The role of NIC’s ServicePlus in ensuring smooth governance during the lockdown

Government of India’s NIC has played a phenomenal role in extending technical support to the Centre, various states and Union Territories ever since the lockdown was imposed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi due to Covid-19 pandemic. ServicePlus framework has helped the states process 48 million applications and raise revenue of INR 630 crore during the lockdown.

To overcome challenges involved in reducing the timeline without compromising on quality and functionality, the National Informatics Centre’s (NIC) has launched an application development framework, ServicePlus to provide the solutions to reach the market with unprecedented speed. 

ServicePlus has turned out to be a huge hit as it ensured smooth governance with respect to delivering essential e-services during Covid-19 pandemic period across the country. 

It has helped different states to process over 48 million citizen services applications and raise revenue of INR 630 crore during the lockdown period. NIC says that it has developed a plethora of online applications using the ServicePlus framework for smooth governance. 

As many as 29 states, Union Territories and seven central departments are delivering over 1,665 services through ServicePlus platform.

It has garnered praise by the Centre, a number of state governments and various line departments in the past seven months of the lockdown.

Like other digital solutions, NIC’s ServicePlus framework was also extensively used by different stakeholders during the lockdown. All the services related to COVID-19 have undergone frequent version updates to accommodate the frequent policy changes of various governments. The features are incorporated in ServicePlus in such a manner that, it can be configured to suit the requirements of any stakeholder. 

“ServicePlus, a open source and multi-tenant architecture based configurable service delivery framework, is quick to learn and easy to use. The plethora of configurable features, including API based interaction with other systems, allows each tenant to configure their services as per their requirements using their choice of local language. ServicePlus renders a single unified portal to the citizen, along with mobile app, for accessing any service, track submitted applications, subscribe to alerts powered with its own dashboard,” says Deepak Chandra Misra, Deputy Director General, NIC.

ServicePlus also enables services to be accessed in local languages and it renders a single unified portal to the citizen for accessing any service, track submitted applications, subscribe to alerts.

A few services which are being provided by the governments via ServicePlus can be categorised as following:

  1. Regulatory Services: Services like trade licences, permit for construction of a building etc. that can be denied to citizens.
  2. Statutory Services: Services like issuance of birth/death certificate which cannot be refused to citizens.
  3. Developmental Services: To render the government welfare schemes such as NREGS, IAY, old age pension, etc.
  4. Consumer Utilities Service: Services like bill payment and other comes under utility services.

Why ServicePlus?

A senior NIC official explains that ServicePlus provides all types of components and modules one needs to fabricate an Electronic Service Delivery system. It facilitates a wizard like interface to define and configure a service. The system allows to perform User Acceptance Testing (UAT) before commissioning the e-service. It is a Low Code – No Code platform which has inbuilt modules like, Service Definer, Service Coverage Selector, Target Beneficiary Definer, Form Generator Document Designer, Service Charge Calculator, Task/Process flow Designer, SMS/Email Notification Definer, DSC/eSign Signer and others. He also claimed that there is no fixed set of application forms or process flow in ServicePlus; rather the stake holder is free to generate any forms and can decide the flow of the application as per their choice thereby making it more user friendly and configurable. 

Integration with Aadhaar, DigiLocker

NIC claims that ServicePlus provides seamless integration with popular customer centric services like Aadhaar, Digi-locker and multiple payment gateways (banking or Government Receipt Accounting System). ServicePlus is a one-stop solution which gives citizens access in availing various pan India e-governance services, and supports Aadhaar-based authentication mechanisms.

The Centre’s Aarogya Setu app, which gained a lot of traction in the times of Covid-19 to help people assess the possibility of Covid-19 infection as well as identify the proximity of any such case in their locality, has also been integrated with ServicePlus. 

Integration of ServicePlus with Aarogya Setu app comes with several features such as the status of the applicant’s Aarogya Setu shown to the workflow player to take informed decision, pushing ePass to the respective area of Aarogya Setu, once pass is issued, validity of e-passes issued to an individual, direct downloading of ePass through Aarogya Setu.

Besides, in the initial months of the lockdown, people across the country had faced hardships in getting ePass to travel from one place to another. To help the people avail benefits of ePass, the government had developed ‘ePass system’ which was based on ServicePlus to issue online passes for intra district, inter district and inter state movement in essential services. A total of over 35 lakh ePasses have been processed in 17 states in the recent months.

Many states such as Maharashtra, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh are using ServicePlus as e-Panchayat MMP; Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Tripura, Assam Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim are using it as e-District MMP/RTPS. Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Kerala are using this framework for services beyond those identified under e-District. 

Easy data integration across platforms

ServicePlus facilitates the data flow with DigiLocker, CSC e-wallet, eTaal, e-Sign, Aadhaar and many more as and when required. It provides a visual approach to connect to these data sources and embed data elements directly into the application. It facilitates one to design data models and configure business logic directly.

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