January 2015

Looking Back to Go Forward

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It has been barely seven months that Narendra Modi took over the reins of the government, and lot many things already seem to be happening around. Irrespective of the end result of the efforts of the NDA Government, the sincerity shown by the Prime Minister raises hope that ‘Achhe Din’ are not too far away. Nirmal Anshu Ranjan reports

Looking-Back-to-go-ForwardThe Digital India mission is on a roll — a mission that will change India, a mission that will transform India.What is at the centre of this mission is 125 crore-plus population of the country, and its visionary is none other than Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi himself. Ever since his days in Gujarat as the Chief Minister, Modi has been vocal about the use of technology to change people’s lives. He has always given upper hand to eGovernance to reach out to citizens with government services. And now, as the PM, Modi is trying to replicate the same model to take citizen-centric services to people in a like-never-before manner using ICT tools, once again.

This special issue of eGov magazine, which is in its 10thyear of publication, tries to look back at the journey of PM Modi in the last seven months and how with a missionary’s zeal he is trying to change India through ICT tools-based governance.

Effective Governance

After taking oath as the Prime Minister of India, in his maiden Independence Day speech, Modi had explicitly stated his plan for e-Governance and how it can be leveraged to make governance process easy, efficient, transparent and accountable.Since then, various landmark initiatives have been rolled out by the government.

The first and foremost announcement made in this regard was the launch of “Digital India” campaign. Its objective is to prepare India for a knowledge future and to make technology as the central point to enable changes. The programme stands on nine pillars — Broadband Highways, Universal Access to Phones, Public Internet Access, eGovernance, Electronic Delivery of Services-eKranti, Information for All, Electronic Manufacturing, IT for Jobs and Early Harvest Programme, and the entire programme centres around three key areas: Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen, Governance and Services on Demand, and Digital Empowerment of Citizens.

After taking oath as the PM, in his maiden Independence Day speech, Modi had explicitly stated his plan for e-Governance and how it can be leveraged to make governance process easy, efficient, transparent and accountable

Cashing in on Technology

Experts feel that although in the past, some attention had been paid to the use of ICT and eGovernance for better delivery of government services, this time round, by making it a nationwide,comprehensive programme standing on well-defined nine pillars, the NaMo Government has given a new dimension to the entire mechanism.

The Digital India initiative of PM Modi, they say, has paved the path for participative governance like never before, and it istechnology that will play the enabler yet again. Under his leadership,the government has created a new website — MyGov— and through this the government is continuously taking citizen’s views, suggestions and trying to implement various programmes for overall development of the country. Issuesranging from Smart Cities, Urban Development, Clean Environment,Women’s Safety, Security, etc., are being discussed andworked upon between the government and the nation at largeon this platform. People in the government are claiming that MyGov portal will turn out to be a game-changer in the processof participative governance.

The Digital India initiative of PM Modi, they say, has pavedthe path for participative governance like never before, and it is technology that will play the enabler yet again. Under his leadership,the government has created a new website — MyGov— and through this the government is continuously taking citizen’s views, suggestions and trying to implement various programmes for overall development of the country. Issues ranging from Smart Cities, Urban Development, Clean Environment,Women’s Safety, Security, etc., are being discussed and worked upon between the government and the nation at large on this platform. People in the government are claiming that MyGov portal will turn out to be a game-changer in the process of participative governance.

Banking the Unbanked

The second ambitious programme launched by the new government is “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana”, which aims to achieve comprehensive financial inclusion in the country. The name and logo of the programme was created after taking inputs from citizens of the country through MyGov portal.

Under the programme, an effort will be made to bring the financially excluded sections of the society into the mainstream by ensuring at least one bank account for every household. This will ensure that in the hours of need, they are not turn to traditional moneylenders, whose approach is mostly exploitative. Once in touch with bank, people can go for loans on softer terms. Besides, insurance coverage also brings social security to the dependents’ family

The government is using Social Media platforms extensively to tell people about the benefits of its new initiatives, and the Prime Minister is himself playing an active role through his regular presence on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Not just that, he has also ensured that all ministers and their respective ministries have their own Twitter and Facebook accounts.

For Better Tomorrow

Additionally, the Prime Minister has undertaken some initiatives to improve the overall functioning of the government. One of such steps is making biometric attendance system (BAS) mandatory in all central government offices. This ensures compulsive punctuality for both officials and staff. Also, in line with the Modi Government’s “Swachh Bharat Mission”, all the central government departments have been directed to keep their office premises clean.

Besides, the NaMo Government has also given a call for a “Make in India” campaign. The message is loud and clear – take on the neighbouring Asian giant and make India a manufacturing hub. This will not just bring foreign money to the country, but also generate jobs on a large scale.

For facilitating joining of hands by the domestic as well as global investors, the Government of India has also shown flexibility to offer better incentives to companies, abolish redtapism wherever required, raise proper infrastructure and put in place other desired facilities.

Easier Said Than Done?

Every programme launched by the government has the potential to be a game changer. While talks about such initiatives sound like music to ears, there remains some skepticism about successful implementation of the announced programmes, probably because we Indians are not used to see so many good things happening simultaneously!

However, amid the skepticism, there is also no dearth of optimism. Experts feel that Narendra Modi can and will push all the ministries and departments to see that these campaigns and programmes are taken to their logical conclusion.

Another factor that raises hope and works in favour of the government is the image of the Prime Minister: whatever challenges or problems, Modi has the track record of making things happen. So, it remains to be seen as to when “Achhe Din” actually come.

Till then, eGov magazine wishes the very best to Prime Minister Modi!

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