Beyond what just meets the eyes…

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In India, the central government and state governments have initiated numerous e-Government projects – some of them are quite popular, while there are still others that largely go unnoticed. There is a lot happening at the back-end that can be appropriately treated as among the best practices, and therefore needs to be duly highlighted. In this issue, we present some successful but not so popular e-Government projects considered as best practices. The mining industry is a vital area where e-Government application has been deployed successfully. Indian Mines Safety Information System (IMSIS) has become India’s first regulatory compliance monitoring application showcasing what e-Governance could do for good governance. The case of Indian Railways (IR) has been covered because of the enormity and scale of success it has achieved in implementing e-Governance through its fleet of operations. By establishing a ‘Corporate Wide Information System’ (CWIS) called RAILNET, the IR has achieved a feat enabling it to provide smooth flow of information on demand for administrative purposes to ensure smooth and efficient functioning. Notwithstanding, the IR has undertaken a pioneering work in e-Ticketing. Besides, with its Freight Operations Information System into place, IR has brought a major turnaround in its earnings.

Although, the uptake of e-Government services in the country, in general, has been relatively slow. Some e-Government projects have been successfully implemented, some are still in the pilot stage, while some of them have either been discontinued or in the process of being abandoned due to poor uptake. Nonetheless, there is no gainsaying the fact that whatever is currently deemed as e-Government services in India is in stark contrast to the e-Government services being provided in most developed countries. As such, services like Railways, hotels et al constitute a part of government owing to the Nehruvian socialist ideology in vogue till date, and therefore constitute the core of e-Government services in India.

But, in countries such as the USA, UK etc., this is not the case. Understandably, there is much more beyond than what has been perceived in India till date. There is a dire need to take a holistic view and approach towards what constitutes as e-Government services in India as such. The central government as well as different state governments need to come out of their cocoons, take bold initiatives, widen the ambit, and redefine the very process of e-Government services. At the same time, efforts should be intensified to adopt best e-Government practices and replicate it countrywide to enable Citizen-to-Government (C2G) integration seamlessly. This would truly take the e-Government movement forward in the country, and make India a role model in e-Governance for countries worldwide.

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