Cloud Telephony and IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System) based Daily Monitoring System: A Revolutionary Approach for Monitoring Government Programmes

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Registration Name : eINDIA2011/AN/145
Project Category : eGov::Best ICT Enabled eGov Initiative of the year
Project Name : Cloud Telephony and IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System) based Daily Monitoring System: A Revolutionary Approach for Monitoring Government Programmes

Details of Applicant :
Address : 3rd Floor, UPTRON Bhawan Near Gomti Barrage Gomti Nagar
City : Lucknow
State : U.P.
Country : INDIA
Zip Code : 226010

Details of Project/Implementing Agency
Name of Organisation : MID DAY MEAL AUTHORITY, U.P.
Address : 3rd Floor, UPTRON Bhawan,Near Gomti Barrage,Gomti Nagar
City : Lucknow
State : U.P.
Country : INDIA
Zip Code : 226010
Name of the head of Organisation : Mr. PARTHA SARTHI SEN SHARMA
Website :

Brief description of the programme/project/Initiative :
The Daily Monitoring System has been devised by the Mid Day Meal Authority, U.P. for data collection directly from field level on real time basis and for monitoring programme implementation efficiently and effectively through the MIS and DSS built into the System. It marks a paradigm shift in the system of data collection and MIS of huge government programmes and activities and thereby monitoring them on auto-pilot mode. As implemented for Mid Day Meal Scheme in U.P. the Project envisages a systematic data collection from about 1.52 lac schools daily on real time basis to • Track number of schools that served meals, • Track number of children availing meals in schools The major challenges in getting real time data from 1.52 lac schools were mainly two: • Getting data through ‘pull’ method • Facilitating teachers for giving data without spending a single penny so that reimbursement/accounting/auditing exercise is not required. The Initiative which is able to handle above challenges is conceived on the basis of an interface between computer and mobile phone through an out bound dialing solution using the SPI model(SaaS, PaaS and IaaS)of service delivery. Under the Initiative that has been implemented, calls are placed to all the teachers in 1.52 lac schoos from a virtual number using PRI lines. The teacher keys-in number of children who availed MDM on his mobile. The system generated compilation of the data is displayed on web. The MIS of more than one year is available on (login: cfo, password: trips). Transmission of real time data does not leave scope for data manipulation/distortion. Moreover, availability of exception reports improves efficacy and transparency of implementation. Pinpointed information of defaulting schools received through the System has helped administrators in district in remedial intervention almost immediately and this has significantly brought down the number of schools not serving meals since the Initiative was launched in June 2010.

Why was the project started :
Traditional monitoring system in the government is primarily manual. Although e-governance has progressed a lot, yet the scenario was largely the same for monitoring mid day meal scheme also. Information for the number of children availing meals was available district-wise. But when decision-making was required on different aspects of the scheme • It was not possible to segregate the information below district level,and • The time-lag was a major hurdle, since the periodicity of this information was quarterly or at best monthly. It is pertinent here to first understand the system of data collection and information flow that was operational before June 2010 in the Mid Day Meal scheme. The MDM scheme was launched in the State in 2004 in government, government-aided and local bodies’ primary schools. In 2007 it was extended to upper primary schools also. At present about 1.52 lac schools are covered under the scheme and the number of children availing MDM is about 1.22 crore. For monitoring the scheme through the traditional manual system • an MDM register was kept at schools in which number of children who availed meals is recorded on daily basis • This data was supposed to be compiled block-wise in block level register on monthly basis and then in the district level register. • Inspection and monitoring of the schools was possible on random selection basis only. • Specific information about problem areas/ schools where meal was not cooked or not served was not possible. Thus remedial action was very difficult to be taken for specific schools not serving the meals. To handle the above problem, in the newest ICT context, an SMS based information flow was conceived. But on account of the problems of language, user-friendliness, cost, modifications etc it was not found to be a feasible solution. Above all toll free sms was not possible across all the networks; so the sms based solution was unable to ensure that teachers do not pay out of their pocket for giving the information. It was in this perspective that the cloud telephony and IVRS was conceived as a viable technological alternative. Literature was looked for any international or national previous experience in this regard. It was found that though IVRS was being used in different sectors for spreading information, but for large scale data collection and for generating MIS and DSS on account of that, IVRS was not used anywhere. So it was decided to experiment with this system and usher in a process innovation.

Objective :
Objective is data collection directly from grass-root level (without any intermediary level e.g. block, district or division etc) on real time basis and for monitoring programme implementation efficiently and effectively. As implemented for Mid Day Meal Scheme in U.P. the System tracks the number of schools that served mid day meal on any particular day. It also tracks the number of children who have had lunch in the school on the prescribed working days. The process innovation intoduced with the help of the latest ICT and Cloud telephony and IVRS using SIP model can very well be applied in any government department where data requirement is less than or equal to three. Some such examples can be 1. Development programmes with one/two parameters e.g. MGNREGA 2. For info of daily collection of revenue viz. for Excise, Commercial/Entertainment Tax, Mandis etc 3. For daily no. of F.I.Rs, no. of Challans by traffic police, OPD/IPD of hospitals, data from ANM for Health programmes etc 4. Surprise checks based on exception reports.
Target group : About 1.22 crore children studying and availing meals on daily basis in Government, Local Bodies and Aided schools in U.P.
Geographical reach : Entire state of Uttar Pradesh for monitoring the Mid Day Meal programme in about 1.52 lac government, local bodies’ and government aided primary and upper primary schools.
Date from which the project became operational : 1 June 2010
Is the Project still operational : YES

10 points that make the programme/project innovative?

