A new paradigm shift has been developed in the field of governance by the application of ICT in the processes of governing called Electronic-Governance or E-Governance.
The “e” in e-Governance stands for ‘electronic’. Thus, e-Governance is basically associated with carrying out the functions and achieving the results of governance through the utilization of what has today come to be known as ICT (Information and Communications Technology). It is the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) to transform the efficiency, effectiveness transparency and accountability of informational and transactional exchanges within government between government and government agencies of National, State, Municipal and Local levels citizen and businesses. It also empowers citizens through access and use of information.
e-Governance is not only meant for introducing or using technological tools. But it also strives to bring about a change in the mindset and work culture to integrate government processes to serve the citizens better. The interaction between a citizen and a government agency normally takes place in a government office. With emerging Information and Communication technologies it is possible to locate service centers closed to clients. In all the cases, public traditionally looks for information and services addressing his or her needs and in both cases quality relevance and efficiency are of paramount importance.
|e-Governance or ‘electronic governance’ is basically the application of Information and Communications Technology to the processes of Government functioning in order to bring about ‘Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent’ (SMART) governance.|
The emergence of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has provided means for faster and better communication efficient storage retrieval and processing of data and exchange and utilization of information to its users be they individuals, groups, businesses organizations or governments. With growing computerization and increasing internet connectivity this process has presently reached a stage where more and more users are motivated to modifying their ways of doing things in order to leverage the advantages provided by ICT.
With the increasing awareness among citizens about their rights and the resultant increase in expectations from the government to perform and deliver the whole paradigm of governance has changed. Government today is expected to be transparent in its dealings accountable for its activities and faster in its responses. This has made the use of ICT imperative in any agenda drawn towards achieving good governance.
Objectives of e-governance
The Government’s network infrastructure must be aimed at solving the political economic and social problems of the state and provide:
- Realization of the right of citizens to access public government information;
- Making available to the public with objective and reliable information on the activities of public authorities which strengthens the credibility of the state and its politics;
- To increase and encourage people’s participation in the governance process.
- Interaction and ongoing dialogue with the citizens of the state and public institutions as well as the necessary level of public control over activities of state bodies and organizations;
- Integration of information resources and services of state and local governments to strengthen national information space;
- Improving public administration optimizing the structure of the state apparatus reducing the financial and material costs for its maintenance a gradual transfer of government services that have value in a system of government online services that meets the real needs of citizens and organizations;
- Effectively support the economic activities of public entities that are engaged in economic activities allowing them to effectively integrate into a national and global economic space;
- Interaction and cooperation with government authorities in other countries and international organizations.
- e-Governance improves the country’s information and communication technology and electronic media, with the aim of strengthening the country’s economy by keeping governments, people and businesses in tune with the modern world.
- One of its main objectives is to establish transparency and accountability in the governance process.
- To reduce government spending on information and services.
A Brief History of E-Governance
- The introduction of e-governance in India started in the late 60s and early 70s with an emphasis on computerization of applications for defence services, economic planning, national census, elections, tax collections etc.
- However, from the early 90s e-governance has taken on a broader dimension using IT for wider sectoral applications with a policy emphasis on reaching out to rural areas and taking in greater inputs from NGOs and the private sector.
- While the emphasis was initially on automation and computerization the later forays began to encompass connectivity networking setting up systems for processing information and delivering services.
- The implementation of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) in May 2006 was with the vision of making all government services accessible to the common man in his/ her locality through common service delivery outlets to ensure efficiency transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs.
- Initial Steps Taken
- The establishment of the Department of Electronics in 1970 was the first major step towards e-governance in India as it brought ‘information’ and its communication to focus.
- National Informatics Centre (NIC) established in 1977, launched the District Information System program to computerize all district offices in the country
- The main thrust for e-governance was provided by the launching of NICNET in 1987 – the national satellite-based computer network.
Stages of e-Governance in India
- The rise of e-governance has been one of the most striking developments of the web. As the Internet supported digital communities and assuming that they do indeed grow to incorporate individuals around the country (and globe). They present the national governments with a number of challenges and opportunities.
- Governments in democratic states are primarily a representative mechanism whereby the selected few debate and enact the legislation for and on behalf of the nation state’s citizens. There are several aspects to this that might prove to be important in the context of e-governance.
