Portal Functionality and Implementation

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DGT/CFI Portal/Website - Technology and Development

Lessons Learned from Past Implementations

  • Several generations of effort have yielded various insights on what should not be done or should be done differently.
  • Massive and expensive tenders spanning the tenures of several HODs have been issued for a proper MIS (Management Information System) to be designed, operated and transferred.
  • In many instances if not all, industry majors have been roped in at astronomical sums and no accountability has been enforced on receivables holding citizens data to ransom.
  • Data has got "stuck" in several generations of hardware in different formats with nothing being in the control of the Ministry in charge
  • Expiration of contracts with vendors for hardware, software and it's management and non-renewal in time have rendered such applications usability grossly stunted if not unusable effectively.
  • The same set of personnel in different combinations have been responsible in attaining such a state of limbo.
  • Domain experts on behalf of the Ministry have been lacking and in the most part relegated to third part or cross departmental assistance with little or no continuity.
  • Building a documented Standard Operating Procedure and training operational personnel in such systems across generations of staff with proper handing over and taking charge has been only on paper with the ground reality being far from expectations.
  • Lack of proper study of the current practices and non-induction of field operational personnel in the design process has made for a grossly misunderstood top-down approach to the problems of the foot soldiers of the organisation rendering the entire efforts of several generations of systems unusable.

Way Forward

  • Each work unit that needs to be part of the entire MIS program should be studied with full participation of the working cadre who the system is expected to assist / alleviate from the drudgery they currently are burdened with.
  • This system study should be guided by a mentor with sufficient operational and computing experience and fully documented.
  • A full reverse engineering of the workflow process should be undertaken rather than creating systems to mimic manual kludges currently in vogue due to lack of anything better.
  • Gradual implementation of an evolving ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram) of the entire business process should be pursued leveraging the domain expertise of the experienced personnel in the various field institutes.
  • New recruits should undergo a proper apprenticeship in the Ministry's field institutes before being eligible to apply for a job there.
  • Distributed location of critical hardware with sufficiently trained personnel in each location will be needed for sustainability and take over of roles and authority in case disaster strikes / where maliciousness is evident / of compromised personnel.
  • Capability with Transparency is the only way forward - the grit and will to implement is paramount.
  • A Tree based Roll out of the applications without uprooting personnel from their comfort zones will provide for the path of least resistance in implementation taking into consideration the participants tech savviness.
  • The entire process will be successful only if the data arrives correctly and in time when reports are taken for it to be dependable for decision making and policy fine-tuning.

Work done at NSTI Chennai

  • A small effort had been undertaken by conscientious staff at ATI Chennai a few years ago when they sought to study existing procedures and manual forms.
  • Capability has been acquired by the staff with peer assistance in manning critical IT infrastructure, building them from scratch and operating them successfully with no budgetary support at all. Even the recent floods and storm could not dent the effort for long.
  • Currently, ATI Chennai operates
    • A lean / mean website on Open Source
    • Open Source Cloud and Physical Servers
    • Physical and Virtual Firewalls on demand
    • DIY Firewall course
    • Applications on demand
    • Online Admissions Initial Data Acquisition
    • Interface with legacy MS Access systems for Certificate generation and Post Course processing
    • Initial Barcoding of documentation
    • Database raw intervention and recovery
    • Computer data imaging and rapid restoration
    • AView Distance Education Servers on the local cloud infrastructure
    • Redundancy in the Virtual domain for servers on demand
    • In house built NAS Server for data storage
  • CITS in 2014 was completely done in house with little or no budgetary support which served as the genesis for capacity building within the available staff.

Call Centre Based MIS

  • Sufficient personnel trained in manning Call Centres in multiple languages should be deployed by the Ministry of Skill Development to man the various operations and policy implementation feedback.
  • Central database having a proper CRM (Customer Relationship Management) should be implemented and the Call Centre personnel should be tasked with operating it.
  • All applications will be tied into the call centre so that all data management aspects will be centralised and the participants can continue to do their job effectively cutting down on PAs and Peons, travel and communication, needless sycophancy to superiors and insubordination by subordinates.
  • Every request will be docketed and officials who do not do their job on time will be exposed transparently. Objective assessment for promotions and transfers can be effected.
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