Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Failures Of E-Governance in India

Very few words are more fanciful than the words electronic governance (e-governance). These words have a tendency to portray an image of all advanced Nation or capable manpower. But the bigger question is what is more important; the image or reality? We have to analyse this question in the light of e-governance in India and the efforts of Government of India to achieve the Herculean task of being an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled and capable Nation.

Let us peep into the mind of those who have a deeper insight of this “India Shining Syndrome” of Indian Government and Bureaucrats. According to Mr. Praveen Dalal, the Leading Techno-Legal ICT, Cyber Law, Cyber Security and Cyber Forensics Specialist of India, “The Government and Indian Bureaucrats need to change their mindset and stress more upon outcomes and services rather than mere ICT procurement. India needs a services-based approach that is not only transparent but also backed by a more efficient and willing Government. Presently the Bureaucrats and Government of India are in a “resistance mode” towards novel and effective e-governance policies and strategies and they are merely computerising traditional official functions only. This is benefiting neither the Government nor the citizens and is resulting in wastage of thousands of crores of public money and UNDP/World Bank grants amount”.

The truth becomes more obscure in the maze of various reports and surveys, most of which are Government or its agencies/partners “sponsored”. The Bureaucratic incompetencies and lack of Governmental will only find support in high profile workshops and seminars where common man has neither an access nor a say. At the International level, however, India’s ranking is falling when it comes to basic prerequisites of e-governance, i.e. e-readiness, public-governmental interaction, public services, etc.

The Governmental will and leadership is missing in India. To worsen the situation the Government of India is concentrating more upon the image rather than upon the end results. The grassroot level action is missing and the benefits of ICT are not reaching to the under privileged and deserving masses due to defective ICT strategies and policies of Indian Government. India is suffering from the “vicious circle” of defective e-governance, as the basic input .i.e. governance itself is poor. India needs a “virtuous circle” of e-governance through good governance that would have multiplication and amplification effect upon e-governance efforts of Indian Government. We neither have a right nor would be we honest and true if we call ourselves an e-governance oriented Nation as even the basic “e-mail communications” with the Government of India, including Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), President, Ministry of Information Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, etc are “NEVER” replied back” says Mr. Praveen Dalal.

It is astonishing to know that the so called “e-governance experts” in the Bureaucratic and Governmental circles of India do not even know when and how to respond back to urgent and pressing public communications (e-mails). What is the benefit of attending and participating in high profile conferences and workshops in a cool and comfortable hotel room environment when the Citizen to Government (C2G) and Government to Citizen (G2C) wings of Indian e-governance are “missing”? The C2G and G2C are the core pillars of not only e-governance but electronic commerce (e-commerce) as well. The problem seems to “lack of accountability” among the Government Departments in India.

It is surprising that despite these “serious problems” the India Shining image is often portrayed when it come to e-governance in India. All these factors have resulted in the failures of e-governance in India.



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