- Global shifts towards increased deployment of IT by governments emerged in the nineties with the advent of the World Wide Web. The technology as well as e-governance initiatives have come a long way since then. With the increase in Internet and mobile connections the citizens are learning to exploit their new mode of access in wide ranging ways.
- They have started expecting more and more information and services online from governments and corporate organizations to further their civic professional and personal lives thus, creating abundant evidence that the new “e-citizenship” is taking hold.
- The effective use of ICT services in the Government has greatly enhanced existing efficiencies driven down communication costs and increased transparency in the functioning of various departments.
- It has also given citizens an easy access to tangible benefits be it throug simple applications such as online form filling bill sourcing and payments or complex applications like distance education and tele-medicine.
Pillars of e-Governance
E-Governance: Interactions and Applications
These initiatives are discussed under the following categories:
- Government to Citizen (G2C) initiatives.
- Government to Business (G2B) initiatives.
- Government to Government (G2G) initiatives.
- Government to Employee (G2E) initiatives.
Government to Citizen (G2C) Initiatives
The e-Governance scenario in India has come a long way since computers were first introduced. The focus now is on extending the reach of governance to have a major impact on the people at large. A large number of initiatives have been taken in this category by the Union and the State Governments. Some of these are described in the following paragraphs.
- Computerisation of Land Records:
- It ensured that landowners get computerized copies of ownership crop and tenancy and for transparency and speedy dispute resolution.
- Bhoomi Project Karnataka:
- It is a self-sustainable project for the computerized delivery of 20 million rural land records to 6.7 million farmers in the State of Karnataka. As land records were not open for public scrutiny in the traditional system it resulted in manipulation and favouritism.
- Gyandoot (Madhya Pradesh):
- It was started with the twin objective of providing relevant information to the rural population and acting as an interface between the district administration and the people. The basic idea behind this project was to establish and foster a technologically innovative initiative which is owned and operated by the community itself. The services offered through the Gyandoot network include Daily agricultural commodity rates (mandi bhav), income certificate, caste certificate, public grievance redressal, etc.
- Lokvani Project in Uttar Pradesh:
- Lokvaniis apublic-private partnership with an objective to provide a single window self sustainable e-Governance solution with regard to handling of grievances land record maintenance and providing a mixture of essential services.
- Project FRIENDS in Kerala:
- FRIENDS (Fast, Reliable, Instant, Efficient Network for the Disbursement of Services) is a Single Window Facility providing citizens the means to pay taxes and other financial dues to the State Government.
- e-Mitra Project in Rajasthan:
- This initiative builds upon the experiences gained through the Lok Mitra and Jan Mitra pilot projects launched in 2002. While Lok Mitra was centred in the city of Jaipur. Jan Mitra was piloted in Jhalawar district to provide information and services under one roof to urban and rural populations. E-Mitra is an integration of the two projects.
- Revenue Administration through Computerized Energy (RACE) Billing Project, Bihar:
- The Patna Electric Supply Undertaking (PESU) which is one of the seven area boards of the Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) caters to the energy requirements of the Patna Urban Area. The entire billing and payment process was manual and anomalies in the system were resulting in harassment to the consumers and loss of revenue to the Board. To address these problems it was decided by the BSEB to take the assistance of ICT in providing value added and consumer-friendly service to the clients.
- Admission to Professional Colleges – Common Entrance Test (CET):
- With the rapid growth in the demand as well as supply of professional education the process of admission to these institutions became a major challenge in the early 1990s. Recourse was then taken to ICT to make the process of admission transparent and objective. Use of ICT in the admission process has helped in making the admission process totally transparent fair and objective. Consequently, most of the institutions have now switched over to similar ICT based admission process.
Government to Business (G2B) initiatives
G2B initiatives encompass all activities of government which impinge upon business organizations. These include registrations under different statutes. Licenses under different laws and exchange of information between government and business. The objective of bringing these activities under e-Governance is to provide a congenial legal environment to business expedite various processes and provide relevant information to business.
- e-Procurement Project in Andhra Pradesh:
- Prior to the introduction of an e-Procurement system in Andhra Pradesh procurement in Government departments was done through a manual tendering process. The manual tender system suffered from various deficiencies, including discrimination, cartel formation, delays, lack of transparency etc. It reduces the time and cost of doing business for both vendors and government.
