E Governance: Objectives, Benefits, E Governance UPSC Study Notes

By K Balaji|Updated : June 9th, 2022

E governance is the usage of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) measures in the governance mechanism to ensure better efficiency, transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of public services. The “e” in e governance stands for ‘electronic’. It allows for the seamless transfer of information between government agencies at the National, State, and Municipal levels for the last-mile connectivity of public services. The e governance can also be defined as the application of communication and information technology for providing government services, exchange of information, transactions, and integration of previously existing services and information portals.

E governance is an important topic for the UPSC exam governance segment. In this article, you can read all about electronic governance, its objectives, pillars, initiatives taken for electronic Governance in India, its advantages and disadvantages, challenges and outcomes of e Governance in India, and lastly, what is the future of electronic governance. Along with it, we will be discussing the digital India concept, Various Initiatives Under Digital India, what is E-Kranti, etc

Table of Content

What is e Governance?

"e governance" can be defined as the application of information and communication technology (ICT) for providing government services, exchange of information, transactions, and integration of previously existing services and information portals. The main reason for opting for e governance was that governance per se had become very complex and there was an increase in citizens’ expectations from the government.

Electronic Governance in India

In India, the main thrust for e Governance was provided by the launching of NICNET in 1987 – the national satellite-based computer network. This was followed by the launch of the District Information System of the National Informatics Centre (DISNIC) program to computerize all district offices in the country for which free hardware and software were offered to the State Governments. NICNET was extended via the State capitals to all district headquarters by 1990.

E governance UPSC Questions

The topic of e governance is covered under both, UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains General Studies II paper. Various flagship programs of the government such as Digital India are often in news, making this article very important for the Current Affairs/contemporary aspects of the UPSC Exam. Numerous questions are asked from these topics, the same are illustrated herein.

  1. Q. Which of the following is/are the aim/aims of the "Digital India" Plan of the Government of India?
  1. Formation of India's own Internet companies like China did.
  2. Establish a policy framework to encourage overseas multinational corporations that collect Big Data to build their large data centers within our national geographical boundaries.
  3. Connect many of our villages to the Internet and bring Wi-Fi to many of our schools, public places, and major tourist spots.

Select the correct answer using the code given below

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: Option C

e Governance UPSC Notes PDF

E governance, meaning ‘electronic governance’ is using information and communication technologies (ICTs) (such as Wide Area Networks, the Internet, and mobile computing) at various levels of the government and the public sector and beyond, for the purpose of enhancing governance.

To have the best UPSC Preparation Strategy, one needs to cover all the essential topics mentioned in the UPSC Syllabus. Current Affairs are also equally important. E governance is a very important topic from the UPSC Exam point of view.

Download e Governance UPSC Notes

e Governance: Types of Government Interaction

The Government interactions for Electronic Governance are embarked on various levels. There are four types of government interaction, G2C, G2E, G2B, G2G, all the four interactions are as listed herewith.

  • G2C (Government To Citizen): G2C is the transaction between the government and citizens. It includes basic citizen services such as registration of birth and death, consolidation of land registry and ownership, and registration of biometric details. For instance, the National Portal of India, Passport Seva, mSarathi, etc.
  • G2E (Government To Employee): G2E is the transaction between the government and the employee. It includes online conferences for employees, online training, and a departmental grievance forum. For example e-training for employees on www.egovonline.net, Mission Karmyogi, etc.
  • G2B (Government To Business): G2B is the transaction between government and business. It includes dissemination of policies, memos, etc.; business information such as application forms, renewing licenses, registration; Startup India Portal, etc.
  • G2G (Government To Government): G2G is the transaction between the central/national and local governments, and between government departments and agencies and organizations. It includes records by the state government, welfare schemes, plans, initiatives, and the marketplace of inter-departmental goods. For example Government e-Marketplace.

Importance of e Governance

E governance is a crucial set-up in the 21st Century due to multifarious reasons. The importance of electronic governance will reiterate the major advantages and contribute substantially to the welfare of society and the ecosystem.

  • Normal governance is costly, expensive, and environmentally unsustainable. However, e governance has reduced the overall carbon footprint of paper and reduced the transportation costs of the delivery of essential public services.
  • Electronic governance is more participative and democratic since it ensures strict open-source transparency and accountability by allowing citizens to register their grievances seamlessly and rate government services. It empowers people to gather information regarding any department of government and get involved in the process of decision-making. For example, posting grievances on the CM Portal allows people to ensure public services are delivered without any unnecessary delay.
  • E governance also ensures better compliance with the law since it conveniences the rules and regulations. It is easier to upload a picture online and mail the document than to visit the nearest government department and get the application form attested. Hence, electronic governance is a revolutionary means to enhance governmental service delivery, simplify compliance with governmental laws for citizens, and improve citizen engagement and trust in the public, thereby decreasing fraud and improving cost efficiency for the government.

