Sunday, 10 June 2012

A GLIMPSE OF E-GOVERNANCE FOR DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA


Anti-poverty programs of government have multi-dimensional benefits. Esther Duflo, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for her data-driven analysis of poverty argued that the effects of some anti-poverty programmes go beyond the direct impact of the resources they provide. These programmes also make it possible for the very poor to hope for more than mere survival. (published in 'The Economist' on May 12th 2012 under Free Exchange). This shows how welfare schemes help in creation of positive attitude to utilize the improving socio-economic environment, eventually accelerating the entire development process.

Ensuring that benefits reach to intended group of people is difficult, while implementing welfare programs targeted at poor. It is getting wide acceptance that ICT can reduce poverty by improving poor people's access to information, education, health, government and financial services. ICT also helps in breaking the cycle of disadvantaged (say by connecting small farmers and artisans to markets or by reducing information asymmetry across different classes in society). Moreover, ICT contributes to efficient management of efforts of government targeted at welfare of general public and also at eradication of poverty. Therefore, establishment of E Government is being seen as a means to improve implementation of welfare schemes not only by increasing tractability of allocated funds in different programs till grass root level, but also in improving functioning of government to make it more agile, sensible, transparent and accountable to its citizens.   

In the global sphere, in E Governance Development Index (United Nations e-Government Survey 2012) India is ranked at 125th position. Findings of the survey report suggests that the steady improvement in all the indicators of the e-Government Development Index has led to a world average of 0.4877 as compared to 0.4406 in 2010. This reflects that countries in general have improved their online service delivery to cater to citizens needs. Despite progress there remains an imbalance in digital divide between developed and developing world, especially in Africa. The report has highlighted that there is an increasing gap between e-service availability and usage (mentioned in Chapter 6 – Expanding Usage to Realize the full Benefits of e-Government). The above survey also found that many member states are moving from decentralized single-purpose organizational model, to an integrated unified whole-of-government model, contributing to efficiency and effectiveness.

In India, implementation of E Government is being carried out with a strong intent to use ICT as a means to serve the citizens in a better way. NeGP (National eGovernance Plan) has been designed in a systematic way to create a suitable environment, where electronic delivery of government services can take place across the country, in a seamless manner. It is widely being expected that implementation of e Governance will usher a new era in Indian public administration which would empower citizens, bring good governance in practice and be instrumental in living up to the public expectations on reforms being implemented through Right Based Approach (Right to Information, Right to Education, etc).  

NeGP comprises of 27 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) encompassing 9 Central MMPs, 11 State MMPs and 7 Integrated MMPs. As of date, all Central MMPs have crossed the stage of conceptualization and moved to design-and-development and implementation stages, schemes having been approved for 8 of the 9 MMPs. All Integrated MMPs have crossed the stage of conceptualization, schemes having been approved for 6 out of the 7 MMPs. With respect to State MMPs, schemes for 5 MMPs have been approved and scheme preparation for 3 out of remaining 6 MMPs is in advanced stage. (source: http://www.indiaegov.org/negp.html)

However, going ahead with e Governance initiatives is not an easy task. It needs tremendous efforts to change the government culture and government routines evolved and stabilized long back in history and being practiced over decades. This is evident from the following facts mentioned in report published by Grant Thornton (Project Management in e-Governance – Issues and Challenges in Navigating to New Normal, September 2011):-

a)     It is time to reflect and debate on ‘Strategic Shifts’ that need to be institutionalized in the e-Government ecosystem for the next wave of e-Government Reforms contemplated by Government agencies such that the distant dream of e-Government becoming the ‘new normal’ for government in its ‘public service delivery’ is realized.  

b)    Only 15% of e Governance projects succeed (with all stakeholders benefited and with no adverse results). 

Major challenges in execution of e-Government Projects in India are listed as under:-

a.    Lack of Citizen Centricity and Service Orientation in Public Service Delivery

b.    High Resistance to Change

c.    Problem of establishing Person Identities

d.    Lack of Process Orientation

e.    Lack of Integrated Services

f.     Poor Information Management, Project Management in Government Offices

g.    Poor Understanding of Technology within Government

h.    Poor Capabilities of Human Resources within Government

i.      Poor Computer Awareness in rural areas

j.      Inflexible Inter-department communication

k.    Legal Issues in Government Process Re-engineering

l.      Huge Population with Cultural Diversity and Different Languages

m.   Lack of Continuous Power Supply / Internet Connectivity in remote areas

n.    Implementation is required in areas of difficult Geographical Terrains



National eGovernance Plan (NeGP) seems to be going ahead with following strategy:-

a.    Capacity Building in Government Organizations (Develop Capability to scale up and meet the demands of quality and volume in implementation of eGovernment)

b.    Top-Down Approach for increasing Supply of Services (Institutionalize eGovernment by making initiatives driven by department leadership)

c.    Bottom-Up Approach for increasing Demand of Services (Generating Awareness at Grass-Root Level to take eGovernment at the centre of Political Spectrum)

d.    Well directed Programs for step-wise evolution of e Government Platform (interlinked systems of departments, which are seamlessly working to present a single view of government to its citizens)

e.    Impact Analysis and Assessment of e Government Projects (Feedback mechanism to assess success of projects on intended objectives to do performance reporting on tax-payer funded e Governance investments)


REEFERENCES:-
Please refer to REFERENCES section given in the blog ‘ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA’



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