- MCA 21:
- The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has implemented the MCA 21 Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan. The project aims at providing easy and secure online access to all registry related services provided by the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs to corporates and other stakeholders at any time and in a manner that best suits them.
Government to Government (G2G) Initiatives
Within the government system there is large scale processing of information and decision making. G2G initiatives help in making the internal government processes more efficient. Many a time G2C and G2B processes necessitate the improvements in G2G processes.
- • Khajane Project in Karnataka:
- It is a comprehensive online treasury computerization project of the
Government of Karnataka to track every activity right from the approval of the State Budget to the point of rendering accounts to the government. The project aimed to get rid of the issue in the manual system in the treasury.
- It is a comprehensive online treasury computerization project of the
- Smart Gov (Andhra Pradesh):
- Smart Gov has been developed to streamline operations enhance efficiency through workflow automation and knowledge management for implementation in the Andhra Pradesh government. The solution automates the functioning of all levels of Government entities and provides a well defined mechanism for transforming the “hard copy environment” to a “digital environment”.
G2E (Government to Employees)
The initiative is a two-way interactive process between the organisation and the employee. E-governance helps in making these interactions fast and efficient in addition to increasing the satisfaction levels of employees. It involves giving and taking of information regarding diverse work assignments as may come from time to time evolution of performance management policy for personnel training and development of employees and career advice. The G2E model is a blend of providing information and services by the government organization to their employees to enable communication and learning.
- E-Postal Ballot:
- The government issued a notification through which a certain section of electorate can cast their vote electronically. The benefit of postal ballots has been extended to the members of armed forces and supplementary forces and certain government employees deployed in remote/inaccessible areas and those posted abroad. All of these must have registered with electoral authorities as registered voters. It may later be extended to special voters and those in preventive detention.
NeGP 2.0 or e-Kranti
The electronic delivery of public services in India has got a major boost as the government embarked on the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) 2.0, also referred to as e-Kranti. The NeGP 2.0 is a part of the government’s broader Digital India initiative and aims to scale up and boost e-governance initiatives across the country.
It was approved in 2015 with the vision of “Transforming e-Governance for Transforming Governance”. There are 44 Mission Mode Projects under e-Kranti, which are at various stages of implementation.
It will help in moving all government-to-citizen transactions in the education, health, banking and public services sectors onto online platforms to digitally empower citizens of all strata. Based on the experience with NeGP and also on the forgoing analysis, the principles have been formulated to guide the design and implementation of the e-Kranti Program.
- To redefine NeGP with transformational and outcome oriented e-Governance initiatives.
- To enhance the portfolio of citizen centric services.
- To ensure optimum usage of core Information & Communication Technology (ICT)
- To promote rapid replication and integration of e-Governance applications.
- To leverage emerging technologies.
- To make use of more agile implementation models.
- Transformation and not Translation:
- All project proposals in e-Kranti must involve a substantial transformation in the quality, quantity and manner of delivery of services and significant enhancement in productivity and competitiveness.
- Integrated Services and not Individual Services:
- A common middle ware and integration of the back end processes and processing systems are required to facilitate integrated service delivery to citizens.
- Government Process Re-engineering (GPR):
- To mandate GPR as the essential first step in all new MMPs (Mission mode projects) without which a project may not be sanctioned.
- ICT Infrastructure on Demand:
- Government departments should be provided with ICT infrastructures, such as connectivity, cloud and mobile platform on demand. In this regard, National Information Infrastructure (Nil), which is at an advanced stage of project formulation, would be fast-tracked by Deit (Department of Information and Technology).
- Cloud by Default:
- The flexibility, agility and cost effectiveness offered by cloud technologies would be fully leveraged while designing and hosting applications. Government Cloud shall be the default cloud for Government Departments.
- Mobile First:
- All applications are designed/redesigned to enable delivery of services through mobile.
- Fast Tracking Approvals:
- To establish a fast – track approval mechanism for MMPs, once the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of a project is approved by the Competent Authority, empowered committees may be constituted with delegated powers to take all subsequent decisions.
