65 per cent of citizens worldwide do not use the Internet at all. In various countries, the use of the traditional service channels did not decline after the arrival of the digital channels .It also seems as though people add digital channels to their set of service channels rather than substituting traditional channels with digital channels (Dholakia, Miao and Nikhilesh (2005).This implies that, although the digital channels are used quite frequently, citizens do not autonomously switch to the digital channels (HOW , ‘?).Research in a multichannel setting also shows that younger males with higher educational levels are more interested in technology (Burke ,2002).Some ggovernments including the US and Australia have made it a priority to develop strategies to serve citizens in remote communities and to provide services in a citizen’s language of choice (www.vgov.org).
The above literature study indicated that, the Government services should deliver through a wide variety of channels, as certain channels are more suitable than others to meet their requirements. A realistic set of channels must, therefore, be selected from the available range of potential channels.
2.1) Some examples of Multi-Channel Service Usage
The different one-stop delivery channels deployed in different countries to increase access to e-government services include the following: 1) One-Stop Citizen Service Centres (CSCs) : Where single-window service delivery is implemented by several agencies, for citizens who prefer or who can afford only face-to-face interactions, examples Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Portugal, South Africa and the UK. 2) Tele Centres :Public access points with free or subsidized access to e-government services (via postal network, libraries, schools, community centres, etc. 3) Call Centres : Service delivery via the telephone by government call centres, often outsourced to private contractors examples: Canada, Italy and USA. 4) Web Portals :Service delivery via user-friendly government Web portals based on interoperable technologies, examples: Canada, Republic of Korea, Singapore, UK and USA 5) m-Government :Mobile service delivery via short messaging service (SMS) and specially designed m-government portals, examples: India, Singapore, the Philippines and UK. 6) t-Government :Interactive terrestrial digital TV-based e-service delivery via specially designed government TV channels/portals, with both broadcast and on-demand content, examples: China, Italy, Republic of Korea, the UK and the US (Nag Yeon Lee and Kwangsok Oh, 2011).The UN (2012 ) Survey finds that the majority of countries are not fully utilizing the opportunities provided by multichannel delivery mechanisms. Only few countries like Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States are using multichannel service delivery because they provide services in various channels such as traditional ones supported by intermediaries, free access to public services through kiosks or WiFi, and mobile-based channels such as mobile web or applications.
3) Background on Architecture, Integration, Management, Strengths & weaknesses of Multi-Channel
This section introduce central concepts related to Architecture, Integration & Management , Strength and Weakness of Multi-channel are discussed in section 3.1, and 3.3 respectively.
3.1) Multi-Channel Architecture
A channel could be defined as ‘a means for users to contact public administrations (inbound) or for public administrations to contact their users (outbound) with the aim of acquiring or delivering public services. This includes the use of web-based technologies, telephony, print media , face-to-face contacts, applications of these technologies such as the internet, e-mail, SMS, call centers or the counter; and devices to access the applications such as a personal computer, mobile phone, kiosk or digital TV’ (IDA, 2004).In this paper multi-channel means multi-device. A service is multichannel if citizens can access it through more than one channel.
The multi-channel service provisioning (MCSP) means providing services by means of a number of different channels. The government agencies are increasingly implementing MCSP.The rationale of MCSP is that citizens or business can use their preferred channel to interact with the government, or change their preferred channel depending on their needs and circumstances while interacting with the government (Veenstra and Janssen ,2011).The architecture of a multichannel is given at Figure 4.
