The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is planning to overhaul the emigration system over the next two years.
It has commissioned the Hyderabad-based National Institute for Smart Government (NISG) to study the internal processes and welfare schemes, to facilitate presenting a report by the end of the year. The overhaul will follow that.
The Rs.20-million study on the "emigration in e-governance", which began a month ago, could end up attracting proposals from private companies for implementation of changes that will be suggested in the report.
NISG, a public-private intiative to provide e-governance solutions, has already roped in global consultants KPMG to prepare the business process re-engineering report, which will be completed by 2008-end, said a senior ministry official.
"The study will take a hard look at the emigration system, look at the objectives and national goals and then review if the existing system is in line with it," he said.
But that is only one part. "We want this to be integrated with the passport system of the Ministry of External Affairs and the home ministry's immigration network," the official added.
Following this, tenders will be floated and a private company chosen to execute the implementation of the project by next March. "NISG will also do the handholding for selection of the downstream implementing agency," he said.
The procedures which will be re-engineered under this project include the process of application for emigration clearance from the Protector of Emigrants, monitoring of recruiting agents and contract verification by Indian missions abroad and even of foreign employees.
Recently, the ministry also initiated a number of services such as insurance cover, database management, counselling, pre-departure orientation and skill upgrading.
Incidentally, NISG had recently helped implement the Rs.10-billion Passport Seva Project for the Ministry of External Affairs, which was awarded to Tata Consultancy Services. The project is aimed at delivering passport-related services in a transparent manner.
"We want NISG to develop ICT solutions, and even suggest legislative changes," the official said.
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs had last year initiated a foray into e-governance, with the computerisation and networking of the offices of the Protector of Emigrants by the National Informatics Centre, a division of the information technology department that provides the network and e-governance support to the central government and the states.
But, according to the official, computerisation does not necessarily lead to efficiency, as it is merely automation of manual processes.
"E-governance goes beyond translation of manual, it is addressing the lacuna in the system," he said.
A team of NISG officials has been working on this project for nearly two months, visiting regional offices and meeting stakeholders.
It has already visited regional offices of the Protector of Emigrants at Kochi, Mumbai and Chennai, as well as its headquarters in Delhi. "We also visited the Indian missions in Kuwait and Oman," said an NISG official.