- Mandating Standards and Protocols:
- Use of e-Governance standards and protocols as notified by DeitY be mandated in all e-governance projects.
- Language Localization:
- It is imperative that all information and services in e-Governance projects are available in Indian languages as well.
- National GIS (Geo-Spatial Information System):
- NGIS to be leveraged as a platform and as a service in e-Governance projects.
- Security and Electronic Data Preservation:
- All online applications and e-services adhere to prescribed security measures including cyber security. The National Cyber Security Policy 2013 notified by DeitY must be followed.
The approach and methodology of e-Kranti are fully aligned with the Digital India programme. The programme management structure approved for Digital India programme would be used for monitoring the implementation of e-Kranti and also for providing a forum to ascertain views of all stakeholders, overseeing implementation, resolving inter-Ministerial issues and ensuring speedy sanction of projects.
- Nil 2.0:
- National Information Infrastructure 2.0 will consolidate and integrate the currently available and proposed network infrastructure, such as the National Knowledge Network, the State Wide Area Network and the National Optical Fibre Network.
- PayGov India:
- This is an online national payment gateway for citizens to pay fees for availing any government services.
- The Government of India’s cloud will enable departments and agencies at the central and state levels to leverage cloud computing for the effective delivery of e-services.
- eGov App Store:
- Using this, a large number of successful and time-tested applications can be hosted for immediate adoption by departments and agencies.
- Mobile Seva:
- The Mobile Seva platform is aimed at mainstreaming mobile governance in the country. Mobile Seva provides all possible mobile-based channels for service delivery, including SMS, unstructured supplementary service data, interactive voice response systems and mobile applications. It now aims to provide location-based and cell-based services.
- It is a framework for the e-authentication of users who access online services through the web or mobile phones. It fully incorporates and uses the Aadhaar authentication mechanism provided by the Unique Identification Authority of India.
- e-Governance standards:
- Open standards offer innovative solutions that can fix one particular challenge faced by government departments the high licensing costs associated with the acquisition and deployment of ICT.
- Language localisation:
- All e-Kranti governance applications will be developed in constitutionally recognised Indian languages to improve their uptake.
- e-Taal 2.0:
- This will be an enhanced version of e-Taal and incorporate additional features such as business intelligence tools, an e-services directory, a local language interface, a weighted average system for various services, a geographical orientation to service delivery points, and a comparative analysis of states and e-services in terms of e-transactions.
- Social media:
- Recognising the power of social media, the government has notified a policy on its use by government departments and agencies.
Digital India Initiatives
- It is an umbrella program to prepare India for a knowledge-based transformation.
- It weaves together a large number of ideas and thoughts into a single comprehensive vision so that each of them is seen as part of a larger goal.
- It has been launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity).
- Digital infrastructure as Utility to Every Citizen
- Governance and services on demand
- Digital empowerment of citizens
Various Initiatives Under Digital India Initiatives
- MyGov: It aims to establish a link between Government and Citizens towards meeting the goal of good governance.
- It encourages citizens as well as people abroad to participate in various activities i.e. ‘Do’, ‘Discuss’, ‘Poll’, ‘Talk’, ‘Blog’, etc.
- DigiLocker: It serves as a platform to enable citizens to securely store and share their documents with service providers who can directly access them electronically.
- e-Hospital-Online Registration Framework (ORF): It is an initiative to facilitate the patients to take online OPD appointments with government hospitals. This framework also covers patient care, laboratory services and medical record management.
- National Scholarships Portal (NSP): It provides a centralized platform for application and disbursement of scholarship to students under any scholarship scheme.
- DARPAN: It is an online tool that can be used to monitor and analyze the implementation of critical and high priority projects of the State.
- It facilitates presentation of real time data on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of selected schemes/projects to the senior functionaries of the State Government as well as district administration.
- PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation): It has been aimed at starting a culture of Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation.
- It is also a robust system for bringing e-transparency and e-accountability with real-time presence and exchange among the key stakeholders.
- It was launched in 2015.
- Common Services Centres 2.0 (CSC 2.0): It is being implemented to develop and provide support to the use of information technology in rural areas of the country.
- The CSCs are Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled kiosks with broadband connectivity to provide various Governments, private and social services at the doorstep of the citizen.
- Mobile Seva: It provides government services to the people through mobile phones and tablets.
