2011 will be remembered as the year when led by the youth, citizen power came to the fore, across continents. But what connects the citizens and aids such massive mobilisations? One of the important factors that aided such forceful articulation of the desire for better governance practices is the linkages that forged over Social Media. Innovators behind Facebook and Twitter would never have dreamt that their services could one day become tools for furthering democracy.
India too, saw people coming out with demands for a better polity. Social media and modern tools of communications were put to imaginative use and the demand for change spread like wildfire. Although the Lokpal Bill could not be passed by Parliament, there is no doubt of the impact the movement has had on the nation’s polity. At the same time, while the legislative agenda was overshadowed by the Lokpal debate, a number of landmark Bills are now with Parliament, and some important policies are on the verge of being implemented. The Electronic Delivery of Services Bill 2011, which is presently with the Lok Sabha, could prove to be the tipping point for e-Governance in the country, as it mandates departments to establish specific timelines for online delivery of services. In terms of changing the framework for government-citizen engagement, this law could prove as far-reaching as the landmark Right to Information Act. Similarly, discussions on policies on Electronics, ICT, Telecom and the e-Authentication Framework are well underway and we should see final policies on these sectors being unveiled shortly. As the Approach Paper shows, the Twelfth Five Year Plan would also place renewed emphasis on e-Governance.
The New Year is still young, and youth always inspires hope and optimism. While 2011 was a tumultuous year, it saw the planting of seeds that will bear sweet fruits into the future. The paradigm for governance is witnessing fluid changes, and technology will continue to shape the contours of this dialogue in ways imagined, and unforeseen.
We bid goodbye to 2011 on a high note with the 7th edition of eINDIA, which saw a grand confluence of leaders, thinkers and innovators from governments, industry and academia. eINDIA presented a snapshot of the progress made so far and also offered a peek into the future. The Conclave offered a constructive exchange of ideas that have been chronicled in this New Year issue of eGov.
Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous New Year, we hope the nuggets of wisdom contained in these pages serve as beacons guiding us towards our long-cherished national goal of inclusive growth.