If you have ever experienced a Government office, chances are that you must have crossed heaps of files piled in rows and columns, some dusty, some torn, and some dated. You may have squeezed yourself through these rows and columns to avoid the dust settling on your clothes,or may have sneezed after getting past them. It was another matter that the file for which you had been to the office was not there!
The Assam Government, too, felt it. And that is why, it has said on your behalf: Enough is Enough.
Thanks to advances in information technology and to the National Informatics Centre the irritating experience will soon be history for you and lakhs of citizens across Assam. The NIC is putting in place an eOffice where files will be digitised through a web-based application to facilitate their permanent presence or their use till they are ready to be deleted once and for all in sync with the set objective: Record, Retain, Review and Archive. One of the key objectives of eOffice is to ensure a citizen-centric governance for people of the State.
“The genesis of eOffice can be attributed to the launching of Mission Sadbhavna by Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma on February 1, 2022. The Mission was aimed at reducing the necessity of people to visit the Assam Secretariat from different parts of Assam for their problems as well as reduce footfalls in these offices,” State Informatics Officer, NIC, Dr. Suchitra Pyarelal told Asom Barta.
The eOffice now has been implemented in all the Departments of the Assam Secretariat, paving the way for a digital secretariat.
“I experimented with the eOffice in Samagra Siksha Abhijan by digitising records in the year 2021. It did not pick up momentum but when the Chief Minister made it a policy, the scenario changed. Today, I think the Education Department is ahead of all when it comes to eOffice,” said Kalyan Chakravarthy, Principal Secretary, SEED, Cooperation and Labour departments, adding that “there is now a marked improvement in movement of files and reduction in loss of information.”
Through Mission Sadbhavna, the Assam Secretariat filing process has become clean and transparent. The digitisation process of the Assam Government eOffice File Management System began on October 2, 2022. Since then, files are being raised through the electronic system, Anuradha Barua, Director (IT), NIC told this reporter.
“Since then, 12,484 files have been transferred to the eOffice system, while 53,266 files have been created. From January 1, 2023, offices of the Deputy Commissioners across the State began operating on the eOffice mode. The work on the districts began in October 2022, and by January this year, we realised that 8,777 e-files had already been created,“ she said.
“To make eOffice operational and effective, infrastructural requirements at the backend are important. All files follow a well-defined e-path. For this, it requires a high speed LAN and Wi-Fi, besides presence of an organisational structure at the department and State-level. capacity building and training facilities are also important,” Dr. Pyarelal told this newsletter.
She informed Asom Barta that so far 150-plus training programmes have been conducted which have benefited over 4,500 users.
The eOffice has also managed to create a childlike enthusiasm among the employees and prospective users. An Assistant Section Officer of the Housing and Urban Affairs Department Ajit Das told this newsletter that he learnt the workings of eOffice with the help of his department colleagues. “It gave me a lot of satisfaction and I could realise how it can expedite work and help us track files,” he said.