- Jeevan Pramaan: It is an Aadhaar based Biometric Authentication System for Pensioners.
- The system provides authenticity to Digital Life Certificate without the necessity of the pensioner being present in person before his/ her Pension Dispensing Authority (PDA).
- National Centre of Geo-informatics (NCoG): Under this project, Geographic Information System (GIS) platform for sharing, collaboration, location based analytics and decision support system for Departments has been developed.
- National e-Governance Plan (NeGP): It takes a holistic view of e-Governance initiatives across the country, integrating them into a collective vision and a shared cause.
- It comprises of 31 Mission Mode Projects, approved in 2006, but later it was integrated into Digital India Program.
Advantages of E-Governance
E-Governance is about reform in governance facilitated by the creative use of Information and Communications Technology. The benefits expected out of e-governance are as under:
- Better access to information and quality services for citizens:
- ICT would make available timely and reliable information on various aspects of governance. In the initial phase information would be made available with respect to simple aspects of governance such as forms, laws, rules, procedures etc later extending to detailed information including reports (including performanc reports), public database, decision making processes etc. The ultimate objective of e-Governance is to reach out to citizens by adopting a life-cycle approach i.e., providing public services to citizens which would be required right from birth to death.
- Simplicity and efficiency in the government:
- Application of ICT to governance combined with detailed business process re-engineering would lead to simplification of complicated processes weeding out of redundant processes simplification in structures and changes in statutes and regulations. The end result would be simplification of the functioning of government enhanced decision making abilities and increased efficiency across government – all contributing to an overall environment of a more accountable government machinery. This in turn would result in enhanced productivity and efficiency in all sectors.
- Expanded reach of governance:
- Rapid growth of communications technology and its adoption in governance would help in bringing government machinery to the doorsteps of the citizens. Expansion of telephone network, rapid strides in mobile telephony, spread of internet and strengthening of other communications infrastructure would facilitate delivery of a large number of services provided by the government. This enhancement of the reach of government – both spatial and demographic – would also enable better participation of citizens in the process of governance.
- Transparency is broadly accepted as a vital principle of good governance. It ensures that the stakeholders have the necessary information to make decisions for the progress of their lives. Transparency in government operations improves the confidence of citizen towards their government while reminding government about the need to be transparent to citizens in their decisions and associated impact. Current governing process leaves many ways to conceal the information from all the people. E-governance helps make the information available online eliminating all the possibilities of concealing of information.
- Reduced Corruption:
- E-Governance can help in combating the menace of corruption through information exposure and better service delivery. Instant access to the information quick and efficient transaction enables them to understand rules and regulations. These procedural changes have provided the strength to the citizen to question the authorities and seek explanation. The transparency thus generated by the use of e-governance may lead to reduction in corruption.
- Once the governing process is made transparent the Government is automatically made accountable. Accountability is answerability of the Government to the people. It is the answerability for the deeds of the Government. An accountable Government is a responsible Government.
- Cost Reduction:
- With the expansion of e-governance government expenditure involving paper-works like stationary printers and pages would see substantial reduction. Also, communication through phones and internet further reduces government expenditure saving valuable money for the Government.
- Environment Friendly:
- Increasing use of information and Communication in governance would call for less use of papers in addition to less use of physical travel thus saving energy and costs of petrol/diesel for masses. This would see substantial benefit to the environment.
- Use of technology makes communication quick , Internet, Phones. Cell Phones have reduced the time taken in normal communication which saves a lot of time for the government as well as people. The time saved can be used for other productive works.
Problems to E-Governance
E-governance has a whole gamut of inter-related issues which have to be addressed systematically.
- E-Governance needs to make sure it is integrated with all ministries all state governments and at lower levels of administration. Integration of data is main problem. The challenge is to capture the data in web based form and transferring it in common format for processing and sharing the information.
- Privacy of any transaction or information provided by the citizen to the government agency must be ensured. Otherwise the information can be misuse by the private sector or competitors and the users may be reluctant to access the services provided.
- Transaction security is another major problem in e-governance . The tax fine and bill payment must be secured and the system design should be full proof.
- The authentication of citizens requesting services needs to be verified before theyaccess or use the services. The digital signature plays an important role in providing the authenticity but this is expensive and requires frequent maintenance.
