Digitalization is complicated. In the planning and development process, it is necessary to make sure that the product being made takes the correct approach to solve the problems, i.e. digitalization should help speed up and simplify the process instead of increasing the workload for everyone involved.
With its new Fund Management System, the council has been able to achieve digitalization while making the process easy and quick for all the stakeholders.
In order to allow any IA/SPV to withdraw any amount from their dedicated accounts, COHANDS has been using a sophisticated pay order process since the beginning of its cluster operations. In this, when an IA needs to pay for Soft Intervention or Hard Intervention activity, they submit a form and their supporting documents to the Nodal Agency. Upon receiving a recommendation from the concerned technical agency, and reviewing the documents, the council issues disbursement orders to the IA.
In traditional pay order system, which was operated by Emails, the IA faced multiple challenges in calculation of pay orders as well as submitting relevant supporting documents. It required the TA and IA to go back and forth multiple times to fix the documentation issues and get the approval from Nodal Agency.
Understanding the challenges and eliciting very positive response to its previous digitalization projects, the development of an FMS was done. The portal was launched at cohandsindia.com in January 2022 and in just 1 month, 100% pay orders were digitalized.
At its core, the FMS is a three-dashboard system built on rock solid AWS infrastructure. The system includes multiple core components such as email support, reporting support, PDF generation engine and a central accounts management engine.
All IAs working under COHANDS are required to register on FMS. During the registration process, a series of initial account data is entered in the system. This data includes contact information, fund related information as well as TA information.
Similar to a bank account, the FMS keeps track of a clusterÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s balance across multiple types of funds such as GoI contributions, IA Contribution and various interventions. This allows the system to do the calculation on its own, thus, when an IA creates a pay order, they only enter the amount requested, what it is for and the account number of the payee. Additionally, the system is smart enough to not allow creation of pay order if the amount requested is insufficient.
Upon creation of form, the IA submits PDF files of supporting documents through a dedicated screen. After the submission of relevant documentation, the system merges all files and pay order form automatically to create a claim document.
The claim is then displayed on the TA dashboard where the TA can reject or accept the document after adding a comment which is visible to all parties i.e., IA and NA.
If everything is as per the requirements, the NA reviews and accepts the pay order. Then, an e-mail containing relevant information is send to the Bank Manager of cluster, IA and TA. Aside from this, the amount of pay order is deducted from the FMS Account of IA so that the next pay order can be created.
This allows the balance of FMS to be equal to dedicated account balance at all times.
Since its launch, the FMS has actively been worked on improvements and adding new features. At present, the FMS includes Installment System, a system of tender publishing, a system for hosting design modules of COHANDS, a detailed monthly report system, and a downloads section and many other components.
FMS has been designed with flexibility, scalability, and extensibility in mind. Thanks to its positive reception and scope of digitalization, the FMS will work as a foundation platform to add more features in its toolset which will certainly help the cluster implementation process become faster, more transparent and user friendly.