Rashmi Rekha Das

The eDespatch system which was launched by the Centre and the Odisha government 15 years ago has been lying defunct in the state for last four years. 

According to sources, the state government had introduced the online official communication system (eDespatch) to ensure transparency in administration. Crores of rupees were spent for the purpose. 

In another step towards application of technology in governance, Odisha Secretariat Workflow Automation System (OSWAS) was introduced for exchange of all letters and applications for public view after they are uploaded on the e-platforms.

Later, district-level and block-level offices were connected through the Odisha State Wide Area Network (OSWAN) to facilitate inter/ intra-departmental communication and data sharing within the state.

However, it has been observed that departments are not using the eDespatch system. The eDespatch system is reportedly not working in departments like Agriculture, Electronics, Information and Technology departments, which have been unable to send letters online.

Hara Prasad Das, a journalist said, “eDespatch system was introduced so that citizens can access all the government notifications, circulars, and guidelines. The system has been lying defunct after the outbreak of Covid19.”
It may be mentioned that IT department and the Odisha Computer Application Centre play an important role in the implementation of eDespatch system. They are supposed to look after the smooth functioning of OSWAN and OSWAS. However, it is a matter of concern that top officials of OSWAN and OSWAS have not received a single letter via online.

On the other hand, RTI activist Pradeep Pradhan questioned the implementation of the system saying, “When you find eDespatch system is lying defunct in IT department itself, how could you expect implementation of the system in other departments.”

IT expert Lingaraj Sethi said, “eDespatch is working in some areas.” 

Even though the eDespatch system is not working, the state government is giving promotion to the IT department secretary. The government has invited criticism after Manoj Kumar Mishra was promoted to principal secretary of the Electronics and Information Technology (E&IT) department on a contractual basis. 

No comments could be obtained from Manoj Kumar Mishra in this regard.

(Reported by Lakhmi Narayan Kanungo, OTV)