Happiness of citizens is the foremost objective of a welfare state. It is the fulcrum on which rests its other goals. Driving its fulfilment calls for good governance that has such sacrosanct elements as adherence to rule of law, participatory decision-making, equity, inclusiveness, responsiveness, transparency and accountability. Technology is an enabler for good governance and is an empowering tool for the citizen and an accountability medium for the government, highlights Sarvesh Kaushal IAS, Former Chief Secretary Punjab & Presently Special Chief Secretary cum Director General, Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, Punjab, Chandigarh.
Dramatic developments in the IT sector have transformed the society. It has created an ecosystem for the Government to tap technology-enabled solutions for deployment in the area of governance for the benefit of the common man. Information Technology opens up tremendous opportunities to provide basic government services to a much broader segment of the population at the optimal quality, time, place and cost.
An important step for good governance is simplification of procedures and processes in the Government so as to make the entire system transparent and faster.
The push towards self-certification in place of affidavits and attestations is another indicator of the relationship of trust between the citizens and the Government. Punjab State was awarded with Prime Minister Award in public administration for its initiative on abolition of affidavits. Now, this initiative has been replicated by almost all the Ministries in Government of India and other States.
Punjab State derives its e-Governance mission from Digital India programme launched by Prime Minister of India which shall ensure that government services are available to citizens electronically. It would also bring in greater accountability through mandated delivery of government’s services electronically. Punjab State has been using ICT as an effective tool towards good governance and Punjab is a frontline State in the country for implementation of eGovernance projects.
Our e-District project which is the backbone of e-Governance in the State has been rated No.1 in the country consistently by Ministry of Information and Technology (IT), Government of India.
The e-Government strategy for the State consists of a portfolio of ICT applications that will electronically deliver services of the highest quality to citizens (G2C), businesses (G2B), government functionaries (G2G) and government employees (G2E).
The State Government is committed to provide transparent and effective governance to the citizens of the State. The common man is the focus of our e-Governance programmes and schemes. State of Punjab has established State of Art single window front-end delivery channels like Sewa Kendras, Fard Kendras (Land Records), Saanjh Kendras (Police services) which have been instrumental in providing across the counter citizen services. Citizens have been immensely benefitted with the setting up of these centers as they are able to get services of various departments from these single-window centers.
Punjab has implemented many e-Governance programmes like backend computerisation of various departments, online service delivery using State Portal and State Service Delivery Gateway, e-Sarkar, e-District, etc. which have improved the functioning of the government to provide all services in an efficient and hassle-free manner and identified services on an online basis.
I am happy that Elets magazine, which is pioneer in e-Governance publications, is coming up with its 150th edition and I wish them best of luck to continue working in areas of e-Governance and enlighten the readers with their best of content in e-Governance.