Cloud Telephony and IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System)
The Daily Monitoring System has been devised by the Mid Day Meal Authority, U.P. for data collection directly from field level on real time basis and for monitoring huge government programmes efficiently and effectively. As implemented for Mid Day Meal Scheme in U.P. the Project envisages a systematic data collection from about 1.52 lac schools daily on real time basis to Track number of schools that served meals, Track number of children availing meals in schools The major challenges in getting real time data from 1.52 lac schools were mainly two: Getting data through Ã¢â‚¬ËœpullÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ method Facilitating teachers for giving data without spending a single penny so that reimbursement/accounting/auditing exercise is not required. The system is conceived on the basis of an interface between computer and mobile phone through an out bound dialing solution wherein calls are placed to all the teachers from a virtual number using PRI lines. The teacher keys-in number of children who availed MDM on his mobile. The system generated compilation of the data is displayed on web. Transmission of real time data does not leave scope for data manipulation/distortion. Moreover, availability of exception reports improves efficacy and transparency of implementation..
What do we deliver?
1. Collect the information on the number of children to whom mid day meal has not been served, 2. Make available this information to various levels of officials for analysis, 3. Alerts to the officials at various levels for making necessary interventions, 4. Various analytics available on the portal for providing a kind of DSS for the decision making level. 5. 24×7 access to the analytics to the district officials for information and remedial action, 6. Communication.
Whom we deliver?
Government of India, Government of U.P., Mid Day Meal Authority, U.P. at Lucknow, all the Divisional Commissioners for monitoring the scheme within their divisions, all the District Magistrates who are the nodal Officers of the Scheme at the district level, all the Divisional and District level officers and MDM cell of the Education Department who are responsible for implementing and monitoring the Scheme for whom the key information being provided by the System on real-time basis is the number of children who availed meals on a particular day. Database for 5 School Management Committees is being developed for involving them under the System so as to enhance community ownership of the Mid Day Meal programme on one hand and initiating a true process of social audit on the other.
How is the project unique?
The vision of the initiative was conceived by Mr Sudhanshu Tripathi, Chief Finance Officer of the Mid Day Meal Authority, U.P. way back in 2007. Mr. Tripathi submitted a concept paper (being submitted as an attachment) wherein he visualized a system of daily monitoring the implementation of the Mid Day Meal scheme on real time basis in terms of regularity below district level (i.e. upto school level situated in far flung rural areas of the State) and thereby to have better control over the scheme. The concept paper visualized that SMS of number of children availing MDM would be sent by all the school teachers daily on a central server and a web portal created with a messenger service would record information received via SMS directly from schools on a database and link it with an MIS for daily reporting. However, on account of the problems of language, user-friendliness, cost, and modifications etc, the sms based solution was not found to be resolving all the issues. Above all toll free sms was not possible across all the networks; so the sms based solution was unable to ensure that teachers do not pay out of their pocket for giving the information. It was in this perspective that the cloud telephony and IVRS was conceived as a viable technological alternative when Mr Amod Kumar joined MDMA as its Director. Literature was looked for any international or national previous experience in this regard. It was found that though IVRS was being used in different sectors for spreading information, but for large scale data collection and for generating MIS and DSS on account of that, IVRS was not used anywhere. So it was decided to experiment with this system and the new design was submitted to the Governing Body of the Mid Day Meal Authority. After approval of the Governing Body, the initiative was launched and implemented. The system is unique in the sense that it does not have to depend on the respondents to initiate the provision of data from their end. Thus it is a process innovation in the system of info flow It has been ensured that the teachers do not spend a single penny to deliver the data Application of Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) ensures that the system is completely outsourced, is cost effective and involvement of service provider remains till end. Interactivity and ease of use to the users on account of the simplicity of the system make the system user-friendly Overall, the end result is a success story that is worthy of emulation by various other sectors. Most importantly, it has brought in a system of accountability and transparency, primarily because data is available almost immediately. Upon stabilisation of this system, this data could serve various other purposes, or new components could be added to the existing process. Nevertheless, its impact has been that compliance with the scheme has improved to a great extent, which is the ultimate objective of the monitoring system.
Good governance signifies functioning of the government organization in a fashion that the outcome of the functions performed are for the good of the people at large and which also projects a sense of participation by the people in the process of its functioning. In short, if a government of the people is made to function by the people and for the people as such, the entire process of governance in such a scenario would be good governance. ICT, on account of its vast potential in terms of pace and transparency of information, can be used to make people- both governing the people and the people being governed- aware of different dimensions of implementation of schemes and programmes that were hitherto not traversed by them to the extent to which use of ICT can enable. The information so received can and should be used for developing a Decision Support System for helping the decision maker take remedial/corrective measures in the implementation of a programme and help the programme attain its objective on the one hand and making the process of governance accountable on the other. Thus, use of ICT can usher in a paradigm shift in the process and practices of governance as such. The Project submitted here aims to help in monitoring of government programmes (specifically MDM in present case) on these lines. The System in its nascent stage as of now has been pegged at tracking number of children availing meals and defaulting schools. In the long run, when the system stablises, all monthly and quarterly progress reports could be generated through this system and the funds and food-grain ploughed-in the Scheme could be effectively monitored through this System. Auto reconciliation of CBS accounts of the MDM funds would also be then possible. Thus, each school complete database including food-grain 12 lifted/consumed, Cooking cost received/ spent, teacher’s attendance, students attendance etc can be built with time into the System. Information could also be published on public domain and user charge levied. That would also usher in a kind of in-built social audit of the Mid day Meal Scheme and community ownership of the Mid day Meal scheme would become a reality. The technology used in the Project can very well be applied in any government department where data requirement is less than or equal to three. Some such examples can be Development programmes with one/two parameters e.g. MGNREGA, ICDS etc. Info of daily collection of revenue viz. Excise, Commercial/Entertainment Tax, Mandis etc For daily no. of F.I.Rs, no. of Challans by traffic police, OPD/IPD of hospitals, data from ANM for Health programmes etc Surprise checks based on exception reports The Government. of India has shown keen interest in this system and has decided to replicate it for the whole country for monitoring Mid Day Meal programme. National Informatics Centre is developing a roll out plan. A Sub-gropup has been constituted under chairmanship of Director, Deptt of IT, GOI for to aid and supervise its development.
Mid Day Meal Authority, U.P.
Chief Finance Officer, 3rd Floor, UPTRON Bhawan, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, U.P. 226010
URL/Website – http://www.upmdm.in/