Government services in rural areas are less accessible and of lower quality than those in urban settings. A number of factors affect rural service delivery. Factors such as cost of transportation, harassment from the public officials etc can impede access and utilization of information and services. Access to information and services is a key to democracy. Public access to government-held information allows individuals to better understand the role of Government and the decisions being made on their behalf. Government of Kerala has made an influential stream of studies on this and finally led to the implementation of Project Akshaya which is envisaged to promote digital inclusion of the State, especially for the benefit of rural population. Affordable and quality access to right information and services at right time forms the solid foundation of economic growth of the State.
- As a socio-economic development Tool:
The major citizen centric services available through e-District portal are:
- 1. Revenue Department Certificate Services
- 2. Right to Information (RTI) Services
- 3. Public Grievance Services
- 4. Payment Services- Utility Payment Services, Calicut University Services, Welfare 5. Board Fee Payments, Police Department Payments
- 6. Revenue Court Cases
- 7. Forest Department Services
- 8. Motor Vehicle Department
As a citizen empowerment tool
Akshaya project was envisaged to impart training to at least one member in a family to be e-literate. In the roll out phase, basic training was provided to the selected candidates to familiarize with the basics and scope of IT with the support of relevant hands-on. It was the largest rural e-literacy training project worldwide organized ever and concluded by transforming 32.8 lakh citizens benefitting from the initiative.
e- Learning Courses Offered: Various computer courses to children and adults in association with Intel, NIELIT and Apna CSC
As an e-Governance tool
Aadhaar , a 12 digit Unique ID number, is essentially an identification document issued by the UIDAI after it records and verifies every resident Indian citizen’s details including biometric and demographic data. This helps the Government to gain all information about its citizens and also helps a citizen to access all the required services from the Government. In Kerala, Akshaya is the ambassador of Government for all Aadhaar related assistance to the citizen. More than 1.81 crore citizens have been enrolled under the UID through Akshaya centers in Kerala.
The emergence of e-Government in India has led to the discovery of many innovative ways of public service delivery to citizens. Kerala has chosen Akshaya centers as a one stop service delivery gateway. Akshaya, as a social partnership business model has again proved it efficiency when it took up the Chief Ministers Jana Samparkka Program and successfully delivered end to end service through its wide network of manpower across the state.
Akshaya - An Anti- Corruption tool:
Akshaya can be viewed as a positive and authorized channel of e-Governance, for enhancing trust in Government through governance accountability and citizen empowerment. Corruption is a governance issue. Akshaya curbs corruption by integrating critical elements like access to information& services, empowerment and capacity building.
Increasing access to information/services leads to transparency of rules and their applications in specific decisions and increases accountability by building the ability to trace decisions/actions of Government. Improved capacity and commitment of resources are also required to increase computer literacy in general.
Akshaya – A Social Empowerment tool
Akshaya, as a governance tool, apparently create opportunities for the upliftment of all, particularly the weaker sections of the society by fixing accountability more sharply. E-government efforts of Akshaya, therefore, have an impact on women’s empowerment and gender equality. As an inclusive and unbiased e-government initiative, Akshaya always give priority to gender equality.
Participation & Empowerment of weaker sections: The empowerment of women and children is one of the remarkable achievements of Akshaya by guaranteeing their rights to fully participate in the information society.
Akshaya –A measurement tool for social return on investment
The advent of e-governance through Akshaya has been a great benefit by changing the way citizens interact with the Government. Through Akshaya center initiative, the Government empowers its citizens with quick and convenient access to a wide array of services, while reducing the costs to a great extent.
Confirming Return on Investment will be a critical factor in the growth of governance in the State. By ensuring that all the policy goals are met,Akshaya
Banking Services: To promote Financial Inclusion in the State, Akshaya along with its 1802 banking kiosks across Kerala has taken the banking and insurance services to another level by increasing the mutual trust between the Government and the public. It forms a viable solution to the citizens for ease of financial transactions and thus facilitating economic development of the State.Today, Akshaya can be positioned as a common corridor catering to almost all needs of a citizen connecting the common man to Government.
Educational Assistance: With the help of a web based solution ‘e-Grantz ’, Akshaya aids for the timely disbursement of educational assistance to all the post matric students of SC, ST, OBC as well as economically weaker sections of society in Kerala. It provides provision for making online application, processing and sanction of educational assistance. Around 3 lakh students across 3463 educational institutions have been benefitted.
Taking up vast projects like renewal of ration cards, Comprehensive Health Insurance (CHIS) were impossible feat achieved with ease in Akshaya. The huge success of the program brought about 36.4 lakh families under this scheme and over 98% of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families under medical health program.
Free and fair election process was achieved at the 4000 sensitive polling booths of Kerala during the State Legislative Assembly Elections 2016, best utilizing the pooled technology and trained manpower of Akshaya to live webcast the poll process for the Election Commission of India. Today, the Akshaya-social entrepreneurs of the State have become the prominent responsible arms of the Government at the grassroots for almost all of its citizen centric transactions.
Today, for a common man, Akshaya has taken the Government and its officials to his/her door step, to deliver efficient services. This is achieved by establishing with a minimum of 2 and maximum of 4 Akshaya e-centres in each Panchayat and upto a maximum of 6 centres in a Municipality. The number of centers will be enough to cater to the requirements of the population in a Corporation keeping the sustainable distance of 2 km.Thus, Akshaya centers can be used as a strategic tool to control corruption and to act as a trustworthy companion to its closest society to fulfill their service needs.
The gender development projects and other skill development welfare schemes like Akshaya Jyothi, Akshaya Jwala, Oorilorudivasam etc have helped empower women through intensive training programs on technology, leadership quality and entrepreneurship development. The project opens up immense opportunities for women participation at various levels as entrepreneurs, master trainers, social animators, trainees etc. Better public service delivery would assist Akshaya in creating a favorable environment for youth and women entrepreneurs to be prosperous. In essence, this aims to remove the constraints and develop the entrepreneurship in the State.
plays a vital role in minimizing corruption at various levels. Project Akshaya acts as a collaborative framework to provide close integration of information and communication technology to e-governance objectives and thus an effective valuation of ROI helps the Government to guarantee this integration of technology and mission.
Akshaya: As Change Agents in Governance
Akshaya is an outstanding group of aspirants with a strategic mission to transform public services across all sectors of our State. The entire team of Akshaya plays a pivot role as ‘Agents of Change’ for sustained, socio-economic development around Kerala and the impact of its activities result in enormous gains for public participation and social inclusion.