Assam Forest Online Portal www.assamforestonline.in – Assam Electronics Development Corporation Ltd.


SKOCH Award Nominee

Category: State Owned Enterprise
Sub-Category: Corporate Excellence
Project: Assam Forest Online Portal www.assamforestonline.in
Start Date: 2018-10-06
Organisation: Assam Electronics Development Corporation Ltd.
Respondent: Anupam Barman
assamforestonline.in
Level: Excellence

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Case Study

It’s the first and one of its kind end-to-end Online Revenue Collection and Management System (ORCS) designed and implemented by AMTRON for the Forest and Environment Department, Government of Assam. The system helps in the regulation of the sale of Minor Minerals in the state with facilities to issue, track and monitor electronic Permits and Transport Passes thus enabling the department to minimise the loss of revenue and the time required to execute different construction projects by the government as well as by any private parties.

Overview

The deployment/implementation process started with the pilot project in Cachar Division, Silchar with the launch of the e-Auction of Minor Mineral Concession Areas (MMCAs), which was launched on 25th July 2018 by Parimal Sukla Baidya, Hon’ble Minister of Assam Environment & Forest. The e-Auction comprised of two stages, viz., Stage – I: IPO Determination; and, Stage-II: Live Auction amongst the qualified bidders of Stage-I auction.

The outcome of the e-Auction led to the issue of Letter of Intent (LOI) online to the winning bidder and on acceptance of which, the bidder made the advance royalty payment online. The next step in the process was to generate the Final Settlement Order by DFO, which provides the Kisht Schedule to the winning bidder for making subsequent instalments till the end of the contract period. During the first phase of the pilot project, Digital Signatures (DSCs) were provided to the intended bidders and concerned forest officials to participate and host the auctions online respectively.

In the 2nd Phase of the project, by the end of September 2018, AMTRON was ready with the online issue of Mahal Permits and e-TPs (Electronic Transport Passes) for the vehicles to be used in transportation of the excavated minerals. In the process, the Mahaldar/ MMCA Holder has to submit the Environmental Clearance and Mining Plan online for

approval of the DFO.

On successful implementation of the MMCA Permits and eTPs in the pilot project, the Online Revenue Collection System (ORCS) was finally integrated with the Electronic Government Revenue Accounting System (eGRAQS) as mandated by the Finance Department, Assam and the project was rolled into rest of the 29 Forest Divisions, w.e.f., 6th October 2018. One of the four autonomous council areas, i.e., Bodoland Territorial Council areas has also be covered under the ORCS.

Since then, there were many changes/modification made to the system by improvising the existing modules and adding other supporting modules for making adjustments to settlement schedule, permit and eTP validity, application for additional quantity, penalty for late payments and defaulters as per the AMMC 2013 Rules and Acts of the Forest Department, Assam.

AMTRON has been contributing towards the best possible ways to use Information Technology in bringing about process re-engineering by streamlining the procedures for bringing about complete transparency in the various revenue linked processes of the Forest department by introducing an Online Revenue Collection and e-Procurement System for the Minor Minerals Concession Areas (MMCA) in Assam. 

In the subsequent time up to the final and formal launch of the complete Online Revenue Collection System for the Forest Department on Oct 6, 2018, AMTRON completed all the required modules. 

  1. User Registration for Bidders, MMCS/ Mahal Owners, Forest Officials, Multi-level Admins, etc.
  2. E-Auction
  3. Letter of Intent (LoI) to the winning bidder and Acceptance of LoI by Bidder.
  4. Online Settlement and generation of Kist Schedule for the specified contract period for which the MMCA is allotted to the winning bidder.
  5. MMCA/Mahal Permits with provision for Extension & Hold.
  6. Minor Mineral Electronic Transit Pass (e-TP) against a valid MMCA Permit for transportation of Minor Minerals.
  7. Work Permit for Government Contractors.
  8. On-spot Timber e-Auction for Timber lots and Issue of Lifting Order.
  9. Timber Permit & eTP.
  10. Patta Land Permit & eTP.
  11. Seizure Module for illegally transported minor minerals & Timber.

Challenges

The pre-deployment scenario was quite unimaginable as follows:

  1. The time taken for each process varied with much delays due to manual interventions.
  2. Huge Revenue loss due to illegal activities
  3. Vehicles transporting forest produce could not be tracked/monitored
  4. Fake transit passes were doing the rounds
  5. Illegal transportation was more prevalent
  6. Enforcement of rules and acts was very difficult
  7. Lack of communication resulted in operational delays
  8. Lack of proper management tools
  9. Lack of proper monitoring and tracking mechanism
  10. No definite targets could be achieved

Solution

The ORCS uses various IT tools and technology to circumvent the challenges faced due to lack of security and management, operational hurdles, standardization of documents and procedures, authenticity and validation of documents and activities, time consuming workflows, and transparency, etc. that were the main factors which had negative impact on the revenue collection to the exchequer. As such, the following innovations were adopted in the ORCS to streamline everything:

  1. OTP & DSC – Introduced the two-factor sign-in with either OTP or Digital Signature for all activities and maintain authenticity of the documents generated online.
  2. Master Database – A master database of all the MMCAs/Mahals (division wise) for the state was created with all information in respect of type of Mapped Area with GPS coordinates, Type of Minerals and quantities available, Environmental Clearance and Mining plan.
  3. Dashboards for Monitoring 
  4. GPS-linked eTP was introduced for tracking the transportation of timber and minor minerals on real-time basis.
  5. Automated Workflows were incorporated in the ORCS for the various approval processes for the issue of LoI, Settlement Orders, Contracts, Indents, Permits, TPs, etc. 
  6. Integration of eGRAS (Electronic Government Receipt and Accounting System).
  7. A centralised payment gateway was setup by AMTRON for the collection of non-treasury components such as Processing fees, Penalties, MMDRR, and DMFT for each of the 30 Forest divisions
  8. Periodic settlements and reconciliation team was set up by AMTRON for each of the 30 divisions

Outcomes

The post-deployment scenario is now completely the reverse of the pre-deployment scenario.

With better management, tracking and monitoring tools, better communication and security

platform, the Forest Department is now able to regulate the sale and purchase of forest produce thereby now able to keep track of all the activities and monitor all aspects on ground through the online Revenue Collection System. Statistics are now available division wise as well as centrally. A few stats are mentioned below:

  1. No of Minor Mineral Concession Areas (MMCAs)/ Mahals: 253
  2. No of MMCA e-Auctions held: 104
  3. No of Timber e-Auctions held: 79
  4. Revenue collected from MMCAs: Rs. 8,59,77,945.00 (FY2019-20), Permits Issued: 149, eTPs issued: 11,520
  5. Revenue collected from MMCAs: Rs. 26,31,82,915.00 (FY2020-21 till date), Permits Issued: 422, eTPs Issued: 67,513
  6. It clearly shows from the above that the issue of Permits and e-TPs is on the rise and thus there has been a rise in the revenue also which is more than 300% till date (difference between previous financial year and current financial year).

For more information, please contact:
Mr Mahandra Kumar Yadava, Managing Director at md@amtron.in


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