Fig: 4 : A multi-channel architecture [ Source: (IDA,2004)]
3.2) Multi-channel Integration and Management
The Multi-channel Management (MCM) is the effective and efficient deployment of channels for the communication, interaction, transaction with and/or distribution of products/services to the client (Teerling, 2007).The key aim of MCM is to present a consistent and coherent experience to the citizen and to manage the citizen as a single entity In the multi-channel integration strategy channels are no longer managed separately, but are connected in order to be seen as one single channel. However, for either historical or other reasons , many have developed their channels as separate silos (Caldow, 2001).Separate development of different channels for a single service can lead to inconsistencies such as different data formats or interfaces. Therefore to overcome the drawbacks of multiple-channel service delivery, the different channels should be integrated and coordinated (Goersch, 2002 and Iqbal 2003). To enable channel integration, the common data that are used by the front office applications should be stored centrally so that they can be shared by the applications. Various authors argue that integration should be the ultimate goal of channel management (Ebbers, Pieterson, and Noordman, 2008). An integrated channel strategy offers many advantages compared to other channel strategies when it comes to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public service delivery ( Pieterson and Johnson ,2011).The reasons for the increasing popularity of MCM are its potential to adjust the available service channels to the needs and behaviors of the citizens, to cost reduction and citizen satisfaction (Treacy & Wiersema, 1997; Ebbers et al., 2008).A few examples of integrated multi-channel can be found in Australia ( ? ) and Canada ( ? ).
3.3) Strengths and Weaknesses of Multi-channel
The Strengths and Weakness of Multi-channel are given at Table 1.
Table 1: Some Service delivery Channels and its usage
Channel Description
Call Centre Voice contacts (e.g., telephone), Internet contacts (e.g: chat, e-mail), written contacts (e.g: faxes, regular mail (postal)), self-service through Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRS) and direct contact with citizens.
Counter Provides direct and personal contact, suitable for complex services that cannot be provided over self-service channels. Expensive to operate, physical distance and limited opening hours are some of the issues with this channel.
E-mail Suitable for certain services that don’t require personal contact, available on a 24*7 basis, less formal than regular mail (postal). Some of the weaknesses of this channel are expensive to operate, devices needed to access, visually impaired persons may be assisted by automated attendants, requirement of electricity, bandwidth issues and spam may discredit the channel.
Instant messaging Suitable for asking brief questions and for obtaining a prompt answer, faster than e-mail, danger of misunderstanding due to brevity of messages, spam may discredit the channel.
Digital T.V High potential for including until now excluded social groups ,seen by many users as an entertainment device, no single technical standard yet, low penetration rate
Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) Accessed over a phone line, suitable for simple services ,available on a 24*7 basis. issues with IVRS ””””?
Kiosk Services can be provided through integrated Internet kiosks. Good for rural or difficult-to-reach areas where stationary Citizen Service Centres (CSCs) might not be cost-effective. But high front cost is one of the weaknesses of this channel.
Mobile Devises Enable users to access services irrespective of location, offer functions such as SMS, e-mail, access to the Internet (WAP). Some of the weaknesses are: Limited screen size, network issues, convergence of different devises (e.g., PDAs and mobile phones).
Mobile Citizen Service Centres (CSC) The government brings the services to the citizens through specially outfitted trucks and busses. Useful for serving populations in isolated or peripheral areas. Allows poor and vulnerable groups easier access to services. But services such as as driving license would involve photography, driving test etc cannot be provided through the common service centers. Also this channel needs advanced technical infrastructure and higher operating cost are some of the weaknesses of this channel.
Personal computers Widely used device to access the internet’
Public Internet Access Points (PIAP) Intended for users who have no access to the internet at home, usually located in public places .Physical distance may be a barrier.
SMS Send short messages to and from mobile phones, suitable for notification services, can be combined with other channels (websites, e-mail boxes), messages to be sent via the fixed line telephone system. This technology may not be appropriate for submission of long forms such as for filing taxes.
Telephone Preferred by many users (instead of e-channels), Very high penetration rate and costs dependent channel speech or auditory impaired may be assisted by text phones and communication assistants, may be used to access websites.
Website Can contain very large volumes of information, available on a 24*7 basis devices a call centre agent guides the user through his web session .Accessing device (Comuter or mobile phone) determines viewing , services phishing and internet connectivity are some of the issues with this channel..
