E governance is the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Government services to improve the efficiency of communication and transaction between
- Government to Government ( G2G)
- Government to Business ( G2B)
- and Government to Citizen ( G2C)
Its purpose is to reduce corruption and increase accountability. It also enables a Citizen Centric Administration where citizens can participate effectively.
Indian Government has launched the National e Governance Plan (NeGP) which involves making all Government process backed by a Digital Infrastructure and making them available through special delivery centres. The major roadblock in promoting E-Governance is the availability of Digital Connectivity (ie., Computers connected to internet). This has been made possible through the launch of Digital India program.
The program aims at connecting Rural India with High Speed Internet. The three core areas of the program are
- Creating Digital Infrastructure
- Delivery of services through Digital Infrastructure
- Improving Digital Literacy
The following diagram represents the nine pillars of Digital India
A Case Study: (Source: The Hindu)
A Village named Akodara near Ahmedabad in Gujarat is a fully Digital Village which serves as a model. The village was adopted by ICICI bank where everything from shopping to citizen services are done through digital medium.
So how did they achieve it?
- The help of Local Government is sought
- All citizens were brought initially into the fold of banking and opened their accounts with the local ICICI branch
- The accounts were linked with mobile phones and online banking became possible.
- The accounts are linked to Aadhaar cards to reduce identity fraud and to enable Direct Benefits Transfer.
- The selling of agricultural produce and milk at the local market is made cashless
Another notable achievement of this village is that education in the local schools are provided through internet enabled Audio Visual Guides. Replication of this model all over India can bring about a Digital Revolution.But before that we need to look at some prerequisites that were advantageous to Akodara for achieving this. They were
- The availability of physical connectivity. I.e. the village is well connected to nearby towns and Urban centres through good quality roads.
- The Literacy rate was very high even before the initiative was launched.
Several State Governments have already launched E-Government Services for example e-Seva of Andhra Pradesh is aimed at providing online services and information through its Government departments.
At a Central level the following projects are notable.
Launched by Ministry of Corporate affairs for secured access to all its registries. Previously the ministry faced problems in processing paperwork of corporate entities and with the launch of this project, even foreign companies can get their work done easily with the ministry.
Unique Identification Authority of India Project (UIADI):
It is a central government project which collects the biometric and demographic information of citizens of India and provide them with a 12-digit Unique Identification Number called the Aadhar. In 2016 a separate Aadhar Bill was passed which provided the statutory backing. It is seen as a hallmark in E-Governance as it has the potential to reduce identity frauds and
Direct Benefits Transfer
Government has linked Aadhaar with for providing domestic LPG Gas services and the consumers were asked to buy the cylinders at the prevailing market prices while the subsidy is paid directly to their bank accounts. Economic survey 2015 has found this measure to have reduced corruption by eliminating duplicate beneficiaries. Aadhaar enabled payment systems are used for paying wages in MGNREGA program directly to the bank accounts of workers employed under this scheme.
It was founded for active Citizen Participation in Governance. The users of this website will be able to discuss the policies of the Government and provide their suggestions for improvement.
M-Governance means Mobile Governance. It aims at providing services through mobile phones. In the present day almost every citizen uses a mobile phone and M-Governance aims at utilizing this potential. M-Governance initiatives can be helpful for the following
- Mobile based complaints registering system in Government departments
- Receiving information about Public Distribution System, For Example: An initiative in Tamil Nadu Government for receiving sms alerts about stocks in Fair Price Shops.
- Mobile based Banking by integrating bank accounts with mobile numbers and enable easy transactions. This can improve banking services especially in rural areas where banks are inaccessible.
- With more usage of smartphones several Apps are developed by Government initiatives (like Android Apps) where different services of the Government are made available easily. For Example: MyGov.in, IRCTC Connect, mPassport seva, RTI India