Objectives Of Electronic Governance

The prime objectives of e governance have been listed here, get in touch with the aims of electronic governance. It will widen the scope of emanating knowledge and uplift the efficiency of work. Take a look at other objectives of this initiative.

  • Improvement in service delivery to citizens.
  • Ease in providing information.
  • Increase efficiency in working between states or between center and state.
  • Improve interaction with businesses and different industries.
  • Bringing transparency and accountability to government matters.

e Governance in India: Various Government Initiatives

The penetration of the internet, and telecommunication services in India has increased. Government is also very optimistic about the future of E governance in India, and to make it a success, it has launched various initiatives.

Digital India

Digital India is an umbrella program that covers multiple Government Ministries and Departments. It weaves together a large number of ideas and thoughts into a single, comprehensive vision so that each of them can be implemented as part of a larger goal.

It aims to provide the much-needed thrust to the nine pillars of growth areas, namely Broadband Highways, Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity, Public Internet Access Programme, e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology, e-Kranti - Electronic Delivery of Services, Information for All, Electronics Manufacturing, IT for Jobs and Early Harvest Programmes. The important initiatives under Digital India include:

  • DigiLockers
  • E-Health Campaigns
  • E-Education Campaigns
  • E-Kranti (Electronic Delivery of Services)
  • BHIM – UPI Portal
  • E-Hospitals

There are various e governance initiatives launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology under the Digital India Initiative such as:

  • Providing free WIFI to all secondary and higher secondary government schools.
  • Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan aims to spread digital literacy in rural India.
  • Justice delivery through e-Courts, e-Police, e-Jails, and e-Prosecution.
  • National GIS Mission Mode Project-based spatial planning for design and development.
  • Establishing National Cyber Security Co-ordination Centre to ensure a safe and secure cyber-space within the country.
  • Launching MyGov to more participative citizen-centric governance.
  • Launching DigiLocker for a repository of documents that can be accessed on the go.
  • PRAGATI and DARPAN were launched to monitor, analyze, and circumspect the performance of State departments in ensuring the completion of projects on time.
  • The National Centre of Geo-informatics (NCoG) was launched through Geographic Information System (GIS) platform for sharing, collaboration, location-based analytics, and decision support systems for Departments.

e-Kranti – Electronic Delivery of Services

e-Kranti is an essential pillar of the Digital India initiative. Considering the critical need for e-Governance, mobile governance, and good governance in the country, the approach and key components of e-Kranti have been approved by the government. The e-Kranti framework addresses the electronic delivery of services through a portfolio of mission-mode projects that cut across several government departments.

e-Courts

It is launched by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, and works in a Mission Mode Project (MMP) that aims at utilizing technology for improved provisioning of judicial services to citizens.

e-District

It is Launched by the Department of Information Technology. It aims at the delivery of high volume, citizen-centric services at the District level such as the issue of birth/death certificates, income and caste certificates, old age and widow pension, etc.

MCA21

The project aims to provide electronic services to the Companies registered under the Companies Act and is launched by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

e-Seva

The e-Seva project has become very popular among the citizens, especially for the payment of utility bills. It is designed to provide ‘Government to Citizen’ and ‘e-Business to Citizen’ services.

Advantages of e Governance

E-governance does not only hold economic potential but social potential as well. It caters to numerous needs and aims to uplift the system and address the various issues to increase the efficiency of work. The well-listed advantages of E governance are-

  • It has increased the scope and extent of the government services such as registration of personal information such as biometric registration through common Seva Kendra.
  • It has enhanced transparency and accountability in public administration. All official laws, legislation, information, and statistics are posted online, ensuring a high level of transparency and assisting taxpayers in learning about the legalities and rules.
  • Accountability will be maintained through proper archiving and recording of each transaction, which will aid the government and taxpayers in holding each other accountable in the event of wrongdoings or difficulties.
  • Improved service delivery in the form of better access to information and quality services to citizens.
  • The rapid growth of communications technology and its adoption in governance would support bringing government machinery to the doorsteps of the citizens.
  • It is environmentally more sustainable and optimizes the paper-based system which will help in less usage of paper, it will help in saving time, money, and the environment.

Disadvantages of e Governance

Along with numerous advantages, it also carries various disadvantages that have been listed here. The digital illiteracy of the population and the associated threats related to it is one of the major disadvantages of e governance that can be amended by spreading awareness. You can get in touch with the numerous disadvantages enlisted here.