Source: (Source: (IDA,2004 & Singh 2008)
4) Citizen Relationship and Grievance Management (CiR&GMS)
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a well-known concept in the private sector.Government agencies are treating citizens as customers, hence they are also looking to the principles of CRM. According to the IS 15700: 2005, a ‘grievance’ is an expression of dissatisfaction made to an organization related to its services, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected. A grievance is thus any sort of dissatisfaction, which needs to be redressed. The basic principle of a grievance redressal system is that if the promised level of service delivery is not achieved or if a right of a citizen is not honoured then the citizen should be able to take recourse to a mechanism to have the grievance redressed (ARC,’?).
4.1) A Frame work for Citizen Relationship and Grievance Management System ( CiR &GMS)
This section discuss the frame work of ‘Citizen Relationship and Grievance Management System (CiR & GMS)’ through multi-channel access to E-Government services. This framework ( Fig.6) has five key layers namely Access layer, Multichannel layer, Communication and Security layer, Application layer and Government Layer from an e-governance perspective. The main aim of this frame work is to provide citizen services through a multi channel service delivery in a timely and cost effective manner.
Fig.6: A frame work for Citizen Relationship and Grievance Management System
(CiR & GMS) through multi-channel access to E-Government services.
4.2) Vision, Objective and advantages of CiR & GMS
The vision of CiR & GMS frame work is a one-stop multi-channel access to deliver Citizen Services seamlessly. The aim is to bring together and fit together. Through this frame work , the government services (Central, State and Local) can be provided to their citizens in integrated, transparent, and economical manner by using multi-channel access (Traditional channels such as the counter, telephone etc to Modern channels such as internet, e-mail, SMS-messaging, interactive voice response systems (IVRS), digital television etc.) on 24×7 basis. This multichannel access provides a digital gateway to government information and services, delivering the right information, to the right people, at the right time, through the right communications channel. The objective is to consolidate data across multiple Government organizations, with a common architecture and minimize redundant efforts. Some advantages of this frame work are: 1) Provide a single view of citizens across Government departments 2) It will enable government agencies to centralize government contact centers 3) Collaborative database, and communications tools, for making citizen interactions are more convenient 4) It will also help the government agencies to increase potential return on investment 5) The Citizen can interact with either traditional or modern channels or mix of both channels at anytime and anywhere basis.
5) The Case Study
In this case study, the author try to analyze the implementation of CiR& GMS through multi-channel service delivery in the Indian context. Some case studies are applied in the proposed frame work and studied the results and finding, which are given in the next section.
In India, over the last two decades, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), has emerged as an effective tool to deliver services to the people. Expansion of telecommunications infrastructure & penetration of Internet has enabled the government to provide effective, efficient and multichannel delivery of government services to the citizens’ at large (NIC, 2013).According to UN (2012) survey India’s E-government Development Index (EGDI) is 0.3829, Online Service Index (OSI) is 0.54, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is 0.11.The average mobile data speed in India is among the highest of developing countries and higher than China or the United States ( World Bank , 2012).The Indian government is slated to spend Rs 368 billion (US$6.9 billion) on IT in the year 2013 (Gartner ,2013) & (EGOV, 2013).About 77% of Indian have an average of 30 applications on their phones. This makes them the largest users of Apps worldwide. About 41% of Indian access content on the internet only through their cell phones. There are over 1000 million internet subscribers in India, of which 60 million users actively use Social Media. 80% of Indians spend more than 15 minutes a day on Social Media (Appcot and Neilsen Wire, ‘?).The evolution of e-Governance channels in India is given at Fig [7].
Fig 7 : Evolution of e-Governance channels in India , Source: Assocham (‘?)
5.1) Some State-level Initiatives for Citizen Service Delivery (Source: Respective State Government website)
Andhra Pradesh: The APonline web portal provided various Government-to-Citizen (G2C) services through multiple delivery channels. Citizens who were not computer literate or who did not have access to the internet could use manned kiosks (TCS, 2011).The mobile based Garbage Monitoring System enables sanitary supervisors to report the status of cleaning of garbage bins through their GPS enabled mobile phones. They can also upload pictures of the cleaned bins through their mobiles in real time on website. The citizens can view the status through website (‘?).
Bihar :The citizens can seek information through Right to Information Act (RTI) Call Centre 155311 and a Web based Bihar Public Grievance Redressal System (BPGRS ‘?).
