In India, 2010 was marked by scams, corruption charges in organising the Commonwealth Games, 2G spectrum scam allocation, and the Adarsh Housing Society scam, which are all examples of failed governance. But the contrast to this darkness, kick started with Nitish Kumar, who won a second term in Bihar, illustrating that providing corruption-free governance pays for governments.
The Internet and information and communication technology (ICT) holds the promise to good governance as their use leads to transparency, accountability and a corruption-free governance. The need of the hour is to employ these techniques creatively in unique Indian situations to make inclusive policies efficient and effective. This is what has also been stressed upon by ICT leaders, some of whom we have tried to cover in this Anniversary Special issue of eGov magazine. Inter alia, Unique Identification Programme (UID), a big leap towards improving citizen state interface, has been unanimously endorsed by these thought leaders. As one of them have rightly remarked that the UID programme would lead to tracking and monitoring of social benefits being consumed by a citizen, a family, a community, a state or a country and thus, leakages can be identified or course corrections be applied in time.
ICT can also help in promoting democracy by increasing public participation in governance, creating new opportunities to broaden public awareness about democratic issues and by establishing new opportunities for interaction. With greater public participation in governance, governments will have increasing pressure to provide accountable and equitable governance.
For this to happen, the focus of e-Governance has to progress further from the present task of completion of back-end computerisation of government offices to creating efficiencies and openness in government, so that the government and the public resources could be equitably accessed by all.
With the advent of the New Year, a new hope for making positive changes, that would raise the hope for efficient and transparent governance, with ICT acting as an enabler.
I wish all our readers a very happy 2011 and hope to get your continued support.