Ever since the dawn of Digital Age, India has played a dominant role in the global arena by leading in the domain of software development. It has a huge pool of managers driving the cutting edge technologies in the IT and consumer world. It is not unusual to find engineers/ managers as key contributors in global technology companies. After having witnessed the ‘green revolution’ and the ‘white revolution’ the time has now come to usher a ‘digital revolution’ in the country! This can best be accomplished by paving way for ‘E Governance’ which can change the life of teeming millions in the country.
What is E Governance?
The application of Information Technology and Communication Systems to deliver the services of government constitutes the ‘E Governance’. This ensures that transactions and service delivery between the government agencies, the end customers and business happens seamlessly. If used optimally, this can increase the welfare of people by a ‘quantum jump’.
The aspect of service delivery is of utmost importance to ensure that the system works especially when interacting with citizens and business alike. The scope is immense and range from registration of births and deaths, issue of licenses, payment of utility bills, insurance sector, crop yield, weather data, break-down of services during natural calamities, issue of passports, customs and excise, universal identification, job and education opportunities, results of examinations, medical services and countless others.
Benefits of E Governance
Almost every walk of life can be touched within the ambit of E governance. Major benefits that can accrue are as follows:
1. Transparency of services
2. Minimizing the delays
3. Improvement in the quality of services
4. Services are offered in user friendly environment
5. Increased Accountability of those providing services
6. Accessibility to a very large number of end users in several domains
7. Scalability of the operations
8. Public, Private, Partnerships
Impediments in E Governance
There are several factors that act as impediments in E Governance and some of the ones that are critical to the success of this scheme are as follows:
1. Low levels of Awareness: The campaigns do not get enough publicity. The low levels of education often act as barriers in understanding. Any program undertaken must be able to strike a chord with the people at grass root level and must be easy to adopt.
2. The interfaces like the tablets, laptops, smartphones and other devices must be available at low cost. At panchayat level funds should be made available to promote their use.
3. There are several existing Social interworking sites like “Facebook’, ‘Twitter’ and ‘Whatsapp’ that can be easily integrated with the framework where it becomes easy to interact with people. Delhi Police has been using a Facebook page for grievance redress.
4. Forward and backward linkages with networks and servers are critical to the success of this scheme
5. Ease of use by the citizens with minimum requirements of data entry in the user multilingual interfaces.
6. Credibility of services offered is important as the trust of people can be built by ensuring low turnaround time ( which should in fixed) for passing the benefit
7. Simplifying the procedures, which are otherwise quite complex in current scenario
8. These projects require a huge financial outlay for acquiring the state of the art servers, communication systems and transmission media like optical fiber networks, microwave equipment etc, so capital costs are high.
9. In order to efficiently manage the systems, training of the people manning these would be a huge challenge.
10. To maintain their availability 24X7 for 365 days, the systems must be reliable with back up facilities of hardware and power systems.
Currently most of the ‘E Governance’ projects are run on a pilot basis or on a smaller scale. The true test of their success will be gauged only if these are scaled up operations covering a district and possibly a state. If some of these models are successful, they can be replicated. E governance has a bright future only if the momentum is maintained and there is a determination to bring a change, for better tomorrow!
PS1. Image Kind Courtesy Google2. This post is my entry for Intel/ Indiblogger sponsored contest’ Digital India Vision’ (http://www.intel.in/)