Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mandatory E-Governance Services In India

Legal framework for mandatory e-governance services in India is long due. If we make e-governance service optional or discretionary, the whole purpose would be defeated. This is the reason why we need time bound and accountable e-governance based public services in India.

Keeping this objective in mind, the central government formulated the draft electronic delivery of services bill 2011 (EDS Bill 2011). The EDS Bill 2011 intends to provide delivery of government services to all citizens by electronic means by phasing out of manual delivery of services delivered by the government including matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The Bill if made a law would require complete overhaul of the present e-governance infrastructure and services delivery mechanism of Indian government. However, the real problem with Indian e-governance initiative is that legal framework for mandatory electronic delivery of services in India is missing, says Praveen Dalal, Supreme Court lawyers and Managing Partner of India’s exclusive techno legal law firm Perry4Law.

Till now there was no provision under which citizens could ask for mandatory electronic delivery of services by the government. After the Bill becomes an enforceable law, the Indian Government would be under an obligation to mandatorily provide electronic services to its citizens, opines Dalal.

To effectuate this objective, high-level delegates from all ministries will be meeting next month to decide on a cut off date to switch to total e-governance. However, before introducing it in the Parliament, each ministry will assess its readiness and accordingly fix the timelines for mandatory electronic service delivery in India. However, no department will exceed a cut off date fixed for the country.

I wish this initiative would become reality very soon.