Monday, June 22, 2009

E-Governance In India Needs Expertise Not Size

The debate regarding “merit based execution” of e-governance projects in India is getting hotter. The crucial question is which criteria the government of India (GOI) must choose for selecting e-governance projects partners? Whether it should choose a “big company” (size) or it must choose a company or firm that can execute (expertise and merit) the project effectively?

The Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Model of India is “faulty” as it is based upon the reputation of the companies involved rather than their “expertise”. A company may be generally good in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related issues but it may not be so regarding a particular aspect of e-governance. A question that we must ask to the GOI is whether size/reputation of a company is important or its expertise?

The government must take a hard look at its policies while allocating ICT projects to vendors. Its pre-qualification requirements regarding turnover and size of the players while inviting tenders for projects tends to create a situation where many a competitive but smaller player tends to get left out because they do not meet the stringent qualification criteria. Size should not be the sole parameter for allocating a project to an IT vendor, competence should be the most crucial parameter.

If the IT sector has to have a balanced growth, small and medium companies will have to be encouraged as well because they form the bulk of the industry in India Inc. This is not to say that smaller companies should be encouraged at the cost of competitiveness, however there should be a level-playing field for all.


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