Streamlining Bangalore One centres

Lingamurthy always waits in front of the Bangalore One centre in a meandering queue for over an hour at the start of every month.

A senior citizen in his mid-60s, Lingamurthy has to depend on Bangalore One, for paying his monthly utility bills and bus tickets for the occasional journey to his native, Kalaburagi.

He stays with his children and wife in Mallasandra, North Bengaluru, enjoying the retired life. But, the visit to the centre is a drag.  

“Standing in the queue is worth the wait. But, the authorities have to give a senior citizen some privileges  -- like skipping the queue or adequate seating arrangement to wait,” says Lingamurthy.

Bangalore One was launched in April 2005 as an integrated citizen services project, to facilitate a single window interaction -- Citizen to Government (C2G) and vice-versa.  

The centre facilitates payment of bills -- electricity, water bill, public services etc.  It also provides information on government-related services like land registration, enables bus ticket bookings, Aadhar enrollment and BBMP Khata services.

Of late, the customers frequenting the centres complain about lack of infrastructure, basic amenities, technical glitches, staff crunch and issues regarding cash and cashless transactions.

Bangalore One at a glance

The Directorate of Electronic Delivery of Citizen Services, DPAR (e-Governance), set up Bangalore One, and Karnataka One centres at 17 cities across Karnataka. The first centre was launched on April 2, 2005. 

There are 146 government-owned centres in Bengaluru. 32 centres are managed by franchisees. Bangalore One, Karnataka One centres and the respective websites are conceptualized to electronically deliver services of various government departments and private companies under one roof in a citizen-friendly manner.

How to tackle long queues

Most often, the citizens visiting the centres are welcomed by snaking queues. Particularly, senior citizens and women are troubled. The menace should be tackled by the Directorate of Electronic Delivery of Citizen Services (EDCS), in charge of the centres.

“We understand there are long queues due to which senior citizens are facing inconvenience.  We offer Aadhar enrollment, health cards and other services that take a lot of time. To enrol one person, it takes at least 30 to 50 minutes,” Sunil Panwar, director of EDCS told DH.

“To solve this crisis we have increased the number of centres in the city. We are establishing extra counters in each centre. We have already set up 50 such counters,” he explained.

When a complaint related to waiting is registered at EDCS, they will follow up by calling the complainant giving them details of the next vacant counter at the nearest centre.

Staff crunch 

At the moment, Bangalore One has a workforce of 1,148 people in 178 centres. But the citizens complain about the centres lack adequate staff.

Rejecting the allegation, EDCS director, Sunil Panwar said there is no staff crunch, adding that the reason for the delay and long queues is the increasing demand for services.

However, according to Panwar, there have been instances of staff at certain centres cheating customers charging extra money.

After receiving complaints of staff misbehaviour, the EDCS adopted a strict policy of terminating the concerned staff after investigations. They are now training the staff on how to treat customers.

Fixing technical snags

As far as the complaints regarding technical snags during transactions are concerned, the EDCS has decided to procure new systems. “The systems we are using now is quite old, so we have proposed to the government to upgrade all systems.” said an official.

“In another week we are calling a tender to procure new systems,” the official added.

According to the official, Bangalore one is the front end of the service. Most technical snags happen in various linked departments. Most common issues are server problems, back-end snags and networking troubles.

Cash preferred

Though the city is called the Silicon Valley of India, most transactions at Bangalore One centres involve cash. Officials say the centres carry out 60% to 70% cash transactions, while 20% are done in cheques and a meagre 10% in e-payments.

In November 2018, the EDCS partnered with Paytm to enable digital payments at Bangalore One and Karnataka One.

“Cashless transactions are marginal at the centres because most of our services are used by the senior citizens. Still, there are young people using our services for university exam fee payments and such,” the official explained.

Part-time job for students and homemakers

The staff at Bangalore One centres are mostly college students and housewives. “There are two shifts. Most of them are college students and housewives. The women can support their family with this while the college students get pocket money,” said an official.

The qualification for working at a centre is class 12 or equivalent, with basic knowledge of computers.

Centres as a model

Students from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom conducted a study on the Bangalore One and Karnataka One model. The Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru, too, carried out research on the integrated citizen services project.

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