According to the World Bank, “ e-Governance refers to the use by government agencies of information technologies (such as Wide area networks, Internet and Mobile Computing) that have the ability to transform relations with citizens, businesses and other arms of government”. These technologies can serve a variety of different ends:
- Better delivery of government services to citizens
- Improved interactions with business and industry
- Citizen empowerment through access to information
- More effective government management
- The resulting benefits can be less corruption, increased transparency, greater convenience, revenue growth, and/or cost reductions.
- The emphasis here is to bring the state closer to the citizens through e-services.
- The use of IT to facilitate the ability of all sections of society to participate in the governance of the state through e-democracy.
In Simple words, e-Governance is in essence, the application of Information and Communications Technology to government functioning in order to create ‘Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent’ (SMART) governance.
Potential of e-Governance
1. Speed: Technology makes communication speedier. Internet, Phones, Cell Phones have reduced the time taken in normal communication.
2. Cost Reduction : Most of the Government expenditure is appropriated towards the cost of stationary. With the advent of e-service delivery, the government can provide information at lesser cost, in reduced time and with greater convenience.
3. Transparency: Use of ICT makes the governing process transparent. ICT helps make the information available online eliminating all the possibilities of concealing information.
4. Accountability: Accountability is answerability of the Government to the people. It helps to reduce the discretionary powers of government officials and curtails corruption.
5. Convenience: e-Governance brings public services to citizens on their schedule and their venue.
6. Improved Customer Service: e-Governance allows re-deploy resources from back-end processing to the front line of customer service.
7. Increased access to information: e-Governance improves the accessibility of government information to citizens allowing it to become an important resource in making the decisions that affect daily life and so it helps in empowerment of citizens.
Models of e-Governance
e-Governance services can be shared between citizens, businessmen, government and employees. The four models of e-Governance are:
1. Government to Citizens(G2C)
It refers to government services which are shared with the citizens. This model strengthens the bond between the government and the citizens. E.g:
- Payment of online bills such as electricity, water, telephone bills, etc.
- Online registration of applications
- Online copies of land records
- Online filing of complaints
- Example:- Bhoomi in Karnataka, FRIENDS in Kerala, Gyandoot in MP
2. Government to Government(G2G)
It refers to the services which are shared between the governments. There is lots of information that needs to be shared between various government agencies, departments and organizations. These types of services or information include:
- Example:- Khajane Project and Smart Govt (Andhra)
3. Government to Businessmen(G2B)
The objective is to cut red tape, save time, and reduce operational cost. Types of information shared through this model includes:
- Collection of taxes
- Rejection and approval of patents
- Payment of all kinds of bills and penalties
- Example:- E-Procurement of Andhra,MCA21, SWIFT Initiative
4. Government to Employees(G2E)
This model increases the transparency between government and its employees and thus strengthens the relationship between them. It helps in sharing information such as:
- All kinds of data submission ( such as employees’ record, attendance record, etc.) from various government offices
- Rules & regulations and information for employees can be shared
- Employees can check their payment and working record
- Example:- Performance Management System
e-Governance Initiatives in India
Digital India programme: It was launched in 2015.
- Vision Areas:
- Digital infrastructure as Utility to Every Citizen.
- Governance and services on demand.
- Digital empowerment of citizens.
NeGP ( National e-Governance Action Plan )
e-Kranti ( Electronic Delivery of Services )
2. Its Vision is Transforming e- Governance for Transforming Governance
3.Vision of “Transforming e-Governance for Transforming Governance”. There are 44 Mission Mode Projects
- PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation)
4. It is an online platform which enables the Prime Minister to discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground-level situation.
5. The three objectives of PRAGATI are:
- Grievance Redressal
- Programme Implementation
- Project Monitoring
6. It is a robust system for bringing e-transparency and e-accountability with real-time presence and exchange among the key stakeholders.
7. It is an innovative project in e-governance and good governance.
Core Principles required for the success of e-Governance
1. Clarity of Purpose: e-Governance should not be taken up merely to demonstrate the capability of an existing technology, but the technology should be adopted to solve an existing problem.