- Though the security measures are pretty high there have been incidences of hacking of websites which make it tough for people to share personal details. The growing concern about the security of cyber space and misuse of data is still holding back the citizens to full adaptation of facilities like Aadhar card.
- No accountability in case of breakdown:
- Many a times the delay in service to customers is attributed to technological errors like server has gone down, server is slow, technological glitch etc. These lead to several problems for masses. For Example: server breakdown at railway ticketing centre.
- E-governance service should be accessible for anybody from anywhere at any time.
Even if internet population is growing exponentially there is a very big portion of the population who may not be able to access e-governance for various reasons.
- E-governance service should be accessible for anybody from anywhere at any time.
- All the users may not be expert of ICT transactions or the technology used for e-governance. Therefore, the service provided must be usable or user friendly . To make the system usable the guidance of operation may be provided to the users.
- E-governance requires reconfiguration of internal and external structure of public sectors. The main aim is to improve the system efficiently and to provide high quality services to the citizens. E-governance is for citizen convenience instead of convenience of government. The power conflicts over the departmental and functional boundaries become more prominent in integration process.
- Use of local languages:
- The access of information must be permitted in the local languages for user comfort. There should be language software or some other technologies to translate the information from English to local languages.
- Awareness in rural areas:
- In India there are very high percentage of villages where awareness of
e-governance is required since large portion of rural populations are not aware of new technologies and computer educations.
- In India there are very high percentage of villages where awareness of
- User-friendliness especially for the illiterates and the elderly:
- e-governance has an interface which elderly and uneducated person finds difficulty with. As there are no special facilities to help these people it acts as a hindrance for them. In general senior citizens do not have much computer education and they would have to approach a customer service officer for assistance. And also in case of rural people it gives scope for middle man who distort the information.
- Lack of Trust:
- Trust in e-government is of vital importance for the effective adoption and use of electronic public services. The use of information and communication Technology tools in e-governance has witnessed an increasing diffusion and adoption worldwide. Despite these positive results e-government has not yet reached its full potential because of lack of trust in the technology . Recent news like website hack of Ministry of Home Affairs which has the most secretive documents enforces lack of trust in divulging personal details.
- Lack of Personal Touch:
- As the interaction is virtual without any physical meetings there is no person to person interaction which is much valued in the Indian culture.
- Implementation, operations and maintenance cost of service provided should be low enough for high cost benefit ratio.
- IT has been continuously evolving and software are frequently upgraded. Thus, the system must be compatible and maintainable for easily fulfillment of emerging needs.
- E-governance should be considered as nationwide plan and the implemented modules must be reusable by other administrations.
- The primary requisite for portable applications is independence of components from hardware or software platforms to help in possible reuse by other administrations.
Some of the challenges and associated way ahead are as under:
- Decades of following a particular mode of governance procedure tends to develop inertia and resistance to change. Further, old skills and habits will require to be replaced with new skills and new processes if e-Governance is to sustain. There has to be a strong will from within the government itself to crossover from the present system to e-Governance.
- Political support at the highest level:
- The vast scope of e-Governance combined with the enormous task of process re-engineering which will be necessary at various levels and the infrastructural and financial requirement necessarily call for commitment to the vision of e-Governance at the highest political level. A bottom-up approach will not suffice.
- Providing Incentives:
- Weaning government entities from the mechanical application of technology to adoption of e-Governance tools will require incentivizing e-Governance among different entities and individuals. These incentives need to be reflected in the budgetary allocations. The best practices in the area of e-governance need to be documented so that other States can also take up these initiatives. e-Governance projects are best implemented in the Mission Mode.
- Developing Awareness:
- Apart from building capabilities within the government there is need for generating widespread awareness among the public at large. The success of e-Governance lies in increasing the number of electronic interactions between citizens and the government and not merely in building the infrastructure of e-Governance.
- Overcoming resistance to change:
- e-Governance has to be a collective effort. However, in every organization there are people who would not be convinced about its benefits or who would perceive it as a challenge to certain entrenched interests. Such resistance would need to be overcome by demonstrating the potential benefits of e-Governance; how it strengthens the organization internally creates goodwill externally and above all enhances citizens’ satisfaction.
