Date: April 26, 2015
NeGP ITact 200
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. This would generally involve the use of ICTs by government agencies for any or all of the following reasons: (a) Exchange of information with citizens, businesses or other government departments (b) Speedier and more efficient delivery of public services (c) Improving internal efficiency (d) Reducing costs / increasing revenue (e) Re-structuring of administrative processes and (f) Improving quality of services.
e-Government is not about ‘e’ but about ‘government’; it is not about computers and websites, but about services to citizens and businesses. e-Government is also not about translating processes; it is about transforming them. e-Government is concerned with the transformation of government, modernisation of government processes and functions and better public service delivery mechanisms through technology so that government can be put on an auto-pilot mode.
The four pillars of e-Government are:
However the penetration of e-governance and the skills required to adapt to e-governance are issues of concern. Further there are issues related to data access and data security with e-governance as it is believed that it has made sensitive government data vulnerable to hackers.
CORE PRINCIPLES OF e-GOVERNANCE
❖ Clarity of Purpose
❖ Environment Building
❖ e-Governance as an Integral Part of Reform in Governance
❖ E-preparedness and Step-wise Approach
❖ Disciplined way of working
❖ Monitoring and Evaluation
❖ Developing Secure, Fail-safe Systems and Disaster Recovery Systems
❖ Development of Local Language Interfaces
❖ e-Governance - a Continuing Process
Scope of E-Governance:
While e-governance encompasses a wide range of activities, we can identify three distinct areas. These include-
government-to-government (G to G),
government-to-citizens (G to C), and
government to business (G to B). Each of these represents a different combination of motivating forces.
Government to citizen (G to C) facilitates citizen interaction with government, which is the primary goal of e-governance. This attempts to make transactions, such as payment of taxes, renewing licenses and applying for certain benefits, less time consuming and easy to carry out. Government to citizen initiatives also strive to enhance access to public information through the use of websites and kiosks. Further, one of the main goals of implementing these initiatives has been to create a “single window” where citizens can carry out variety of tasks, especially those that involve multiple government departments, without requiring the citizen to initiate contacts with each government department individually.
E-Government Initiatives in India: An Overview
Firstly the Government approved the National E-Governance Action plan for implementation during the year 2003-2007. The plan was an attempt to lay the foundation and provide impetus for long-term growth of e-governance within the country.
Apart from the action plan, the following measures have also been introduced:
❖ Adoption of “Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 by the Government of India to provide legal framework to facilitate electronic transactions. The major aims of this Act are to: recognize electronic contracts, prevents computer crimes, and make electronic filing possible. The Act came into force on 17 October, 2000.
❖ Establishment of the National Taskforce of Information Technology and Software Development in May 1998.
❖ Creation of Centre for e-governance
❖ Setting up of a High Powered Committee (HPC) with Cabinet Secretary as its Chairman to improve administrative efficiency by using Information Technology in Government.
❖ Designating a Joint Secretary level officer as IT manager in every Ministry/ Department; and
❖ Instituting websites by almost all Ministries and Departments and providing information on aspects such as their objectives, policies and decisions, contact persons, etc.