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    Community Led E -Mitra – Basti Sewa Kendras in District Ajmer, Rajasthan

    Background

    E-Mitra platforms of e-governance to provide quick and convenient delivery of services to citizens was initiated by the Government of Rajasthan in 2004. Currently, over 492 Government to Citizens (G2C) and Business to Citizens (B2C) services are being provided through these platforms, across rural and urban areas in all 33 districts of the State and new services are being systematically added to its fold. E-Mitras finds its origin in the Sanskrit word, Mitra (fe«k) meaning ‘Friend’.

     Objectives of E-Mitras

    – To provide a wide range of services of various government and private organizations in a citizen-friendly manner under one roof, so that citizens are saved the inconvenience of having to make repeated visits to Government offices; despite which they do not get benefit of the schemes.

    – Empower women by providing them business opportunities and generate employment opportunities for people up to the grassroots level.

    How the community led E-Mitra function

    Deepa Sankhla and Deepshikha Salotery, in Nagfani and Jadugar Nagar settlements of Ajmer very well illustrate how the E Miras which has been named by them as ‘Basti Sewa Kendras’ can function successfully. The two young women are from the local community and operate with the support of 12 community volunteers. Their initiative emerged from their involvement in the day to day activities of the Sahaya Single Window, supported by the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR). The volunteers from the two settlements include Hemlata, Chanda, Sameena, Tanuja, Pinki, Rekha, Parvati, Dhaneshwari, Krishna, Lajwanti, Bhawana, Rekha and Anjulata.

    This group of women had come together and formed a Community Based Organization (CBO) in November 2017. They named it “Akshara”. As part of their effort to sustain and take forward their CBO, they took on the responsibility of facilitating the management of the two Basti Sewa Kendras on a daily basis. Their responsibilities include identifying beneficiaries, filling forms, ensuring that they are completed properly and submitting them to the online E-Mitras portal. They also conduct awareness activities and hold knowledge camps on the welfare schemes, with support from the Sahaya Single Window team.

    The group of women also maintains records and documents, including a walk-in register, cash book, application receipt registers and a copy of token/receipts. The operational issues and challenges that come up every day for community members are also noted in separate registers. The technical issues are resolved fortnightly by the team of technical experts from local service providers (LSPs) designated by the Department of Information, Technology and Communication, Ajmer.

    Both the community representatives, Deepa Sankhla and Deepshikha Salotery, were trained by officials of the Department of Information, Technology and Communication, Ajmer and Digital Empowerment Foundation, Delhi. Through E-Mitras they are providing the services on daily basis of online submission of applications of pension, Labor card, new ration card, corrections in ration card, new Bhamashah cards and corrections and also filing online grievances of ration.

    Sharing her experience, 31 years old, Meera Devi from Jadugar basti getting her Jannai Shishu Suraksha yojna(JSSY) benefit, ‘I easily got the course correction in my Bhamasah card as required for getting the benefit directly in my bank account with the support of team of Basti Sewa Kendra providing services at our door step’.

    Maya Devi, 42 years old, from Gulab Badi basti, despite of being a single woman applied three times for pension but got rejected, as volunteers approached her, application was submitted through the Jadugar Basti Kendra, the sanction message she has got last week, she is so happy to share that.