- Training and capacity building:
- Training would have to be imparted to government officials starting right from the cutting edge level so that any apprehensions of intrusive technology is removed and e-Governance is accepted as an achievable and desirable target.
- Creating Infrastructure:
- To ensure that the benefits of e-governance reaches to every corner especially the rural and backward regions more e-government projects have to be implemented by building adequate e-infrastructure. In comparison with the large scale at which e-governance training is being undertaken by countries such as China there is a significant gap in the training infrastructure and programmes being implemented in India.
- Any large scale e-governance initiative can succeed only if there is an on-going and sustained programme for such training at the State and district levels. Further, there is also a need for training officials at IT policy level to take policy decisions and handle issues of strategy. Such officers could be expected to lead large e-governance programmes or become IT Secretaries in States etc. The training should include domestic and international components and such officers should be given exposure to such training/conferences/workshops internationally at frequent intervals.
- Business Process Re-engineering:
- It is essential to recognize that e-government is all about discarding old procedures and transforming the process of decision-making. Technology is merely a tool and a catalyst for such transformation. e-Governance cannot be achieved simply by drafting a law or issuing an order. It requires changing how officials think and act. How they view their jobs, how they share information between departments with trade commerce and business and with common citizens.
Technology by itself is not panacea for solving all the problems and it requires enabler in the form of human resource management and leadership of organization to reap greater benefit of it. Ultimately, the success of an e-Governance initiative lies in how efficiently it has enhanced people’s participation in government functioning through wide ICT access bringing government and the services it offers closer to its citizens promoting accountability , transparency and responsiveness in government functioning and ensuring that government works better at lesser costs. These are the sine qua non for good governance and a vibrant democracy .
The e-governance process needs continuous input and feedback from the ‘customers’— the citizens, resident, businesses and officials who use electronic public services. Their voices and ideas from the grass roots are essential to making e-governance work. Hence e-governance has to be a shared vision with all the stakeholders – government and non-government – participating in defining this vision.
Data Led Governance and Policy Making
Evidence based policy making should be made integral to the overall governance structure in New India, 2022-23. To achieve this, timely generation and dissemination of robust data at all levels of governance would be a pre-requisite. This would require:
- Collecting data for new measurable parameters using latest technologies and improving efficiencies in processes related to existing data collection by government departments and agencies.
- Expanding warehousing facilities for storing and integrating data from different sources.
- Making data available for industry practitioners, academicians, researchers, etc . wherever feasible.
- Integrating data analysis and interactive data visualization into all policy formulation.
- Countries, where large-scale developmental efforts are needed, require their policy delivery mechanisms to be robust and efficient. However, paradoxically, these countries have very little data needed for the selection, implementation and evaluation of effective policies.
- Rapid advancements in technology have led to an explosive growth in the volume of data produced. Hence, public services and governance systems in India can better harness the value of this data.
- One important step taken towards creating the availability of non-sensitive data for public consumption on a common platform was the launch of National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP) in 2012. This led to the creation of the Open Government Data initiative where the domain data.gov.in was registered in 2012
The following constraints need to be overcome to enable India’s transition to a data-led governance structure:
- There is over-reliance on data collection through surveys e.g., population census comes out once in ten years, the latest National Family Health Survey-4 was released in 2015-16 after a period of 10 years but huge delays, diminishes their usefulness in policymaking.
- There is a dearth of availability of real time operational/
- One challenge in this regard is that considerable number of stakeholders are involved in enabling data collection systems that are premised on a “bottom-to-top” approach. It will be a huge challenge to get all these stakeholders on board for a streamlined data collection and reporting mechanism as envisaged for 2022-23.
- There is a problem with the usability of data that is currently generated.
- Large volumes of data collected by different government agencies and departments are not shared, even among the departments.
- The data shared is often not available in machine readable format or cannot be integrated with data from other sources to help develop multidimensional insights.
- Enabling adoption of the latest technology at the grass roots level would involve substantial investment along with skill development of local functionaries.
- Furthermore, planning will be required to integrate different technologies so that ground level data can be aggregated.
- Lastly, there is considerable lack of awareness regarding currently available data sources.
