In a rapidly evolving socio-economic scenario, it is imperative for governance to move to a participatory and proactive model for better service delivery
Sangeeta Singh, Commissioner & Principal Secretary, Department of Women & Child Welfare, Government of Gujarat
When we talk about e-Governance, we have to see how technology affects our work processes at the bureaucratic level also. In the modern world, one has to have a more holistic approach towards work. In the post Fordist world, High Performance Work Practices (HPWPs), which are new ways of organising work, rewarding performance and involving employees in the decision making process, have been adopted. HPWPs are characteristic of new technologies based on specialised production, outsourcing and buying, and have led to a shift from the command and control-oriented management to participative management. Job design restructuring, job enrichment, job design, job rotation, job enlargement, cross-training, employee involvement in decision making process and other tools are being used to enhance employee productivity.
The changing management philosophy presents a great challenge to governments – that of bringing about a concomitant change in governance paradigm. These challenges can be
broken down into the following categories:
• From vertical to horizontal – restructuring of routines and work processes so that they are less hierarchy-oriented and more result-oriented;
• Improved efficiency in service delivery, enhanced transparency, reduced corruption and increased stakeholder involvement; and
• Participatory e-Governance, both for individuals and communities, making governance more interactive, direct and immediate
Restructuring of government processes is the key challenge that every department is facing internally. The top down approach is being phased out gradually, in that the benefi- ciaries did not have much participation in the planning or structuring the schemes or plans which in turn resulted in the programmes being not-so-effective for the target groups. In such a scenario, ICT is playing a major role as a tool to institutionalize stakeholder participation in the process of governance.
Gujarat can be said to be following the Interactive Participatory Model of governance. SWAGAT and many other projects from the state ensure participation and involvement of public in governance.
The use of public input enables better decision making and provides for more transparency, accountability, responsiveness, and participatory decision making.
ICT in the WCD Department
In the Department of Women and Child Development, a very strong network of anganwadis has been developed. The main focus is to put in place an effective nutrition and surveillance system to address the challenges related to malnutrition and under-nutrition. We are working closely with the eMamta project to realize our objectives. Beneficiary-wise data is available, anganwadi data is being developed. We also have the PDS program where the biometric data of all the family members has been linked to avoid duplication. With the Food Security Bill expected to be enacted soon, and increasing concerns related to malnutrition, better data and better analysis of this data will be needed and we can only meet these challenges through a participatory model. In order to meet challenges, the mode of governance will have to transform from representative to direct and from passive to proactive.