Nashik and Mumbai District Planning Committees (DPCs) in Maharashtra recently adopted the Integrated Planning office Automation System (iPAS) to overcome challenges faced to review and track the developmental projects undertaken by the Government. Thirty six more districts in Maharashtra are implementing iPAS, which will go live by 1st April, 2020.
“iPAS has been designed with flexibility and comprehensiveness in such a way that it can be implemented in any district.” says Dr. Rajeev Papneja, Chief Growth Officer, ESDS. In Maharashtra, this technology has reduced turnaround time of each letter by 50%. iPAS has so far digitised 530 schemes under the district planning committees (DPCs) in Maharashtra.
iPAS helps in aggregating the requirements of the general public, be it the need for schools, public toilets, hospitals, town hall, etc. Member of Parliament (MP) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) can choose from a list of demand based works and prioritize funds accordingly from their annual budget. Through a monitoring dashboard, MP and MLA can check real-time progress of these works. The general public too get real-time update through the public portal of iPAS, thereby ensuring complete transparency.
“The Integrated Planning Automation Software (PAS) can be implemented for other districts of the state with minimal changes. We are proud to have initiated full-fledged automation for the state of Maharashtra,” says Yogendra Chaudhari, Nashik District Planning Officer.
A disjointed manual system
The schemes, projects and activities planned by the DPCs at the district level are executed by the respective agencies known as the implementation Agencies (IAs) such as Public Works Department (PWD), Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and Zilla Parishad (ZP). The DPCs chart need based plans for the developmental projects. They were in the lookout for a system to maintain and manage the plans, which entailed activities such as, categorize letters, allocate work, track work status, manage funds and generate reports for these requirements.
As there wasn’t an automated system in place, the DPCs faced multiple challenges like manual fund management, document management, manual report generation, increased paperwork, delayed work approvals, misplaced files, lapsed budgets, data security concerns. Due to irregular monitoring of schemes, and thus lack of analytics capture, a huge data repository was being generated in DPCs but stored in silos.
iPAS: Government and people can track project progress
After understanding the working mechanism of a district planning committee, a thorough requirement gathering was undertaken to devise an office automation system. The various modules and data sets of all the 36 districts of Maharashtra were integrated. After multiple trials for its success and smooth operation, iPAS was ready for full roll out as it was able to do everything a DPC would require. iPAS offered a holistic view of all the operations carried under the district planning committee. Now the top level authorities of state administration were able to see real time progress of public works in their district/city.
With the public portal view, citizens can see the work being properly planned for the entire district/city. They can monitor the work being done on maps along with photographs. In order to fulfil the DPCs’ growing development needs, iPAS brought automation in letter management, a process for approving various types of works proposed under different programmes. It also provided comprehensive reporting to the administration and government.
Four pillars of iPAS
The four features that DPCs needed the most: Document Management System, Fund management and monitoring, Work flow automation and GIS based work monitoring – were made available.
Document Management System (DMS) offers a complete automated system for inward and outward letters. DMS also includes creating a structured and secured document life cycle having phases like verification, approval, publication, distribution, archival or elimination of documents.
Fund management and monitoring brought transparency and visibility for each project under each scheme. This is very helpful for the implementation agencies to ensure timely fund release and also, to avoid human errors. Fund Monitoring was now easy based on historical data for projects and schemes.
Work Flow Management keeps track of all the works proposed under the DPCs. iPAS mobile application offers an easier option to a district planning officer to track or inspect any work schedule.
GIS based work monitoring allows tagging of assets and tracking through GIS-based maps. This makes it easier for district planning officers to upload images of assets, project site and monitor the work progress. Real-time management information system reports offers quick analysis.