2. Environment Building: Implementing e-Governance would require political support at all levels. Government personnel would have to be incentivised to change old habits and acquire new skills. In the public, awareness needs to be created.
3. Monitoring and Evaluation: Close monitoring of e-Governance projects is necessary in both the pilot phase as well as during the actual working of the up-scaled project.
4. Developing Secure, Fail-safe Systems and Disaster Recovery Systems
○ As governments move toward providing the full range of government services online with the capability to conduct sensitive transactions, it needs to be ensured that these transactions are secure and the privacy of citizens is not compromised.
5. Allowing for Horizontal Mobility: To make e-Governance more cost effective and successful, successes need to be adopted across States and organizations thereby minimizing costly repetitions and in many cases failures.
6. Development of Local Language Interfaces: As India is a multilingual society, e-Governance initiatives need to provide citizen interfaces in the respective local language.
Challenges of e-governance
1. Environmental & Social Challenges:
- Non-Local Language: e-governance applications are written in English which may not be understandable to many people.
- Low IT Literacy: Most of the people are not aware about its usage, for example- senior citizens.
- User Friendliness of Government Websites: Users of applications are often non-expert users who may not know the correct usage of the application.
- Digital Divide: The overall penetration is still just about 30 percent of the population. Only 21 percent of women in India are mobile internet users, while 42 per cent of men have access.
- Resistance to Change: hesitation occurs on the part of the constituents in moving from a paper-based to a web-based system to interact with the government.
2. Economic Challenges
- Cost: Hefty amount of money is involved in implementation, operational and evolutionary maintenance tasks.
- Maintenance of electronic devices: It becomes a challenging task to update the applications at such pace.
3. Technical Challenges
- Interoperability: A major design issue is how the various islands of automation will be brought together and built into one is another key issue of e-Governance.
- Multimodal Interaction: It is a challenge sometimes to use the same applications on different devices.
- Privacy and Security: It is a critical obstacle in implementing e-governance.
- Lack of Human Resources: There is a lack of expertise in the field to look after e-governance projects.
Recommendations by 2nd ARC on e-Governance
1. Identification of e-Governance Projects and Prioritisation: The basic approach in case of e-Governance projects should be to focus on ‘KISS’: ‘Keep it Small and Simple’ principle.
2. Business Process Reengineering: Governmental reforms, processes and structures should be re-designed to make them adaptable to e-governance backed by procedural, institutional and legal changes.
3. Building a Congenial Environment
This should be achieved by:
- Creating and displaying a will to change within the government
- Providing political support at the highest level
- Incentivising e-governance
- Creating awareness in the public with a view to generating a demand for change
4. Capacity Building and Creating Awareness: There should be focus on both organizational capacity building as well as upgradation of professional and skills of individuals associated with the implementation of e-governance projects.
5. 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.
6. Public-Private Partnership (PPP): Financial and managerial resources are critically required for successful implementation and more so, the sustainability of e-Governance initiatives.
7. Knowledge Management: Union and state governments should take proactive measures for establishing Knowledge Management systems as a pivotal step for administrative reforms in general and e-governance in particular.
● M-governance is a sub-domain of e-governance. It ensures that electronic services are available to
people via mobile technologies using devices such as mobile phones.
● The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology developed and notified the framework for Mobile Governance in February, 2012.
Challenges of m-Governance
1. Technical Illiteracy: There is a general lack of digital literacy among the masses.
2. Language Barrier: The dominance of English on the mobile constrains the access of non- English- speaking population.
3. Unawareness: The administrative structure is not geared for maintaining, storing and retrieving the governance information through mobile technology.
4.Operational Reluctance: Traditionally the government servants have derived their sustenance from the fact that they are important repositories of government data.
● A model of governance which uses the social media site for outreach.
● Under this, citizens facing health, social or civic issues post their concern on microblogging sites and tag officials.
● The @KTRoffice handle in Telangana handles all these governance issues.
● Sushma Swaraj, former external minister used twitter to address issues of NRIs.
● Indian Railways proactively using twitter to address citizens grievances in real-time.
● The method was seen to be effective during the 1st and the 2nd wave of Covid, as the state government could reach out to those sending SOS due to migrant and food crises in the state.