Shillong, February 15: Government of Meghalaya is pursuing the ambitious target of making the state a 10 billion US dollar economy by 2028. To that end, the government is currently implementing several transformative and welfare initiatives. From putting pineapples from far-away Ri-Bhoi farms on European shelves to grooming future Olympians from remote Garo Hills villages – Meghalaya is today ripe with possibilities.  Understandably, these initiatives are generating widespread enthusiasm among Meghalaya’s citizenry about the benefits and opportunities that the Government has to offer. The Chief Minister alone receives a large number of phone calls and visits every day from citizens with queries. With the launch of livelihood generation initiatives like FOCUS and CM ELEVATE the quantum of queries is likely to increase in the near future.

At the CM Connect office located at Pdengshnong, Golflinks, the Chief Minister interacted with the CM Connect staff where he said that they are there for a very important purpose even as they get complaints from people.

In a formal interaction with the staff, he said.  “Always be nice to the people, smile and be courteous, no matter how angry they get.”

Given Meghalaya’s challenging terrain and the remoteness of its habitations, it is difficult – if not impossible – for most citizens to connect with their government. Many Meghalayans travel over large distances to the nearest government office, often losing a day’s wages. Being an entrepreneur, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma understands the value of time. Speed and efficiency are central to the CM’s vision of Meghalaya as sate driven by entrepreneurship and innovation.

It was thus imperative upon the government to systematically engage with citizens’ queries and resolve them swiftly. As a true visionary, the CM leveraged latest technology to address the need of the hour. Sangma first spearheaded a set of innovations within the government which culminated into landmark initiatives like the e-Proposal. The system has digitized the entire process of obtaining departmental sanctions. It has reduced administrative tedium to an extent that functions which traditionally took 10 to 15 days are now resolved within a couple of hours. More than 53,000 government approvals have already been issued through the system. The CM Connect takes this revolution to the citizens.

The CM Connect is designed as an omnichannel platform for resolving grievances, addressing citizens’ queries and registering citizens’ needs. Citizen’s engagement through an omnichannel helpline is a landmark concept not just in the North East but in India at large.  People of Meghalaya can access CM Connect through toll-free numbers ‘1971’ or ‘1800-345-6851’ and ‘94363 94363’ on the WhatsApp Messenger. The helpline will be active from 8 am to 8 pm on every day of the week. It will be made into a 24×7 helpline soon. The helpline will operate in 5 languages – Khasi, Garo, Pnar, English and Hindi. The CM Connect is internally linked to more than 100 senior officers in 40 government departments, 46 block Development Offices and 12 District Offices. Every call would be recorded and channelized to concerned officials for speedy resolution. Advanced data analytics would be applied to resolve grievances and plan interventions.

The CM Connect is part of a larger effort by the government to introduce ‘Digital Services’ that will infuse efficiency and transparency in governance by leveraging latest technology. In the near future, a cohort of village-level volunteers will be deployed to register grievances, provide information and deliver services to the citizens at their doorstep through custom apps. The CM Connect together with village-level volunteers and host of future digital initiatives is about to generate thousands of high-skilled jobs for youngsters across the state. Sangma has set the ball rolling in the direction of digitally improved Meghalaya with the inauguration of the CM Connect on February, 15.