Tuesday, 31 March 2015

E-INDIA : INDIA'S MARCH TOWARDS DIGITIZATION AND E-GOVERNANCE

Image Source: www.tribuneindia.com
Imagine a situation maybe around 10 years ago. Let's consider a situation where your passport is about to expire and you need to renew it. The very thought of a renewal procedure is likely to send a shiver down your spine, because you're already thinking long lines for the application form, filling up of long forms, long queues for submission of forms, police verification, and so on. You might curse your fate for having had a passport in the first place.

Fast forward to 2015. Today, all you need to do in order to renew your passport is to log in to the Government of India's passport website and follow a simple set of procedures which includes filling up the application form online, taking a few printouts, setting up a date for submission and then finally going to the passport office for submission without standing in long queues, simply because you are coming by appointment.

This is the power of technology. Technology-driven digitisation has brought the ever-expanding world closer together. It redefined the parameters of  time and distance and enabled expedition of processes that were once long-drawn, time-consuming and vulnerable to red-tape. To put it more precisely, this is the power of E-Governance.

What is E-Governance? Electronic governance or 'E-Governance' is the application of information and communication technology for delivering government services, exchange of information communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between government and its departments, stakeholders in an economy, businesses and citizens.It also facilitates integration between back office processes and interactions within the entire government framework.

The progress of E-Governance has been one of the most striking developments of the web. E-Governance initiatives are not a phenomenon that has suddenly made an appearance. In fact, the seeds for E-Governance were sown during the IT-revolution of the early 90s, that was sparked by our late ex-PM Rajiv Gandhi. E-Governance has come a long way since then.

The National E-Governance Plan (NeGP) was approved in May 2006. It was formulated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) and the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).

The NeGP had certain elements, mentioned as under:-

1) It involved the setting up of common support infrastructure

2) The Plan provided a framework for monitoring and co-ordinating the implementation, along with standards and guidelines, provision of technical support and capacity building

3) The plan facilitated decentralized implementation in spite of centralized initiative

4) The Plan encouraged Public-Private Partnership so as to enlarge the resource pool, without compromising on the security aspects

5) It laid down the requirement of unique identification codes for citizens, businesses and properties, in order to facilitate integration and avoid ambiguity

6) The Plan enabled and promoted a concerted programme approach at the national and state levels

7) It laid down the role of DEITY as a facilitator; and

8) Under the NeGP, various MMPs were to be owned and spearheaded by the concerned line Ministries

The wonderful  thing about E-Governance is that it inherently encourages participation of citizens in the day-to-day functioning of various government departmental machineries. The rollout of citizen services is made possible through the use of the web. Such a system also facilitates transparency and reliable record-keeping.

India has taken significant steps in the area of e-governance, with most states having launched e-service portals. Notwithstanding the fact that constant efforts are directed towards enhancing the IT infrastructure and user-friendliness of government bodies' websites and public service portals, progress has not been at the optimum pace. The new government at the Centre, headed by Shri Narendra Modi, promises to expedite the process of digitization so as to make #DigitalIndia an efficiently-running reality. In fact, digitization is one of the most important factors that will enable Shri Modi's vision of catapulting India from a currently abysmal global position with respect to 'Ease of Doing Business' to a position among the top 50 countries. Accordingly, it becomes imperative to overcome the hurdles affecting the evolution of e-Governance to enable efficient governance & administration.

So let us join the government, Intel, and other stakeholders in bringing the dream of a #DigitalIndia closer to reality, and quickly.



This post is my entry for Indiblogger and Intel's contest on the topic "Digital India"

Visit http://www.intel.in/ for more information on Intel

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