e-Governance: “e” means electronic, Governance means the process of governing people.
According to World Bank, E-governance is the “use by government agencies of information technologies (such as Wide Area Networks, the Internet, and mobile computing) that have the ability to transform relations with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government.”
According to the Ministry of Information and Technology, e-governance implies not merely computerisation of standalone back-office operations but also fundamental changes in government operations; and a new set of responsibilities for the legislature, executive, judiciary and citizens.
Simply, e-Governance means the application of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) to the processes of government functioning so as to achieve SMART governance-
Simple- simplification of rules, regulations and processes of government through the use of ICTs, thereby providing for a citizen-friendly government
Moral- implying the emergence of a completely new system of ethical values in the political as well as administrative machinery. For example, MyGov portal for information about Organisation structure and Function. PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation) platform for grievance redressal.
Technological interventions improve the efficiency of anti-corruption agencies, police, judiciary, etc. For example,
- Installation of CC TVs will help nab the real culprits
- Crime Management System will facilitate communication between different police stations
Accountable- facilitating design, development and implementation of effective Management Information System (MIS) and performance measurement mechanisms and thereby ensuring accountability of public service functionaries.
Responsive- streamlining the processes to speed up service delivery and make the system more responsive.
Transparent- bringing information hitherto confined in the government documents to the public domain and making processes and functions transparent, which in turn would bring equity and rule of law in responses of the administrative agencies.
Types of e-Governance
Application of e-Governance in the delivery of services or transactions between different stakeholders includes:
- G2G: Government to Government
- G2C: Government to Citizen
- G2E: Government to Employees
- G2B: Government to Business
APPLICATIONS: It can be witnessed in two major headings.
- Administrative Development
Bringing reforms in procedural details and restructuring of systems and processes of government organisations. The basic objective of these reforms is to enhance the capacities of the systems. These include:
- Automation of Administrative Processes: Computerisation of Administrative offices, which are connected through a network.
- Reduction of Paper Work: Communication and storage of information through electronic route.
- Quality of services improves with greater accountability, responsiveness and sensitivity.
- Monitoring and online redressal of grievances
- Elimination of Hierarchy in government offices, which reduced procedural delays (redtapism)
- Bureaucratic Pathology- It means bureaucratic apathy or indifference towards common man. With the application of e-governance, public actions coming under public glare would certainly induce norms and values of accountability, openness, integrity, fairness, equity, responsibility and justice in the administrative culture.
- Effective Service Delivery
E-governance ushered in the efficient and effective delivery of services:
- Transparency in administration by dissemination and publication of information on the websites for easy access to citizens.
- Economic Empowerment: Provision of information regarding markets, products, agriculture, health, education, weather, etc. had furthered rural development and also reduced the transaction costs.
- Social Empowerment: e-governance reduces discriminatory treatment in the service delivery process. Access to information empowers citizens. Empowered citizens can participate and voice their concerns, that can be factored in the development process i.e. programme or project formulation, implementation, monitoring and service delivery.
- Management Information systems: The MIS facilitates the decision-making process in the organisation. It is an organised approach of collecting, processing, storing and disseminating data to carry out management functions.
Prof. Dr Arie Halachmi in his paper, ‘E-Government Theory and Practice: The Evidence from Tennessee (USA),’ has given five important models of e-governance that can be used as a guide in designing e-government initiatives depending on the local situation and governance activities that are expected to be performed. These models are:
- The Broadcasting Model: Dissemination of useful governance information, i.e. placing organisational information in public domain/website. The effectiveness of the model depends on informed citizenry.
- The Critical Flow Model: Placing critical information to its strategic user group located anywhere.
- The Comparative Analysis Model: This model is best for developing countries for empowering people. It assimilates best practices in the areas of governance. Its effectiveness depends on the infinite capacity of digital networks to collect and store diverse information and retrieve and transmit it instantly across all geographical and hierarchal barriers.
- The E-Advocacy/Mobilisation and Lobbying Model: This model based on real-world processes by adding the opinions and concerns expressed by virtual communities. This model helps the civil society to impact on global decision-making processes.
- The Interactive-Service Model: This model enables the direct participation of individuals in governance processes and brings in greater objectivity and transparency in decision-making processes.
The success, limitations and potential of e-governance will be discussed in e-governance part-2.
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