Two successive secretaries of the SC/ST department in the Delhi government and three institutions to manage the e-district portal for applications for scholarships to SC, ST and minority students were responsible for “endless chaos and confusion” that “deprived” 77,745 students of scholarships under seven Delhi government schemes, an inquiry report by the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDC) has stated.
The “complete adhocism”, “lack of application of mind” and “absence of planning by two successive secretaries of the SC/ST department” resulted in lack of a “mechanism of day-to-day assistance, guidance and monitoring of institutions” required for an online portal, it stated. Only when problems related to the e-district portal were “flagged” that the department “moved to address them”, it stated, adding that “login ID and passwords to zonal officers” were not provided on time.
As of June 13, not only were 27,070 applications still pending, but an additional 42,544 applications “that had been verified were still pending with zonal officers” of the education department, it stated. The decision to go online via the e-district portal was taken on August, 2015 and, in October, 2015, a ministerial nod was given to the proposal that the Centre for Good Governance — a Telangana government undertaking — be roped in for the portal.
However, on January 8, 2016, “without giving any reason, a new proposal to get the software developed” by a bank started after the company said they would do the work for free, the report stated. The proposal went back and forth between the department of SC/ST and finance between February 22 and June 15, 2016. On May 2016, the department wrote to the finance department saying that the software was “ready for trial”.
But in July 2016, after secretaries at the department changed, the bank was dropped and the work was decided to be handed over to NIC — an undertaking of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, the report said. It stated: “Before taking the decision to develop the portal through NIC, no approval from the minister-in-charge was sought… What followed was endless chaos…”