1. Clearly identify the process and people responsible to act at each stage for any activity or task to be performed by government. While identifying and codifying the process, one should not be tempted to create correct or ideal process but just capture the current one - right or wrong which is being followed on the ground right now. Leave the correction or improvement for the later date.
2. Publish the status of each application along with stage where it's currently pending and why. It should also mention the mean time to process the application of similar nature. If there are any delay in the process, due reason has to be documented which will be visible to the applicant. If applicant is not satisfied with the reason, he can file a complaint against the officer with guaranteed resolution or which will be factored while considering the growth of the concerned officer.
3. Publish the number of pending files/approval at any stage for all public activities. Anyone can view details by location or branch or officer. This can allow people to question the working of officers. Here due care has to be taken to hide the details for the file pertaining to individuals. But details of public activities should be published. Here there is chance of getting into endless debate of what to be made public and what to be kept private. My suggestion is to keep every thing public by default and based on experience move things to private.
4. Reduce the interaction of offices with public for miscellaneous activities. One should not have to visit government office to buy/fill/submit application/form. Instead one should be able to do the same through internet and possibly through mobile. All such interaction will generate an id to be used for tracking the progress of the application/form.
5. All payment to the government has to be made through different department. Any other departments are not supposed to collect money from the public for any purpose. This will make sure a user pays the right amount for the service instead of inflated one. At least it will eliminate the chance of bribing the officers unknowingly. I have experienced the e-seva in Hyderbad and I think this is a worthwhile model to study and possibly implement. These payments can be made online via internet or mobile. In case of mobile SMS can be used to verify that payment has been made.
6. Must register with government to get the certificate like birth certificate/caste certificate etc. This registration will be done by local government employee. It will have two part, one which can be written once and other which can be updated as many time as required. Part of the details like current residence address can be updated by citizen itself. This registration will generate unique number to be mentioned for all correspondence with government. This number will be linked with status of each application and citizen can log-in to check the status of all the interaction with the government.
7. Publish the co-relationship of growth (like salary hike/promotion etc.) of government employee and average actual time he took to process the files against mean time set by government. Publishing this will create pressure to link the performance of the employee with his growth. This doesn't eliminate all favoritism but I believe it will definitely help in reducing favoritism.
Now definitely there are lots of challenges in implementing it. Few are discussed below and possible way out of it:
1. Computer literacy of government employee: Government can make it mandatory for all government employee to learn the fixed set of computer skills like working with MS office, checking mails etc. To enable this government should sanction one time allowance to all the government employees which will be used by each one to get trained at place of their choice. Once someone feels that he is trained enough, he can appear for the test conducted by government to assess and grant him the continuation of service. If some fail to pass the test within stipulated timeframe his/her service can be terminated or completely downgraded with no chance of hike or promotion unless he passes the exam.
2. Computer literacy of general public: This will take time. When many people are not even literate, then expecting them to learn computer will be a little too much. But there is way out here too. There are lots of unemployed youth who can help such people. Off course illiterate citizen will end-up paying some money to these guys, but I feel this is better than bribing the government employee.
3. Cost of infrastructure: This is not going to cost government moon but definitely huge amount. There will be problem of connectivity etc. But all this can be taken care if government considers it mother of all reforms.