Improving Ease of Doing Business – Government of West Bengal uses AXPERT Platform for Online Single Window Portal.

The Government of West Bengal is creating a revamped Online Single Window Portal (OSWP) for improving the Ease of Doing Business in the State.

Investors and businesses may need multiple approvals from multiple departments for starting or operating a business. The online single window will have to provide the following functionalities:
a)    Single dynamic composite application form (CAF) for multiple services allowing an investor or a business to fill up one form for multiple clearances and approvals;
b)    Single Online Payment for multiple services through an integrated payment gateway with all modes of payment viz., debit card/ credit card/ net banking enabled;
c)    Breaking the Composite Application Forms electronically into individual forms and sending the forms to the backend systems of various Departments electronically along with the corresponding proof of payment;
d)    Online tracking of status of applications while they are being processed by various Departments;
e)    Online communication of approval; and
f)    Downloading of approvals/ NoCs/ permits/ clearances etc. online.

 

ABOUT OSWP

The proposed Online Single Window Portal (OSWP) is intended to provide a Common Application Form (CAF) to the investor.

Investors can sign up into this portal and are verified using an OTP that is sent to their email and mobile. Every investor is uniquely identified through their email address and a password. All user information is encrypted and stored in the database.

Each application form that is required to get approval of services provided by departments will be created as forms within the portal.

The forms are created on a meta driven model. The data descriptors, validation rules and computation rules about every element in the form and the form layout are stored as part of meta data within the database in an encrypted format.

The CAF is a dynamic aggregation of forms related to getting approvals of multiple services that may be required to setup the desired business. The CAF is generated by dynamically aggregating the meta data of each selected form.

On submit of data in CAF, the data related to each department will be sent to the respective departments and updated into their application.

Subsequent processing for approvals will happen within applications in that department. Periodic status updates will be provided by the respective applications to the online singe window portal (OSWP). The portal will in turn provide the status updates to the investor through emails and SMS.

Integration requires the creation of a seamless flow of data from the OSWP to a Department and from a Department to the OSWP. The traditional method of writing a bunch of web services on the OSWP side (to be consumed by the Department’s systems) and on the Department’s side (to be consumed by the OSWP system) can always be done but is not recommended under the circumstances where stringent timelines have been prescribed and the single window system needs to be created by May, 2017. The reasons for this are two fold: firstly, writing web services correctly in a short time requires a certain level of skills for developers and vendors which may not be available with SIs/ IT vendors of all Departments and secondly, integration testing of web services typically requires a lot of time because of the time taken in designing and developing the exception handling process. That is why integration through the traditional method of writing web services typically requires 9 to 12 months. Integration is, therefore, proposed through the use of Axpert Date Exchange (ADE) and Axpert Data Router (ADR) which would achieve integration at the data layer without web services.

For the purposes of integration, the departments are classified as below based on the sophistication of IT systems within a Department and its readiness for integration:

Type A departments – Some departments which already have applications (online systems) and which would be integrated with the OSWP are classified as Type A Departments.

Type B departments – The departments that do not have applications (currently manual) but which need to be integrated with OSWP by providing workflows on the OSWP are classified as Type B Departments.

Type C departments – Departments that offer stand alone online services but are not integrated with OSWP are classified as Type C departments.

The workflow for a Type B Department will be built on OSWP and the services related to that Department will be naturally integrated with OSWP.

The OSWP will be implemented on a Rapid Application Development platform named Axpert.

 

ABOUT AXPERT

Axpert is a RAD platform on which apps can be developed in 50% of the time, effort and skill required to build an app using traditional programming languages. Apps are developed on Axpert by only defining the data structures, work flow and business rules on the fly using a simple and intuitive Axpert IDE. These is no need to write code in business or presentation layer.

Axpert architecture is complete SOA based and works on a Microsoft Dot net framework on a windows server. There is no need to write web services or REST services to create apps. Axpert also comes with a data router and exchange apps that enables seamless and secure data exchange with other apps at the database level.

Axpert comes with features for on the fly form, report and work flow definition and rendering. There is no need to code any of these. The data of forms are stored in standard RDBMS (Oracle, MYSQL, MS SQL).

The security standards that are followed for any distributed RDBMS based applications can be applied on Axpert applications to ensure maximum security of data. A robust access control layer that comes along with Axpert ensure maximum safety of data. This gives complete control to the app administrator to restrict access of data for relevant user groups.

Axpert is now used by 20000+ users across 10 countries. The users include Government, Defense and large corporations too. There are 100+ mission critical apps are running on Axpert. Its lean architecture makes it robust and reliable.

WHY AXPERT

This project has to completed within 5 weeks. Nearly 130 services have to be either newly created or integrated with the online portal.

Such a project cannot be done in a short time by writing code in high level programming languages. It can be done only on meta data driven platforms. Further, the platform should have the capability to integrate with other apps both on the web services layer and the data layer.

Axpert provides the capability

  • To create services for citizens along with the backend work flow within a very short time. A service could be made online within a couple of weeks.
  • To aggregate the forms dynamically and create one single common access form based on user selection. This can be achieved only if the apps are defined on full meta data driven model.
  • To integrate with apps that do not have web services capability at a data layer.
  • To integrate with apps that offer web services at the service layer.
  • Create wizard kind of faicilities.

The architecture also should conform to the CERT-IN security recommendations to ensure data security and access control. This proposed architecture based on Axpert rules out any danger fromcross site scripting, SQL injection, identity theft, network eavesdropping& unauthorized access.

Hence, Axpert was found to be a suitable platform which met all the customer expectations that was proved by doing a proof of concept by Agile Labs.

 

Abbreviations

OSWP Online single window portal
ADR Axpert data router – Windows app that will read encrypted data packets and write into database.
ADE Axpert data exchange – Windows app that will exchange encrypted data over HTTPS
STS Staging server – A file server in the data center that is hosted in the OSWP data center.
DApp Department application.
OSWP Online single window portal
DServer Department server
CAF Common Application Form
RAD Rapid application development