“eGovernment: The New Frontier in Governance”

eGovAuthor: Dinesh Chandra Misra
Publisher: Matrix
Pages: 524
Price: `1195
For any rational government, public welfare must be the key agenda. The government must ensure that the all the benefits reach the needy in a smooth and timely manner. This might sound simple, but in the real world it is anything but simple. A transparent and efficient way of governance has to be developed for making the administration reachable to the people. e-Governance has the ability of brining the government closer to the people. Through the use of new technology it is possible to devise a transparent and efficient system of governance that can be easily accessed by the people. The author of the book under review, Dinesh Chandra Misra, was a former member of the Indian Administrative Service; during his career of more than four decades, he has done commendable work on e-Governance.

Unfortunately his seminal work on e-Governance had to be published posthumously, as he passed away before the editing of the book could be completed. In the preface to the book that he wrote in 2010, Dinesh Chandra Misra says, “The genesis of the book can be traced to my one year assignment in Mauritius under the aegis of Commonwealth Secretariat, London, as an e-Government expert, in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Port Louis. The main task assigned to me was to drive the Chief Information Officer (CIO) concept in various ministries and departments of the Republic of Mauritius.” When he was back to Delhi, his interest in e-Governance concepts continued. He says that he could find only two ways by which he could make meaningful contribution to the field. The first way was by undertaking content creation for e-Governance and by attending the conferences and other events on the subject. The second way of making contribution was by acting as a resource person at national and international conferences and training programmes.

This book can be thought of as a compendium of the lifetime work that the author has done in the area of e-Governance. It is quite pertinent that he begins his work with a chapter titled – “Evolution of e-Governance in India.” In this chapter he makes an interesting observation – “Increasingly many features and processing power are being continuously added to computers, which tends to make them act like human beings.” The author seems to be of the opinion that the computers should not be seen as any kind of imposition on society. Rather they are now evolving to become a part of our life. So it is quite natural to use computing solutions for dealing with governance related activities. It is a natural and perhaps an evolutionary step.

 The book is lucidly written and it is full of graphs and tables to place further emphasis on the points that the author is making. As Francis Bacon had said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” This is the kind of that is meant to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. It will be of special interest to the various stakeholders in e-Governance.