  1. Data collection and MIS/ DSS available on real time basis; real time performance evaluation
  2. Data ‘pull’ vis-à-vis data ‘push’ methodology; User of Information controlling the information flow instead of the sender
  3. Teacher not to spend a single paisa
  4. Use of SIP model of service delivery in e-governance
  5. Costing is done on the basis of receipt of data; no data means no cost to the client irrespective of the number of calls placed by the vendor
  6. Direct & instant info mechanism from grass-root to the State without intermediate levels; Creation of a media for the apex level to directly reach school functionaries
  7. No need for mobiles to be given to teachers
  8. Exception report based monitoring vis-à-vis random selection based
  9. GOI can directly monitor without any reports from State Govt
  10. ICT based social audit once the system is put in public domain

List the 5 achievements of the programme/project?

  1. Much improved control and implementation of the Mid Day Meal Scheme; Substantial reduction in number of schools not serving meals to about 5% in Sep-Oct 2011 vis-à-vis about 30 % in Jun-Jul 2010
  2. Various analytics/ inferences on efficiency/ efficacy of MDM implementation available on the portal 24×7 for information and remedial action
  3. Instant and direct communication possible with the school
  4. Transparency & neatness of data resulting into truthful information; Instant info leading to check on distortion/ manipulation of data; Elimination / reduction in Leakages
  5. Sanitised and authentic data for policy inputs.Data on enrollment and total meals served to be used for planning of Mid Day Meal implementation. GOI approved Annual Work plan 2011-12 on account of the system generated data

List the 5 key challenges faced while implementing the programme/project/initiative :

  1. Arriving at a suitable/viable technology for the System. given the huge number of schools from where data was desired to be captured on real time basis. Overcome by – zeroing-in on a matrix of technology (viz. Telephony Cloud and Interactive Voice Response, Cloud Computing with Web Based SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Hindi Text To Speech, Internet, use of PRI lines, hosting on Tier III Data center etc.)
  2. Arriving at a solution wherein the sender of data does not spend a single penny. This was necessary to ensure meaningful participation of data giver. Overcome by – Collection of data through IVR calls
  3. Focus on ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ method of data capturing so that data is captured from maximum teachers and it was not left to their will to send it on their own. Overcome by – Oubound dialing Solution.
  4. Data needed to be collected within the given timeframe after the meals are served and before the school is closed for the day. Overcome by – hiring sufficient number of PRI lines for routing several calls simultaneously.
  5. Selling the idea to the teachers’ community and making them own the idea was a very major management challenge. Overcome by – teachers union were taken into confidence and their feedback/suggestion incorporated in system design.

List the 5 points how can the programme serve as a model that can be replicated or adapted by others?

  1. The process innovation that the System ushers in can be applied in any government department where data requirement is less than/equal to three. e.g. MGNREGA, info of daily tax collection, number of F.I.Rs/Challans, OPD/IPD, data from ANM for monitoring Health programmes etc
  2. Solution being based on Cloud computing technology, updation etc is not an issue and the latest offerings are ensured. Further Text to speech ensures that vernacular language is used in the IVR
  3. The System being highly scalable in the sense that (1) rescaling to a larger size or volume is possible, and (2) full advantage of the system it in terms of performance is possible.
  4. Cost effectiveness and simple procedure of payments. If the data is received, payment is due, otherwise not. Number of calls/ efforts the vendor has to make to capture data is not relevant.
  5. Completely outsourced. At the clients’ end no involvement of capital expenditure/infrastructure.

List 5 points to elaborate on the scalability of the programme/project/initiative :

  1. Adaptability aspect built into the System. e.g. local language support in IVR through Hindi Text to speech, links/ menu in website given in Hindi.
  2. Rescaling to a larger size or volume is possible since the System is based on Cloud Computing technologies
  3. The Initiative is able not only to function well in the rescaled situation, but also enables the user to actually take full advantage of it in terms of performance. Thus Each school’s complete database including food-grain lifted/consumed, Cooking cost received/spent, teachers’ attendance, students’ attendance, reconciliation of CBS acconts etc can be built with time into the System
  4. SIP model of service delivery ensures standardization of technology used in the Initiative.
  5. In case of Primary Education sector in the State, data relating to various other dimensions of schools/ Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and for that matter any related activity can also be captured through this System.

Original Concept Note_by Sudhanshu Tripathi
Presentation_Cloud Telephony & IVRS Based Daily Monitoring System_from SUDHANSHU TRIPATHI
UNICEF’s CaseStudy IVRS-ProcessDocumentationReport
Operational Manual Final
mBillionth-2011-Award Winning Certificate of Recognition

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2 Responses to Cloud Telephony and IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System) based Daily Monitoring System: A Revolutionary Approach for Monitoring Government Programmes

  1. Ravi Kant Tripathi says:

    This is a very impotent.

  2. Anima Farway says:

    Congrats.. …..