The application of information technology and communication for the purpose of governance is commonly known as e-governance. Through e-governance, information can be made distributed to the public in a transparent manner.
What is e-Governance?
Electronic governance or e-governance is adopted by countries across the world. In a fast-growing and demanding economy like India, e-governance has become essential.
The rapid growth of digitalization has led to many governments across the globe to introduce and incorporate technology into governmental processes. Electronic governance or e-governance can be defined as the usage of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) by the government to provide and facilitate government services, exchange of information, communication transactions and integration of various stand-alone systems and services. In other words, it is the use of technology to perform government activities and achieve the objectives of governance.
Through e-governance, government services are made available to citizens and businesses in a convenient, efficient and transparent manner. Examples of e-governance include Digital India initiative, National Portal of India, Prime Minister of India portal, Aadhar, filing and payment of taxes online, digital land management systems, Common Entrance Test etc.
E-governance can take place in four major types of interactions:
- Government to Government (G2G) where information is exchanged within the government i.e. either, between the central government, state government and local governments or between different branches of the same government.
- Government to Citizen (G2C) where the citizens have a platform through which they can interact with the government and get access to the variety of public services offered by the Government.
- Government to Businesses (G2B) where businesses are able to interact with the government seamlessly with respect to the services of the government offered to businesses
- Government to Employees (G2E) where interaction between the government and its employees occurs in an efficient and speedy manner.
The objective of E-governance?
The objectives of e-governance can be stated as follows:
- To support and simplify governance for government, citizens, and businesses.
- To make government administration more transparent and accountable while addressing the society’s needs and expectations through efficient public services and effective interaction between the people, businesses, and government
- To reduce corruption in the government.
- To ensure speedy administration of services and information
- To reduce difficulties for business, provide immediate information and enable digital communication by e-business.
While e-governance provides the advantages of convenience, efficiency and transparency, it also has problems associated with it. They are as follows:
- Lack of computer literacy: India is still a developing country and a vast majority of the citizens lack computer literacy which hinders the effectiveness of e-governance.
- Lack of accessibility to the internet or even computers in some parts of the country is a disadvantage to e-governance.
- E-governance results in a loss of human interaction. As the system becomes more mechanized, lesser interaction takes place among people.
- It gives rise to the risk of personal data theft and leakage.
- E-governance leads to a lax administration. The service provider can easily provide excuses for not providing the service on technical grounds such as “server is down” or “internet is not working” etc.
E-Governance in the Indian Context
E-governance in India is a recently developed concept. 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 was 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.
In 2006, the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) was formulated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances that aims at making all government services accessible to the common man, ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realise the basic needs of the common man.
The NeGP has enabled many e-governance initiatives like:
- Digital India was launched in 2015 to empower the country digitally. Its main components are:
- Developing a secure and stable digital infrastructure
- Delivering government services digitally
- Achieving universal digital literacy
- Aadhar is a unique identification number issued by UIDAI that serves as proof of identity and address on the basis of biometric data. It is being used to provide many benefits to the members of the society. One can e-sign documents using Aadhar.
- myGov.in is a national citizen engagement platform where people can share ideas on and be involved with matters of policy and governance.
- UMANG is a Unified Mobile Application which provides access to central and state government services including Aadhar, Digital Locker, PAN, Employee Provident Fund services etc.
- Digital Locker helps citizens digitally store important documents like mark sheets, PAN, Aadhar, and degree certificates. This reduces the need for physical documents and facilitates easy sharing of documents.
- PayGov facilitates online payments to all public and private banks.
- Mobile Seva aims at providing government services through mobile phones and tablets. The m-App store has over 200 live applications which can be used to access various government services.
- Computerization of Land Records ensures that landowner gets digital and updated copies of documents relating to their property.
In addition to the above, State level e-governance initiatives include:
- E-Seva (Andhra Pradesh) facilitates payment of utility bills, issuance of certificates, licenses and permits.
- Khajane Project (Karnataka) digitalized the treasury system of the state.
- FRIENDS (Kerala) is a single-window facility to pay taxes and other financial dues to the State government.
- Lokvani Project (Uttar Pradesh) is a single-window solution relating to the handling of grievances, land record maintenance and providing a mixture of essential services.
The Indian e-governance portal is https://nceg.gov.in. On this portal, one can get comprehensive information regarding National Conference on E-governance and reports on earlier conferences.
Additionally, the portal provides links to the following important pages:
- Digital India
- National Portal of India: It is developed to provide access to information and services being provided by the government
- PM India Website: provides information relating to the Prime Minister’s Office.
- United Nations e-governance website