Sunil Kumar Pandey
e-Governance: Empowering Citizens
The last few years have globally witnessed a massive adoption and implementation in information technology and IT enabled services. The confluence of electronics and telecommunications has opened new vistas of transmission, storage and retrieval of information as never before. These developments have contributed significantly in decision-making, in not only businesses, but it is equally important even in public administration. The increasing population and its massive burden on civic amenities and the socio-economic infrastructure is unimaginable. With this transformation, e-Governance initiatives, India have traditionally being confronted with the dual challenges of automating government departments and taking online services to the common citizens.
If we look at the beginning of e-governance, the launch of National Satellite-Based Computer Network (NICENET) in 1987 and subsequent launch of District Information System of the National Informatics Centre (DISNIC) programme to computerize all district offices in the country for which free hardware and software were offered to the State Governments provided the requisite impetus for e-governance. E-governance thereafter developed with the growth of technology. Today, there are a large number of e-Governance initiatives, both at the Union and State levels.
The latest developments in technology, Information Technology in particular, including Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Business Intelligence are helping in creating a reliable eco-system for efficient, intelligent, timely and relevant decision making in a transparent manner. In factElectronic governance or e-governance is exploiting the application of IT for delivering government services, exchange of information, communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems between government to citizen (G2C), government-to-business (G2B), government-to-government (G2G), government-to-employees (G2E) as well as back-office processes and interactions within the entire government framework. Through e-governance, government services are made available to citizens in a convenient, efficient, and transparent manner. The three main target groups that can be distinguished in governance concepts are government, citizens, and businesses/interest groups. In e-governance, there are no distinct boundaries, finance and support.
The relevance of BI Analytics has brought forth a paradigm shift in assimilating and visualizing huge chunks of data in near real-time manner. The pivot of all good decision-making systems is correct, up-to-date and compliant data. Governments are not only looking at the transformation of their own processes and systems to take the benefits to masses in an efficient and transparent manner but also expect improved relations and healthy trade across the world. Development should be transformative and continuously evolving. In true sense it will not be exaggeration to say Data Analytics has the ability to change the color and complexion of the world.However there are number of challenges and areas of concern which need to be dealt consciously and appropriately understood like E-governance should induce up-to-date information, initiate effective interaction, and engage with transparent transactions in compliance with rule of law, thus enabling a sustainable transformation model.
According to a recent report by McKinsey, an average Indian mobile data user currently consumes more than 8 GB of data per month, which exceeds the average in more digitally advanced countries such as China and South Korea. It is expected that India will witness an increase in the number of internet users to 800 million by 2023 driven by the increasing availability and decreasing cost of high-speed connectivity and smartphones. The Government’s Digital India initiative is bringing broadband internet access to 250,000-gram panchayats, or self-governing village councils, to make it easier for millions to connect online. With a strong foundation of digital infrastructure and expanded digital access through Digital India Programme of the Government, India is now poised for the next phase of growth creation of tremendous economic value and empowerment for citizens as new digital applications permeate sector after sector. India can create up to $1 trillion of economic value from the digital economy in 2025, up from around $200 billion currently. Improving the trust between governments and citizens is fundamental to good governance and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is progressively becoming an essential tool for promoting accountability, convenience and transparent governance. Governments around the nation are pushing hard to deploy information and technology in their operations. From utilizing ICT for elections, census, computerizing all the government offices, to digital lockers e-Transportation, e-Health, e-Education and e-Taxation, the new India has paved its way in the realm of e-Governance.
Driven through technology, e-Governance is transforming citizen services by providing access to information, integrating various systems and services between government and citizens, thereby empowering and enhancing citizen’s social, environmental and economic values.
The government has been spearheading radical digitalization to induce economic inclusiveness and social transformation, through initiatives like ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’. India as a result, is gearing up for an era of increased digitalization, heralding the advent of Industry 4.0, powered by new age technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics.
These developments are posing different kind of challenge in terms of framing right kind of policies, intelligent infrastructure, extending the access of digital resources to common people ensuring Availability, Affordability, Accessibility and above all spreading awareness about these facilities, services and their advantages of using.Further, the successful implementation of e-governance has different inherited challenges to build the confidence, trust and acceptability among masses world over. These challenges are arising from administrative, legal, institutional, civic and technological factors. The challenge includes security drawbacks such as spoofing, tampering, repudiation, disclosure, elevation of privilege, denial of service and other cyber crimes. Other sets of problems include implementation parts such as funding, management of change, privacy, authentication, delivery of services, standardization, technology issues and use of local languages.In this discussion attempt is being made to explore and understand the challenges, probable solutions and how we can deal with it.
Sunil Kumar Pandey will be speaking at International Congress on e-Governance 2022 which is scheduled to happen on 11th and 12th August 2022 at Hong Kong, HKSAR.