January 2013

Outcome, Outcome & Outcome

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When it comes to e-Governance, it is the outcomes that matter more than anything else

J Satyanarayana,
Secretary, DeitY, Ministry of Communication and IT, Government of India

At the morning session of the eGov Knowledge Exchange, they had a white board on which the delegates were asked to write a message. When my turn came to write, I wrote spontaneously, “Outcome, Outcome and Outcome”. The point is that the expectations  of the people from the government are very high, and ultimately it is the outcomes that matter. The people in the country have waited  for too long and now they demand results. It is a high- time that we, the government functionaries, produce the results.

e-Governance is a way by which we can try to meet the myriad expectations of the people. The outcome of all governance related  activity may mean different things to different people. It could mean a birth certificate to somebody, it could mean easy access to land  records to somebody else. So we need to have clarity on what impact do we want to have on the society through our efforts and what difference can we make. Once we are clear about this, we will be capable of doing good work.

DietY’s philosophy has been to guide, expedite, facilitate and produce the desired outcome of its e-Goverannce initiatives

While delivering e-Services we need to ask ourselves if the services are simply a case of old wine in new bottle, or are they totally different and transformed services? We need to assess the quantity of services that we are delivering – are we covering the entire set of services and the entire set of target stakeholders that are interested in taking those, are we serving every nook and corner of this  country? Also the quality of services matter. Very often deficiencies raise their heads when we are defining one or more of these three essential requirements of service delivery system. We know what to do and also know how to do things better, but then how do we implement that idea? Ultimately it boils down to “how”? Then comes the stage for planning where you have to re-engineer or where  there is no process in place and you may have to invent or design from a clean slate perspective. You have to entrust it to an agency which is competent enough and then monitor the project to ensure its timely implementation. These are fairly simple or primary lessons in management but I am putting it in perspective of e-Governance.

We also need to have an enabling environment. In a country as large as India with 35 states and union territories, certain programmes are being conceptualised, funded, promoted, supported by the central government and several others are being taken at state levels – it’s not a trivial task. Once you have the right environment it will enable quick and elegant transformation of that idea into reality. So it will have several other components – clear implementation guidelines whether from the Centre or from the States. We also need to have flexibility at various levels of legal frameworks so that the new system is legally sustainable. The last but not the least, it is the leadership which is key to the success of any project. The leader is the one whose mind is always occupied with the outcome. His eyes are always glued to that particular outcome. He does the consultations, but at the end of the day he has his clarity and he doesn’t deviate from the goal.

While developing its e-Goverannce initiatives, DietY’s philosophy has been to guide, to expedite, to facilitate and to produce the desired outcome. Now a lot of guidelines and frameworks have been put in place. We are also attempting rapid replication, where there is hope for quick success. Why don’t you pick it up and replicate rapidly, so that the outcomes are achieved in much more quicker manner across the country.

I would also like to talk about the e-transaction portal. We have designed it and it is now operational. In e-Governance, the scenario  boils down to e-transactions – how many e-transactions have we done today! So to enable some resonance to happen across the  country, this portal has been created. Any service delivery mechanism, any service delivery project can link to this portal seamlessly through web services and report the kind of transactions on a real-time basis. So when a transaction happens in a remote village somewhere, the next minute it is there on the portal and we are able to view it.

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