e-Governance scenario in India is passing through interesting times. There is keen interest in this segment emerging from several quarters. At one level, since the Department of Information Technology has taken a lead in developing the National e-Governance Plan. This mammoth plan both in scope, money and promised deliverables is catching the imagination of the top echelons of the government. This is good news. The other good news is that many other actors are coming up with innovative plans on their own and this is unfolding the development of a whole new set of innovative ways to reduce the distance between the government and the citizens.
Mission 2007, inspired by the vision of Professor M S Swaminathan, which envisages the deployment of a knowledge centre in every village of the country by the year 2007, is inspiring many entrepreneurs and NGOs to take a leadership in this area. The West Bengal chapter of the Mission is being launched in the first week of September and there are indications that several other initiatives in this regard in various states are on the anvil.
The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has already announced a grand plan for e-panchayat, the first stage of rolling out of which has already started happening in some states. This seems to be a good sign, since inclusion of Gram Sabhas, which forms the heart of rural society of the country, is of utmost importance for e-Governance to happen at the grass root levels. The cover story of this issue focuses on this subject.
There is also some good news coming up from the Municipal sector. With the exponential growth of urban population, municipalities are not able to cope up with the pressure of delivering citizen services as efficiently as they would like to. The e-Government initiatives in this sector are critical, to say the least, and it is heartening to note that many municipalities are taking steps in this direction. The Ministry of Urban Development is developing a mega plan for e-Government in the Municipal sector, with help of several international organizations.
In the backdrop of all these progress, several other initiatives are also unfolding. The effort of egov magazine and the event we are organizing – ‘Conflux2005: The e-Government conference’ would help all these initiatives to come on a single platform, share knowledge and build partnerships.
Hope you enjoy reading this issue and see you at Conflux2005!