Giving people a voice
Lokvani is a single-window, self-sustainable e-governance solution. It provides transparent, accountable and responsive administration for grievance handling, land-record maintenance as well as an eclectic mix of essential services. Built on the public-private partnership project, Lokvani had its inception on November 9, 2004 in the district of Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh. The idea was to make governance more approachable for citizens and also have a system to monitor the government officials effectively.
The key players of the model are government, IT entrepreneurs, kiosk owners and citizens. A society by the name of Lokvani was constituted at the district level to implement the project autonomously to reduce some of the bureaucratic pressure. The Lokvani society meets its expenses from the money received from the registration of kiosks, and short-term and lifetime membership fees. The conversion of existing cyber cafes and computer training institutes into Lokvani centres drove the financial success of the society. A kiosk has an internet-enabled PC, printer, and webcam, and is run by an IT entrepreneur.
There are 42 uniformly-distributed kiosks at the block and tehsil levels. Lokvani offers many services. Most popular is the grievance and petitions service, which allows citizens to register and then track the status of their petition via a kiosk. The complaint is then transferred to the designated officer who can read but cannot modify it. Citizens can follow up on their complaint with the help of a mobile phone.
Lokvani allows filing of application for birth, death, income, and domicile certificates at the kiosks. The system has been introduced on a trial basis. The land record system service has information in the local language about the type of land, list of villages and details about the allotment of land in villages. Individuals can view the land records by paying a nominal amount.
The tender service has information about the tenders and their terms and conditions. The tender forms are also available for download. Results and comparative charts of all bids are displayed on the internet within 24 hours of allotment.
The implementation has provided easy access to information, streamlined grievance petitions and their follow up, precluded the dependence on Lekhpal for furnishing official documents, made it easy to get information about various government schemes, facilitated teachers to view their GPF account details at any kiosk, abated the likelihood of illegal negotiations by implementing online tender services.
It has also increased government accountability and efficiency—an officer is assigned a fixed period to redress an issue, and provide a progress report to the district magistrate and citizens. The kiosk operators now have an opportunity to earn extra money without any extra investment.