Chattisgrah: Citizen Services are available through ‘CHhattisgarh Online Information for Citizen Empowerment’ (CHOiCE) and phone numbers 0771-2533350,4080106
Chandigrah : Providing services and information to the citizens through a) e-Sampark,: ,Multi-services under a single umbrella b) e-Jan Sampar: Access services from kiosks c) m-Sampark : Access information through mobile.The Citizen can send SMS ‘SMENU’ to 8888 d)e-Gram Sampark: to bridge the digital divide, especially among the rural ,e-Gram Samparks have been setup across all the villages.
Delhi :. A centralized Internet (web) based Grievance Management System (GMS), which is functioning on 24×7 basis,citizen can call the telephone number 155355 and can also visit website http://155355.nic.in. The citizens lodge their grievances using any medium namely such as telephone mobile phone, IVRS, WAP , or paper based representation. (NiSG, ‘? and http://www.155355.nic.in). The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) providing citizen services through Call centre on 24x 7 in both Hindi and English languages .The status can get through e-mail, phone and SMS ( Times of India , daily news paer , Delhi editition dated : ). The Delhi police is using Social media to identify violations of traffic rules
NDMC ,delhi police, jal board ———————.Interacting citizens through Video conferencing (HT, 2014)
Gujarat: Jan Seva Kendra (JSK) enabled citizens to have a unified and simplified view of government services. The JSK is providing 97 kinds of citizen services through various channels such as a)Application submission to delivery at one spot b) Home Delivery of processed papers c) Special Assistance to Physically Challenged, Illiterate people and Senior Citizens d) Online Status on 24×7 basis e) Automated Phone Response( IVRS : 079-23242501) f) by telephoning or visiting JSK g) Barcode-based tracking of papers h) Biometrics-based Identity i) SMS based auto-email ,SMS based Status (SMS query on 997-997-2068) j) Information kiosks k)Mobile Vans to reach out to people in far flung villages, l) feedback and grievance redressal through website http://jansevakendragnr.gujarat.gov.in (Gujarat Informatics ‘?).
Madhya Pradesh : One-Day Governance ( Samadhan Ek Din Mein in Hindhi) aim is to bring all government services under a single roof and make a system simple and convenient. These services solved on the day of submitting application.
Maharastra :MahaOnline is a web enabled service portal that acts as an electronic gateway into the Government’s portfolio of services. It is an end-to-end integrated solution and provides various e-Governance services to its citizens.
Kerala : DC-Suite, it is an application for e-Collectorate, providing services including public grievances through multi-channel service delivery points such as Internet, IVRS, Chat ,SMS, e-mail and Intern Kiosks and Service Counters are provided on 24 x7 basis. The SMS based m-health information system (Dr.SMS) also provided to the citizens.(Source: Compendium of E-goverance service , 2008).The Kerala Chief Minister’s website provides various the modes of citizen participation such as email, SMS, video, online form submissions and live webcast (Source:http://www.keralacm.gov.in).
Goa : The Integrated Citizen Service Centres (ICSCs) (called as Lok Seva Kendra ) are envisioned as the “Single Window Service Delivery Channels for citizens for ensuring accessibility, convenience, transparency and timely in Service Delivery.The SMS based services are also provided to the citizens to track their application status.
Haryana : An Electronic Delivery of Integrated services (called as e-Disha) are provided to their citizens.
Himachal Pradesh: A web based system for online grievance submission, redressal and monitoring ( called as E-Samadan).A facility for uploading pictures and video are also provided. The update on grievance redressal status is notified to the citizens by SMS and e-mail.
Panjab: One-point of contact for acceptance of application and delivery of services (called as SUWIDHA) Citizen can track the status the help of token number through IVRS based system (called as DialCITI) or website (http://suwidha.nic.in).
Karnataka: Integrated services are provided to the citizens through a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ facility accessed through multiple delivery channels like Integrated Citizen Service Centers (ICSC’s),Electronic Kiosks, mobile phones and the Internet. A GIS based Property Tax System also provided for citizen convenience (Source: ‘?)
