June 2011

Miles to Go for e-Governance

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Ritobaan Roy
Technical Expert, MSME Finance and Development Umbrella Programme, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

The power of media, marketing and   advertisement should be duly utilised to  increase visibility and outreach of e-Governance projects

All is not as well as it seems with the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). Various NeGP  projects are still under implementation and have progressed very slowly from  the year of implementation. State governments are implementing their own  e-Governance projects for certain departments but the status too is dismal in  certain cases.

The reasons are many for this condition but mostly it is lack of IT penetration
and capacity building among the stakeholders. There are large remote pockets  where technology has not seeped in and even where it has proper training is not  there to use it efficiently. The coming years though could see more  adoption of broadband in urban areas; rural areas however still would be a  challenge.

Given the special status of NeGP, one expected faster implementation. Longer  the time to ‘go live’, more difficult is it to contain skepticism about expected  benefits from eGovernance. There could also be resistance to continued funding  of such projects if legislators do not see visible progress.

If we are to  expect radical changes in the pace of implementation in the coming years we  should follow some strict measures like giving more consideration to mobile  technology and shifting towards m-Governance as most users irrespective of  the rural or urban category will access internet on their phones.

A dedicated government task force at operational level that can go from location to location and act as project manager on the government side should be made for all the projects for e-Governance. Certain prominent projects should be selected and deemed ‘critical’ and should go live by December 2012.  These projects should also be under a Ring-fence corpus so that they are  unaffected by changes in government or budget reviews. Also, the power or  media, marketing and advertisement is undermined when it comes to government projects. There are several good schemes up and running about which a major section of the beneficiaries are not aware. Thus, for each of the major projects there should a big launch with proper media promotion which will not only increase its visibility but also enlarge its reach.

“An examination of different areas where ICT impacts the overall framework for governance shows a clear trend towards a more international and a more market-based type of governance” – Morten Falch, Centre for Tele Information, Technical University of Denmark

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