How do we speed up the government machinery?

Government offices in India are notorious for their delays. A citizen may engage with a Government office for certificates, passport etc. on an average of may be ten times or more in their lifetime.

While I see passport offices have gotten, say 2x or 3x better over a decade, others like power supply or water supply or the certificate issuing authorities in states have only marginally improved in handling customer requests.

I recently visited Bangalore’s water supply board (BWSSB) to correct a higher fee they were charging on my water bill than the stipulated. I gave the request to them in 2021 June. After a couple of months I got someone visiting my house to inspect the category under which my house falls to fix the correct charge.

And then it went silent.

In 2022 March I again went to check in their office. They had moved to a new building by then. The lady whom I had submitted the complaint a year before asked me for the written complaint letter where she had acknowledged with a seal. And how on earth was I to know I had to preserve it?

I still went ahead looking for it turning every part of my house. Couldn’t find it. And after a month or so went back to her. She then got all her files and finally found the original letter.

She then went to the computer department (yeah, it’s all automated) to find if they’ve updated it and it wasn’t as I was still paying more. She then asked me for a new letter. I gave one and she called the fellow who inspected the house to check. This time he didn’t visit the house. He just asked me questions over phone and told me he has given a report to fix the charges and it will reflect in the upcoming bill.

But it did not for another two months.

When I went there again the lady recognized me and again went through the files. She found the inspection report is done and it had to be updated in the database. She went to the IT person and then finally got the data entered and gave me a updated bill.

If you take this as a snapshot of what happens in Government offices and why your papers are delayed, apart from things like Corruption and bribe,

It is an issue of having a dashboard that shows the workflow on every request, the different stages of the flow and where your request is currently waiting, how long it will take to move to the next stage in the flow etc.

Different departments have different flows. But it’s all a flow at the end of the day with entities and people affecting the state of a request. A case for a CRM.

If Government of India can deploy a CRM that can track the workflows of all Government departments across India, across states, and public can get to know where things are not only on their requests, but general data analytics that shows the performance of the different Government departments in handling citizen requests, it can drastically improve the woes of citizens.

And this is entirely possible to achieve.

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Thalapathy Krishnamurthy

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