Rajasthan: The Citizen services are providing through multiple channel such as : a) Citizen Service Centers (eMitra ) b) Internet: connect to government’s web portal for search information and make payments etc c) Call Center: for example the Revenue department using IVRS to answer queries regarding land records d) Mobile: Citizens can request services through mobile phones or digital personal assistants e) Kiosk: Citizens can access services through kiosk f) Existing department service channels: This is an important channel for example transport department where obtaining a driving license would involve photography, driving test etc, such services cannot be provided through the common service centers g) Digital TVs: Using this delivery channel citizens may be able to request services and information through their TV sets.(Rajasthan, ‘??). The Citizens can lodge their grievances through portal http://sugamrpg.raj.nic.in/ (called as SUGAM).Online monitoring of time bound delivery of services through Rajasthan Guaranteed Delivery of Public services act are also provided(Source: http://rgdps.rajasthan.gov.in)
5.2) National Level Initiatives
Ministries/Departments of the Government of India are providing Citizen’s Charter ((http://goicharters.nic.in/) to improve the quality of citizen services.The Short Messages Services (SMS) is a valid on par with the digitally signed ones, to promote government services through mobile phones ( Hindustan times daily news paper,2013).
The ‘Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances ‘ bill to promote transparency and accountability in the government’s delivery systems for its citizens,.(Sourcehttp://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cabinet-okays-right-to-timebound-services-bill/article4484265.ece).The Right to Information Act 2005, gives citizens the right to receive government information timely. Unique Identification (called as Aadhaar) is a 12 digit citizen identification number, ensuring easy access to government schemes. It is integrating with various social welfare schemes for the benefits of the citizen across the country (www.uid.gov.in). The Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) is monitoring on a real time basis through Voice response system.This system integrates a web portal with the IVRS through Cloud Telephony (igovernmnet , ‘??), .Kisan Call centre’?,Rural Broadband Connectivity to all 250,000 Panchayats (local governments) will be provided in to bridge the digital divide.( Egov Magazine, 2011,.e-Authentication (e-Pramaan)’ to serve as a document for government agencies for implementing online and mobile based services (Source:http://egovstandards.gov.in).Some of the other initiatives summarized at national level are:-
National E-Governance Plan (NeGP): The vision of NeGP is to make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets on an anywhere and anytime basis and ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability at affordable costs. The benefits of NeGP are convenient and faster access through multiple-channel access at anytime and anywhere on 24×7 basis (Sorce:www.negp.gov.in).
m-Government :The government is providing mobile based services (called as ‘Mobile Seva’) to the citizens to interact directly with the government departments through SMS on 166 and 9223166166 via mobile apps. Over 830 government departments have sent more than 540 million SMS notifications (Source: http://mgov.gov.in).
Government Website: The website namely www.India.gov.in is providing a single-window access to the information and services to the citizens. It provides a unified interface for over 5000 Indian gov??ernment web sites and acts as a logical front end to the e-governance schemes and programmes (Source:www.India.gov.in)
Common Services Centres (CSC): CSCs are envisioned as the front-end delivery points for government services to citizens. The CSCs are providing cost-effective video, voice and data, web-enabled e-governance services including application forms, certificates and utility payments such as electricity, telephone and water bills. The CSC Rollout Status across India as on August 2013 is 1,27,002 (Source: http://csc.gov.in)
Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS): The aim of CPGRAMS is to provide a platform for redress of the citizens’ grievances against any Government organization in the country. Similar concepts have already implemented in various States , for example, the Lokvani in Uttar Pradesh State (http://pgportal.gov.in/Default.aspx).
Indian Railway: Citizens can interact with Indian Railway through multi-channel services such as : Website (www.indianrail.gov.in), Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS), Call centres ,SMS, Citizen Service Centre (CSCs), Mobile Vans, m-Ticketing (booking over the mobile phone) and Biometric system for booking tickets to prevent touts from booking multiple train tickets.
