Virtual Employment Exchange
In early 2009, when I was a few months into my new post as MD ELCOT, a file was put upto me to approve the purchase of hardware for the Directorate of Employment and Training. An amount of ₹2.99 crores was to be expended on purchase of hardware alone, as the Government Order stipulated. I was a bit perplexed; purchase of such a large quantity of hardware would mean there would hardly be any space for anybody to work at the district employment exchanges across Tamil Nadu!
I immediately called up Mr. AS Jeevarathinam IAS, the then Director of Employment & Training and asked him whether he needed such a lot of hardware and whether he would permit me to modify the proposal as roughly ₹1.00 crore for hardware, ₹1.00 crore for software and ₹1.00 crore for connectivity, such that we could create a virtual employment exchange! To my pleasant surprise, the Director readily agreed to my suggestion! And lo and behold! We had a new Government order based on my proposal!
Tenders were floated for procuring the services of a software developer and purchase orders were issued for hardware and TNSWAN connectivity to all the 30 odd employment exchanges.
Then started the preparation of the SRS and other process requirements. To my pleasant surprise again, the directorate had an outstanding team of officers Mrs.Anasooya, Mrs.Meenakshi and Mr. Who guided the development of the software.
We wanted 2 important features in the application. One which would be repository of all the unemployed persons with their qualifications and skills, and the second stage would be to enable the private sector to dip into this repository to get people of their choice, like monster.com, naukri.com etc. Sad to say this second stage is still not a reality. In 2010, when the software was ready, it had to be tested. But by then, the announcement came from the new Commissioner that the application would be launched by the Labour Minister. I pleaded with the Director not to launch the application pending testing of the software. As per the software development lifecycle, it has to go mandatorily through different levels of testing like load testing, security testing etc.
As the date was fixed, the software could not be tested. On the day it was launched, lakhs of people fearing loss of seniority came online, and the system collapsed on day one! 25 lakh people had come online!
All hell broke lose! The Minister was frequently calling me to set right the issue! Along with NIC, we went through the application, and they found many issues which the developer had not gone into. They felt that the software in the resent stage would crash again with any kind of patchwork. The developer was also recalcitrant. They didn't seem to have a clue as to how to rectify the issue. So then I had to take the difficult decision to go for a fresh tender, by taking over the intellectual property developed thus far! The then Secretary IT Mr.PWC Davidar IAS fully supported me I this decision. This was a unique tender by any standards. We did it and got a very good software company to do the right things on the software, and to our satisfaction, they did!
The application is running without a flaw since 2010! I will never forget the time spent in 4 degree Celsius temperature inside the Reliance Data Centre in the early morning, then moving to the NIC office, with my team, along with Mr.Hans Raj Verma IAS, the Commissioner of E & T
The software is part of the website www.tnvelaivaayippu.gov.in . It is now a repository of more than one crore employment seekers with different qualifications.
A subsequent development is that we Tmt.Sabitha IAS, who as the School Education Secretary decided to ensure that data was fed into the software directly from schools when the 10th and plus 2 results are out. Now there are no queues in front of the employment exchanges when the results are out! Otherwise people throng the employment exchanges in huge numbers early in the morning.... the entire family would be there, so that place in the queue is not lost!!!