  • E governance measures have led to a loss of interpersonal communications which are considered vital in developing trust.
  • There are various logistical difficulties and a lack of technical know-how in maintaining e-governance. This also puts a burden on the digital infrastructure and even occasional hardware failure, power outage, slow or no connectivity, etc. will stop the delivery of public service completely.
  • It has been observed that there is over 85 per cent digital illiteracy present across India. This makes the fulfilment of the scope of e governance measures more difficult. Also, it makes the citizens vulnerable to attacks of phishing and hacking of their sensitive personal data.
  • Various leakages of personal data have been reported. The instances of cyber-crime have increased multi-fold as well. This dents the intention to accord maximum governance through electronic means.
  • Enabling the digitization of age-old records of land and property is a herculean task and government officials are also not staffed suitably for the same.
  • Infrastructure investments in computer systems and anti-malware software to protect the servers are also low in India. With the introduction of the Internet of Things, the Smart City Model, more investment is required for the same.

E-Governance: Challenges

There are large numbers of potential barriers to the implementation of e Governance. We need methodical strategies and plans of action for catering to these challenges and implementing the e governance at various levels.

  • Lack of Infrastructure facilities as basic as electricity, internet, etc.
  • E governance is a costly measure and would require huge amounts of public money.
  • Security standards and safeguarding data are major concerns.
  • There is a huge disparity between users and non-users of government services.
  • Unequal distribution and use of services due to a diverse population.

Future of E governance

e-Governance is getting momentum in India, but public awareness and the digital divide are important issues to be addressed. The future of e Governance can be viewed as:

  • With the rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, the proliferation of Digital Platforms and Digital Economy will propel a deeper need for e governance in India
  • In order to build Digital Trust- Transparency, Security, and Privacy, there is a need to protect the personal data of the citizens.
  • All of the benefits of e governance can be reaped by ensuring skilling and capacity building of the citizens through digital literacy camps, use of communication media, and certification course.
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FAQs on E Governance

  • E-governance is the usage of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) measures in the governance mechanism to ensure better efficiency, transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of the public services.

  • There are four types of e governance models. The Government interactions for electronic governance occurs at various levels, they are as listed herein.

    • G2C (GOVERNMENT TO CITIZEN)
    • G2E (GOVERNMENT TO EMPLOYEE)
    • G2B (GOVERNMENT TO BUSINESS)
    • G2G (GOVERMENT TO GOVERMENT)
  • Good Governance Day is observed in India annually on the twenty-fifth day of December, the birth anniversary of former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Good governance day aims to motivate the youth and students to acknowledge the duties of the government and the ways to fulfil them.

  • The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) along with the Department of Information Technology, in association with one of the state governments, has been organizing the National Conference on e-Governance every year.

    This Conference provides a platform for the senior officers of the Government including IT Secretaries of state governments to discuss, and exchange views and experiences relating to various e-governance initiatives.

  • The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) has been publishing the EGDI and survey report since 2001. EGDI is the weighted average of normalized scores on the three most important dimensions of e-government, namely:

    • The Scope and quality of online services as online Service Index (OSI).
    • The Status of the development of telecommunication infrastructure or Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII).
    • The inherent human capital or the Human Capital Index (HCI).
  • The four pillars of E-Governance are Connectivity, Content, Capacity, and Capital. These four pillars aim to uplift the electronic governance system in India.

  • The Government of India established the Department of Electronics in 1970. The first major step towards e-Governance in India was the establishment of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in 1977.

  • The main stages of electronic governance are as presented here. The stages present the potential and the stages to strengthen electronic governance in India.

    • Publish – Developing nations can start the process of e-governance by publishing government information online, beginning with rules and regulations, documents, and forms.
    • Interact – E-governance has the potential to involve citizens in the governance process by engaging them in interaction with policymakers throughout the policy cycle and at all levels of government. Strengthening civic engagement contributes to building public trust in government.
    • Transact – Governments can create websites that allow users to conduct transactions online. Potential cost savings, accountability through information logs, and productivity improvements will be important drivers.
  • India aims to regulate all digital activity through the Information Technology Act 2000. The Act contains detailed provisions regarding electronic governance.

  • Electronic governance is dealt with under sections 4 to 10A of the IT Act, 2000. Check out the key highlights of e governance.

    • Legal recognition of record (section 4):
    • Legal recognition of electronic signatures ( section 5)
    • Use of electronic records and electronic signatures in government and its agencies (section 6)
    • Delivery of services by the service provider (section 6A) 
    • Retention of electronic records (section 7)
    • Audit of documents etc. Maintained in electronic form (section 7A)
    • Publication of rule, regulation, etc in electronic gazette (section 8)
    • Power to make rules by the central government in respect of electronic signatures (section 10).
  • e Governance UPSC Notes PDF is exceptionally essential to cover different aspects of Electronic governance in India to score well in the exam. You can download the E-governance UPSC Notes PDF from here.

  • There are numerous benefits of e governance, the electronic governance caters to the needs and welfare of the society. The e governance holds economic and social potential.

    1. It has surged the scope of government services.
    2. Increased accountability, and transparency of the public administration.
    3. The less usage of paper will lead to lesser consumption of paper.
    4. It provides better access to quality and reliable information to the society.

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