What is e-Governance?
E-governance is the digital form of governance by taking help from tools like information technology and communication. It is useful for distribution of information among the public in a transparent way. The concept of e-governance is new for developing countries like India where the government is trying to provide and facilitate its services to people. In advanced countries like the US, UK, France, and Germany, such a system is in place for quite some time.
Had you been to any of these countries, you may have seen that people do not visit government offices to get things like Driving License, Passport, Aadhar card, and PAN card like they do in India. Applications for all these documents are accepted and processed in the digital mode only. Once you apply for a particular document, you are assigned a day when you visit the office and show your credential. After verifications are done, the documents are usually issued within 24 hours.
How was Government Services Provided Earlier?
E-governance is a process in which the government uses technology to perform its routine things. Such things were earlier done in a manual way. For example, a few years back when you wanted a driving license, or a ration card, you had to visit the offices of the concerned department and had to fill up the application manually. You were asked for multiple documents that were supposed to be enclosed with your application.
Sometimes, even submitting an application was a big deal as either the documents were not complete or the person who was supposed to accept your application was missing or on leave. And you had no option but to make another visit to the government office. In a few cases, even after the application was duly submitted, the concerned official did not forward it. All this resulted in delay. Therefore, the driving license that should have been issued in two to three weeks took more than three months.
Most of these government offices are den of corruption where clerks and officials deliberately delay application. They had their agents and touts who usually hung around government offices. Their job was to get hold of people who were fed up with the system, and wanted their documents at the earliest. Touts promised guaranteed delivery of documents for which they charged hefty amounts. Actually, these touts were hand in glove with government officials, and worked as their frontmen.
Use of computers in e-governance
today, governments all over the world are using computers to create a better system of effective e-governance. In recent years, computerization, and the availability of internet connectivity, the central and state governments in India have switched to e-governance
in a big way.
Following are some examples of e-governance initiatives in India:
Government to Citizen (G2C)
Railway Inquiry and Reservation System through IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation)
It is a fine example of e-governance. IRCTC has designed and implemented one of the most complex online reservation systems for the benefit of passengers. By using IRCTC website, users can get travel plans, cancellation of tickets and regular updates on SMS and email.
The Passport Seva
Passport Seva through https://www.passportindia.gov.in is another example of e-governance that has transformed passport and related services in India by providing the best experience for Indian citizens. This has enabled the Government of India to deliver Passport Seva in a reliable, convenient and transparent manner and within defined service levels.
Aadhaar is a Unique Identification Number (UIDAI) issued to residents of India. UIDAI (https://uidai.gov.in) maintains a database for residents and other data containing Biometrics demographics In India, various departments of the Central and State Governments are using Aadhar Card to improve citizen services.
In Rajasthan, E-Mitra (http://emitra.rajasthan.gov.in/) is an integrated project to provide services related to various departments of the State Government to the citizens of the State Government through E-Mitra Kiosk in the city and village. It is a very successful project through which government services are being provided at village level.
Besides above mentioned services, e-governance is provided in the following areas:
Public Distribution System (PDS)
Providing services to citizens in local bodies and municipalities
Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System(CCTNS)
Modernization of Panchayats
Healthcare in Schools
Services by Colleges, Schools
National Land Records Modernization Programme,
Government to Business (G2B)
In government to business category, e-governance is being provided in the following areas:
Central and several state governments have started procurement through e- procurement systems. It not only reduces the cost for all the stakeholders but also strives to provide transparent and accountable efficient services
Ministry of Corporate Affairs
This project aims to make registry related services online for companies. It was created by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
Government to Government (G2G)
Under this category, state and central governments exchange various information. They also share such information with the local government, or among different departments of a government. The idea is that whatever information is available in any wing of government should be shared with other departments of government.
Government to Citizen (G2C)
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 Employees (G2E)
There are millions of employees working in different government departments. The purpose of the government to employee’s category is to provide a platform for a seamless communication between government and employees.
Objectives of e-Governance
The objectives of e-governance have been described here:
To make governance convenient for different stakeholders – People, government, and businesses.
To make governance accountable and transparent
Fulfilling people’s needs and aspirations by creating an efficient public delivery system
To improve the functioning of the government
To improve the quality of services and information.
To remove bottlenecks for business
Encourage digital communication
In the last few years, e-governance has spread to almost every government department. Government also keeps advertising about their e-governance initiatives in the print and electronic media. It takes the services of celebrities like Amitabh Bachhan, Virat Kohli, and Sachin Tendulkar who engage with ordinary people on popular channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Connectd, an Indian social media app and talk about such initiatives.