My own personal views on the current status of ACES project implementation is as follows :
Name & Designation of the officer
|Whether training given for working with ACES sufficient ? If not, suggestion to improve the training module.||TRAINING : |
Yes, what was given was sufficient, even though more training could have been aspired by both the users and the administrator. Since the implementation schedule and and firmness of purpose differed in gravity from Commissionerate to Commissionerate, a few commissionerates had to over-work atleast to keep up their past performance, owing to the incoming transferred officers having very lesser or no exposure to ACES at their previous locations. This mobility of officers pulled down the average performance of the aspiring commissionerates.
|How far ACES is user-friendly ?|
Has ACES resulted in saving time and effort in your day to day work ?
|USER FRIENDLY APPLICATION : |
User friendly to the extent of about 60%; Simultaneous navigation in two concurrent screens is not possible on many occasions, which makes comparison or verfication of documents within the two screens under ACES very difficult and to tackle this, extreme mind-mapping is required so as to remember the flow of ideas without use of paper.
If features are not user-friendly to the expected level, then saving of time and effort is not possible. Scrutiny of Returns in the manual mode was much quicker and easier, particularly in the case of complex Returns (more commodities under same tariff).
|Are there any difficulties while working on ACES ? Which part was the most difficult and why ?||DIFFICULTIES TO REPORT : |
Scrutiny officers reported that it was difficult for the above said reason in 6.
Under ACL menu, assigning of roles to officers could not be monitored because absence of suitable menu to ensure that all the posts are assigned to respective officers. Conversely, it was only possible to check what role was given to said officer, and not the opposite.
For most of the times, the EDW reports module was not returning the data after search query was created. Officer has to sit unmoved and stare at the screen for hours during waiting to see the output report.
|Whether the user guide provided by the vendor is able to cater to most of the problems that you encounter ?||HELPDESK/ GUIDES/ CUSTOMER SUPPORT :|
User guides were created in 2009-10 and they were very rudimentary in nature and they were effective only when ideal situation prevailed in computing, processing, connectivity, etc., All problems faced after 2010 were not compiled centrally and the knowledge was not shared quickly among the officers who wanted them. If the comm-admin was not active or not in the loop with other performing officers, the sharing of answers to new questions was not happening. However, this issue has been addressed in Sept.2014 through community chatting portal created under the ACES (under 'Icegate' domain, by name 'antarang.icegate.gov.in'). This effort was attributable to very few officers who made it possible.
|How far Aces reduced the work load in comparative with the manual system||WORKLOAD: MANUAL versus AUTOMATION : |
If all the modules were implemented strictly and removed of all the software glitches and bugs and all the reporting work was relegated to back-end level at Delhi, in such a case officers would have seen reduced workload, because working in ACES meant more workload to them by using both methods (offline, online) in the absence of reports in the online mode. Reports available in registration and returns modules alone were not sufficient, in the absence of reports under other modules where no data was captured..
|Are you satisfied with the implementation of ACES||PROJECT EFFICIENCY :|
No. Five year time period was sufficient enough to test the software, update the patches, and to mine the data from five year warehouse of records.
Opportunity was lost by creating hardware assets in large scale, by not pilot-testing the hardware and applications in the capital city Commissionerate; if done so, then replicating to other locations would have been quick and seamless. Big bang approach, in lieu of 'think big, start small, scale fast' did not suit this project.
Seventy percent of the assets have not been used, like almost all Indian e-governance projects are vendor-driven mostly. Hardware became technologically out-dated by the time the Applications could stabilise. The implementation was not satisfactory, less because of technology issues and much more because of non-technology issues like human resource management and commercial aspects of the project only.
Officers should have been given secured freedom of using their existing desktop computers or laptops through VPN system, instead of being provided with Thin Clients.
There was large gap between the Vision and the Reality of the Project. Innovation and Reformist attitude envisioned at project stage could not overtake the British legacy of working.
|Did you provide any feedback obtained from at any point of time on the problems with Aces and the areas of problem ?||FEEDBACK : |
Yes, following feedback was given on some occasions like review discussions or training sessions or through official reporting ::
In turn, software vendor cannot complete the patch-works, as officers did not give complete feed-back on such bugs.
Above situations are common for all the Commissionerates, as the monthly reports from DG Systems on performance under ACES show capturing of very poor quantity of documents posted online in modules other than Regn. and Returns.
With the above background, how the same can be re-experimented among the officers, the ACTION PLAN :
Support Update from DG Systems :
Commissioner may seek information from the ADG-systems-Chennai on
what are the modules that are improved now to be taken up for active use ?
whether officers from systems directorate can conduct workshops and training sessions for officers at our site ?
Extending Trigger activity to other end :
whether we can issue trade notice asking the trade and industry to use online modules for day-to-day operations like Exports, Intimations, Permissions (e.g. storage of goods outside, import of goods at concessional rate of duty, re-warehousing intimation, removal of goods for job-work or without payment of duty, application for remission of duty, apply for CT-1, etc., ) that are available online under ACES ?
Data Integrity :
whether the same accountability on the part of the assessees, with regard to the security of the information sent across internet, as it applies to the Registration and Returns modules, is replicated for the other modules also ?
Inputs workload and Outputs :
whether systems directorate can arrange to generate various reports under the above subjects, so that inputs for ad-hoc or periodical reports to be sent to CC or Board can be taken from Aces instead of from field formations ?
in case any work is of repetitive nature and of low-key but voluminous, like data-entry, whether it can be out-sourced ?
If such co-operation is possible from DG Systems, then we can identify some officers or some Ranges and a Division to start working in a given module on online mode; we can receive such workflow in the dashboard of the AC or ADC or Commissioner in the Hqrs.office, after the same is at least perused by the concerned Section Supdts / Insprs, if not editable by them.
We can improve the asset infrastructure in Hqrs. office and other formations, so that the online workflow is faster and devoid of lags and lacunas in connectivity, power, etc. and we can replicate the success to other Ranges and Divisions or other Modules.