Vigilance Eye (VIGEYE): Citizens can send their grievances and complaints through multiple-channel such as: Compliant can made through telephone, by filling up the complaint form online through website namely http://www.vigeye.com.The citizens can send audio, video and photo through their mobiles to Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
6) Findings and Results
Even through many States and Central government departments are delivering citizen services through the modern and traditional channels, only few States like Gujarat and Rajasthan are delivering citizen services through maximum multi-channel usage as compare to the other states. Bihar is the first State to start Right To Information (RTI) Call centre. The analysis of this case study further showed that many States are lagging behind in their use of advanced services including channel integration, particularly modern channels like Social media, digital T.V etc. This is probably due to their lower than average socio economic status and digital skills. The success of one State is not replicate in another State due to numerous reasons. Banking and Railway are effectively using traditional and modern technology including mobile applications such as iPoid, Android in India. The banks are sending salary information as SMS information. It is useful particularly in the rural area employees to save time as they no need visit the Bank or its website to know about the salary. The same trend should flow in all the government departments across the county.
The recruitment agencies such as Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Staff Selection Commission of India (SSC) are accepting applications through online mode only. Some organization still accepting applications for recruitment through traditional mode such as postal services, where there is no internet connection (IITDelhi,2014).However for calling interview/section information are sending by government organization through postal services only, other channels such a SMS or e-mail are not using adequately. For an example at present vacancies and results are providing through the respective organization’s website , print media and employment news, but this information should provide through other channels such as e-mail,SMS
7) Issues and challenges
Fast moving technology such as Social media creates challenge for government organization for implementing multi-channel. Finding the right balance between applications and devices and investing wisely on technical platforms in an era of rapidly changing technology is a difficult task that public officials face in the design of multichannel service delivery systems UN(2102). e-Government applications that is pre-occupied with three issues: 1)The implementation of new channels and services: This issue mainly focuses on the question of what services to bring online and what pre-requisites for a successful e-government strategy exist 2) Multi-channel issue: the management of all channels and the integration of the electronic channels with existing ones.3)The consideration and evaluation of the latest trends and developments (Pieterson and Johnson ,2011).Creating integrated service delivery that cross multiple (public) organizations’ boundaries is more complicated (e.g. Janssen, Gortmaker, & Wagenaar, 2006).Multichannel public service delivery is a complex process. It needs interrelated and integrated service delivery (ISD) from government departments. All channels need to share a set of common principles and their data and a culture of cooperation among agencies must be in place. Effective coordination and cooperation call not only for technical interoperability but also strong political and top level management support .Many countries with low levels of infrastructure and human capital remain at lower levels of e-government development with serious issues of digital divide UN(2012).Providing one-stop services to citizens requires interoperability , constitutional, legal and jurisdictional limits.Despite all efforts in bringing services online and electronic channels, many citizens fail in using electronic services e.g. Lack of digital skills (Van Deursen, 2010) or due to bad design or resulting in them using other channels (Pieterson, 2010).Computers is more complex to learn and use than mobile phones, faxes or interactive TV (Cisco, 2004).Pieterson (2011) argue that near about 40% of citizens fails in using the electronic channels. These citizens turn to traditional channels such as telephone and face to face.
The electronic channels are fast, have a high geographical reach, have a high storage capacity, and are accurate and selective.However, also score low on their social reach, degree of interactivity, their stimulus richness, complexity and privacy protection (Van Dijk ,2006). Studies on the choice of service channels (Pieterson, 2009) show force of habit is an important factor limiting successful take-up of e-services. Citizens will choose the channel that offers the most benefit for the least cost (Teerling & Pieterson, 2010).Channel integration can bring many benefits, it has provided challenging for many organizations. Depending on the history and evaluation of an organization’s channels, the organization may face structural hurdles to integration. The question of what to integrate is complicated by the fact that business process, such as demand planning and product selection , vary by channel (Jundial, Ogawa, and Sekharan, 2005).Les Worrall (2001) argue that how can we develop more multi-channel approaches that will enable a wider cross-section of society to engage with e-Government? Given that the disadvantaged, the old, and those who have disabilities tend to be more reliant on public services, how can we structure our approaches to e-Government to meet their needs rather than the needs of the more vocal and advantaged members of society? All these are huge challenges that need to be addressed.
