Many Indian states lack an efficient mechanism for collecting
taxes and utility bills. Every department electricity,
water, telephone has its own mechanism for the billing
process, though the customers who pay these bills are usually
consumers have to spend hours in different queues for
paying bills for different services. The process is time-consuming
and tedious for both customers and the collecting agencies.
bring all these services under one roof, the Andhra Pradesh
state government has created a uniform network
Twin Cities Network Services (Twins). This project is
now also ready to go on to the World Wide Web.
Twins, a chain of 19 integrated citizen service centres
(ICSCs) has been set up. These centres act as one-stop
shops for the payment of bills for 19 services, including
electricity, water and sewerage bills, and property taxes.
project has immense potential as Hyderabad alone has 15
lakh domestic consumers and 5 lakh commercial consumers
who pay their electricity bills bimonthly. An equal number
of consumers pay their bills for other civic services.
The government also allows these centres to accept payments
for private services like cellphones, mutual funds, shares
and bus reservations.
are happy with the results of the project and are planning
to introduce an online payment facility soon, says
K Madhusudhan Rao, ex-director of Twins. Once the payment
system is in place, consumers will be able to make online
payments by logging on to www.esevaonline.com.
to Rao, the ICSC in Hyderabad, which commenced in December
1999, now registers 12,000 transactions a month. It is
growing day by day.
five years ago, the project is a build-own-operate-transfer
(Boot) venture with Ram Informatics of Hyderabad and CMS
of Mumbai. The two companies get a commission on each
transaction for providing hardware, software, networking
and maintenance support for the ICSCs.
services of various departments are integrated using web-server
technology. Jagadeeshwar Rao, project manager of Ram Informatics,
says the web-server acts as a bridge between the database
of the departments located in six departments in different
parts of the twin cities and the consumers who come to
three-tier web-server technology has two web-application
servers and uses Windows NT network with 24 nodes. A combination
of ISDN lines and asynchronous lines has been established
to connect the web server at ICSCs with the servers of
the departments. The project has improved the efficiency
levels and consistency of the six departments, says Madhusudhan
IT department has already roped in ICICI, Unit Trust of
India, and HDFC for an e-payment gateway. Encouraged by
the initial response, the government is planning to extend
the project to cover the entire state. The governments
vision is to cover all 25 districts of the state in the
all goes well, consumers can pay their utility bills anywhere,
anytime making e-governance a reality throughout