E-governance, which is a paradigm shift over the traditional approaches in public administration, means rendering of government services and information to the publicusing electronic means. This new paradigm has brought about a revolution in the quality of service delivered to the citizens. It has ushered in transparency in the governing process; saving of time due to provision of services through single window; simplification of procedures; better office and record management; reduction in corruption; and improved attitude, behavior and job handling capacity of the dealing personnel.
1. E-Government Definitions
E-governance, meaning ‘electronic governance’ is using information and communication technologies (ICTs) at various levels of the government and the public sector and beyond, for the purpose of enhancing governance (Bedi, Singh and Srivastava, 2001; Holmes, 2001; Okot-Uma, 2000).
E-government is a generic term for web-based services from agencies of local, state and federal governments. In e-government, the government uses information technology and particularly the Internet to support government operations, engage citizens, and provide government services. The interaction may be in the form of obtaining information, filings, or making payments and a host of other activities via the World Wide Web (Sharma & Gupta, 2003, Sharma, 2004, Sharma 2006).
The term governance needs to be understood before we move on to e-government and eGovernance. Governance is not the exclusive preserve of the government. It extends to civil society and the private sector. The two terms- e-government and e-governance are independent of each other, but are at times used alternatively, there by the major distinction between e-government and eGovernance is missed out. E-government is understood as the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to promote more efficient and cost effective government, facilitate more convenient government services and allow greater public access to information, and make government more accountable to citizens, whereas governance is a wider term which covers the state’s institutional arrangements, decision making processes, implementation capacity and the relationship between government officials and the public.
2. Scope of E-Government
There are three key areas namely; service provision, digital democracy, and economic development, that represent a broad definition of e-government and affect all customers of local government, including interactions between government and citizen (G2C), government and business (G2B), government and other government agencies (G2G), and between government and its own employees (G2E). While many current efforts focus on G2C like Citizen Service Centers, the three remaining areas can provide tremendous payback for government.
For a successful implementation of E-government services and applications leading to generation of revenue government has to consider critical factors that will lead to a successful E-government. One of these factors is the E-government readiness level, which will give understanding to the level of acceptance of E-government services when deployed. The critical success factors related to e-government readiness are focused around three key drivers: the process, the people, and the technology.
First, it is important to ensure that processes are reviewed and re-engineered where necessary to support a new way of doing business. As with any application of technology, business process review should be performed, streamlining opportunities should be identified, processes and procedures should be improved, and solutions should be designed around these improved processes. The second driver, the people, relates to having an adequate level of well-trained people to both support and use these systems. The third driver of e-government readiness, the technology, focuses on assessment of the current infrastructure, identification of improvements needed to support e-government initiatives, implementation of those improvements, and integration of existing autonomous systems and between new and legacy systems, with a focus on providing a total solution. Implementation of a unified communication system, adequate bandwidth, and reliable, redundant networks are examples of critical Infrastructure requirements that support e-government initiatives.
III. The e-Governance Strategy In India
• Localize implementation and decision-making and deploy the core infrastructure to deliver services to the Third Tier of Governance
• Manage all ICT initiatives as capital investments which can be evaluated in terms of pre-defined goals and measurable targets
• Make various stakeholders capable of conceptualizing, developing and managing e-Governance tools themselves
• Aim at service-oriented approach of Governance and create an integrated, modular and scalable framework to become more adaptive
• Utilize policies, structures and frameworks to bring about transparency in various government functions.
IV.E-Government Initiatives in India:
National e-Governance Plan (NEGP)
National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) has been approved by the Government of India for implementation during the years 2003-2007 to lay foundation and provide impetus to e-Governance throughout the Country. The Plan advocates definition of institutional mechanisms and core policies for managing e-governance initiatives across the Country in a cohesive manner and entails that services, having high volume of citizen interactions, with major impact on National and Regional economies or where service-owners themselves show readiness to optimize, be targeted as Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) at various levels.
Integrated Mission Mode Projects
e-procurement: Ministry of Commerce ; Industry (Department of Commerce) has been nominated as the Nodal Ministry for implementation of e-Government Procurement (e-GP) Mission Mode Projects (MMP). The vision of the e-Procurement MMP is “To create a national initiative to implement procurement reforms, through the use of electronic Government procurement, so as to make public procurement in all sectors more transparent and efficient”.
e-Courts: The e-Court Mission Mode Project (MMP) was conceptualized with a vision to transform the Indian judiciary by making use of technology. The objective is to re-engineer processes and enhance judicial productivity both qualitatively and quantitatively to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost effective, transparent and accountable.
e-Biz:The e-Biz Mission Mode Project, being executed by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, was conceptualized with the vision to transform the business environment in the country by providing efficient, convenient, transparent and integrated electronic services to investors, industries and business through Citizen Service Centers(CSC’S) providing high quality and cost-effective video, voice and data content and services, in the areas of e-governance, education, health, telemedicine, entertainment as well as other private services.