India gives a unique challenge to ‘e-Governance’ professionals because of several reasons ranging from poverty, awareness, literacy, basic infrastructure, bandwidth issues, multilingual and cultural issues. Effective implementation of e-goverance is difficult because of illiteracy, for example in Rajasthan , the literacy rate is around 61.03% (e11online , ‘?).Lack of peoples’ participation and fractured relationships between government agencies and citizens are some of the reasons for the failures of the application of the ICT in service delivery in India (Sreekumar,2002).Smart phones will still prove expensive for many Indians, who ‘can buy less advanced phones that have cameras and basic data services’ (Sharma, 2010). People in rural areas, many citizens are not aware about ICT developments.Most of the content of government websites in Indian context is in English , while large segment of population is non-English speaking. Some of the states government publishes content in their regional langues , which become totally inaccessible to citizens from rest of the country as well as for people around the world (Ni, Ya, A., Ho, Tat-Kei, A., 2005).
In India, almost 25% of the 80,000 villages without electricity and hence these villages are still depending on traditional channels. (Shukla, 2007).Moreover while urban areas in the country are deeply penetrated with the mobile services, about 57,271 villages in the country are yet to be connected with mobile services. Out of the 57,271 villages, Odisha has the highest number of villages uncovered by mobile services (6,734), followed by Chhattisgarh (5,460), Maharashtra (5,394), Jharkhand (5,308) and Uttar Pradesh (5,013) ( mymobile , ‘?).
Understanding the needs of citizen by the government is vital for implementation of multi-channel services successfully. While implementing the channel choice , the government should get the answers such as : What is the impact of moving a service/user from one channel to another? What is the best combination of channels to best meet all citizen needs? Which channels are suitable for which services and type of citizens? What are the costs and benefits to the Government and the citizen? The user requirements such as flexibility, accessibility quality and security are to be considered when deciding on which channels to use by the citizens. Van Veenstra and Janssen (2010) identified eight key questions that organizations need to answer when implementing a multi-channel strategy: 1) Starting by changing the front office or the back office? 2) Starting by changing the technology infrastructure or the organization? 3) Changing the channels one by one or all at the same time? 4) First implementing quick-wins or radically redesigning the whole organization? 5) Big-bang migration or step-by-step change? 6) Managing migration as a project’ or as a process’? 7) Implementing change top-down or bottom-up? 8) Making middle management or project team responsible for the migration?
8) Conclusions:
This paper presented a frame work for Citizen Relationship and Grievance Management System through multi-channel access to E-Government services in the Indian context. This framework provides some guidance to policymakers and public sector with respect to the nature and prospect of such operations. As the relevant issues are identified and discussed, it will provide them with a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities of operating multi-channel services from an e-governance perspective. This Framework covers the development of multi-channel for delivering services both electronically and by traditional means.It also offers researchers and academics with the prospect of conducting empirical research to validate or further enrich the framework. This paper results shows that the government has to offer the full range of channels because some users will never move online, and some cases traditional channels such as face-to-face, written or telephone interaction is a necessity.
Since citizens are not homogeneous and they all have different needs. The government need to keep in mind that all citizens have equal rights to access public services, that is, all citizens should be able to access services even if they do not own or have access to most innovative platforms, such as a smart phone or tablet. A country cannot achieve all conceivable e-government goals with a single initiative or there is no single integration model that is appropriate for all organizations. Also based on the literature and case study of this paper, it was observed that the induction of technology alone will not improve governance; the government procedures must be re-engineered. The experience and research suggested that, first determine the citizens’ needs and then design the system in a citizen-centric manner. However it is not a one-time activity or one-shot approach to be completed in a short period of time, it requires a long-term evolutionary process. Therefore the government should work on integrated multi-channel experience on pilot basis. The author hopes that this paper will provide some lessons and examples of how transformational change can be more effectively delivered so that e-Government can deliver more of what it promises.
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