- Data Collection Methods:
- Both administrative and survey data need to move from paper based to digitally driven operations. This would require the adoption of latest technologies that require recording in digital format, geo-tagging etc. This will address the issues related to time lags, data cleansing, etc., associated with surveys to a large extent.
- Enable data sharing in real time through Application Programming Interfaces (API) between data stored across different databases and across ministries in a central location for easy access to public.
- Data Integration and Quality assurance:
- Most of the administrative and survey data are generated at the state level. It is recommended that after going through the process of quality assurance, where discrepancies are removed, and formats are standardized, the data should be integrated in a state data repository.
- Necessary reform of our statistics and data collection system must be undertaken for quality assurance as soon as possible to achieve quality evidence based policy making.
- Some state governments like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan have taken important steps to leverage technology for evidence-based policymaking. However, these steps need to be further streamlined and adopted by all states. This will empower the officer on the ground to take data led decisions and technology would help in informed policy making.
- Data Protection:
- The issue of confidentiality has to be addressed while dealing with citizen level data. Justice Sri Krishna Committee Report submitted its recommendation in July 2018. Its recommendations are under active consideration to formulate a data protection law in India.
- Role of tertiary Big Data:
- For better governance and evidence-based policymaking, it is recommended that tertiary big data collected by private third parties should be used. Overtime, the National Data Analytics Portal aims at collecting, analyzing and disseminating various types of tertiary data of different levels of granularity.
- Skill Development and Restructuring:
- Government statistical organizations responsible for data collection and reporting needs to be updated on new technologies.
- Data scientists with multiple skills in the areas of statistics, analytics, computer science and programming are rare in the Indian government.
- Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoS & PI) needs to have an adequate number of data scientists to take advantage of new technologies.
- Re-skilling needs to be promoted across government agencies, both at the state level and at the centre.
- A roadmap for strengthening various government agencies including MoS & PI needs to be formulated and implemented in a time bound manner.
Recommendations of 2nd ARC on e-Governance
Building a Congenial Environment
- Building a congenial environment is a sine qua non for successful implementation of e-Governance initiatives. This should be achieved by
- Creating and displaying a will to change within the government
- Providing political support at the highest level
- Incentivizing e-Governance and overcoming the resistance to change within government
- Creating awareness in the public with a view to generating a demand for change.
Identification of e-Governance Projects and Prioritisation
- The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has defined four stages of e-government Projects, each one more demanding than the next. These are:
- Information: Putting information on web-sites
- Interaction: Allowing citizens to enquire about services, procedures etc. and filling up forms and submitting them online
- Transaction: Allowing payments online
- Transformation: A mix of all the above and allowing the citizen to participate in governance through ICT.
Business Process Re-engineering (BPR)
- The basic idea behind such re-engineering is to avail of the opportunity provided by ICT in transforming governmental processes and not just in modifying them.
- For every function a government organisation performs and every service or information it is required to provide, there should be a step-by-step analysis of each process to ensure its rationality and simplicity.
- Such analysis should incorporate the viewpoints of all stakeholders, while maintaining the citizen-centricity of the exercise.
Capacity Building and Creating Awareness
- The success of an e-Governance project would depend on building human capacities in terms of necessary knowledge and skills to conceptualize, initiate, implement and sustain e-Governance initiatives across government as also on the ultimate use by citizens of the facilities created.
- Capacity building efforts must attend to both the organizational capacity building as also the professional and skills upgradation of individuals associated with the implementation of e-Governance projects.
- Each government organization must conduct a capacity assessment which should form the basis for training their personnel.
- A network of training institutions needs to be created in the States with the Administrative Training Institutes at the apex.
- Breaking up entire e-Governance projects into components/ activities
- Planning each activity in detail
- Allocating resources, both human and financial
- Commencement of activities as per the plan and continuous tracking
- Need-based mid-course correction
Monitoring and Evaluation
- Monitoring of e-Governance projects should be done by the implementing organization during implementation in the manner in which project monitoring is done for large infrastructure projects.
- Evaluation of success or failure of e-Governance projects may be done by independent agencies on the basis of parameters fixed beforehand.
Protecting Critical Information Infrastructure Assets
- There is need to develop a critical information infrastructure assets protection strategy.
- This should be supplemented with improved analysis and warning capabilities as well as improved information sharing on threats and vulnerabilities.