We all vividly remember the dot com bubble. It all started around 1999 when the hype around the Internet started. We saw mushrooming of the web portals and their vigorous marketing campaigns, which took the media by storm. We reached a stage when one started feeling that if you are not dot com you are actually dot out. Most of these portals were running without any business model and without concrete revenue plans. Then we saw the bubble burst in 2001. The venture capitalists lost lot of money and many people lost the faith in the Internet economy.
It was around the same time that many multilateral and bilateral agencies started thinking about using the Internet for development. One saw the formation of the DOT alliance and the UN ICT Task force. Soon arrived the World Summit of Information Society (WSIS) in 2003, where Internet for governance emerged as a key agenda.
Now, we are at a stage when we are seeing the money in IT in the government. There is a lot excitement around the USD 500 million National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) which is in the process of rolled out. The government has also shown commitment towards the ‘Mission 2007’ which aims towards deploying a knowledge centre in each village of the country, 650,000 in all. And, we are also hearing about the e-Panchayat, in which around 240,000 village government organisations (Gram Sabhas) in the country will be computerised. And there are many more initiatives being planned by several different federal and state governments..
The question is: will the money invested here is going to give the returns we are vouching for? How? When? Where?
Lets hope we are not going to remember 2006 as a year of .gov burst!
This time the money going is yours!