Electronic governance or e-governance is the application of information and communication technology (ICT) for delivering government services, exchange of information communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between government-to-customer (G2C), government-to-business (G2B), government-to-government (G2G) as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government framework.
Objectives of E-Governance
The object of E-Governance is to provide a SMARRT Government. The Acronym SMART refers to Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive, Responsible and Transparent Government.
S – The use of ICT brings simplicity in governance through electronic documentation, online submission, online service delivery, etc.
M – It brings Morality to governance as immoralities like bribing, red-tapism, etc. are eliminated.
A – It makes the Government accountable as all the data and information of Government is available online for consideration of every citizen, the NGOs and the media.
R – Due to reduced paperwork and increased communication speeds and decreased communication time, the Government agencies become responsive.
R – Technology can help convert an irresponsible Government Responsible. Increased access to information makes more informed citizens. And these empowered citizens make a responsible Government.
T – With increased morality, online availability of information and reduced red-tapism the process of governance becomes transparent leaving no room for the Government to conceal any information from the citizens.
These objects of E-Governance are achievable with the use of ICT and therefore the concept is very alluring and desirable
Advantages of E-Governance
The e-governance is becoming a celebrated concept and the sole reasons are the advantage which it brings with it in the country it is applied. The advantages if ICT are many and “the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of government” .
1. Reduces the cost
This is a significant achievement which an e-governance scheme procures, as we know that most of the Government expenditure is appropriated towards the cost of stationary and paper works. This Paper-based communication proves to be a costlier one and this sucks in a lot of governments or public money as it calls for constant heavy expenditure. The solution to this problem is this electronic way of working, Internet and Phones makes communication cheaper saving valuable money for the Government.
2. Speedy working
E-governance works on the basis of Technology and it is a known fact that technology makes communication speedier thus this is what makes the working speedier and the working becomes faster. Internet, Phones, Cell Phones have reduced the time taken in normal communication.
3. Increase Transparency
The main concern of any nation in the present era is the increasing and continuing corruption in the system. This can also be solved through the use of ICT which makes governing profess transparent. All the information of the Government would be made available on the internet and right to information of citizens would be taken care of and respected. This revolutionizes the way governments function, ensuring much more transparency in the functioning, thereby eliminating corruption. The citizens can see the information whenever they want to see and ICT helps the citizen in this aspect and leaves no way in which the information could be concealed from the citizens and therefore it helps in reducing corruption and in a way it makes the governance more transparent.
4. It brings Accountability
When the governing process is made transparent the Government automatically becomes accountable and accountability is a very basic requirement of good governance. Accountability includes answerability of the Government to the people about its working and this is right of the people to know exactly about the functioning of the government. E-governance therefore makes a noteworthy contribution in the society by providing a better government which is accountable to its citizens and this fulfills the basic requirement of the demand of the population which elects its government.
Challenges In The E-Governance
E-governance is a constructive idea that can be of an immense positive output but it is not so easy to attain in a country like India which is practically a developing nation. E-governance itself is a very technical scheme and it has challenges which make the implementation easier said than done.
The most significant characteristic of any successful e-government application is its quality (Signore, et al 2005) and accessibility. The issue (Cost, Time) of integration of legacy systems comes onto the scene. As the information collected by governments may be politically sensitive, installation of appropriate security mechanisms may be an important technical consideration. At the same time, many other policy issues need to be resolved, such as authentication and confidentiality.
1. Digital Divide
The digital divide refers to the separation that exists between individuals, communities, and businesses that have access to information technology and those that do not have such access. Social, economic, infrastructural and ethno-linguistic indicators provide explanations for the presence of the digital divide. Economic poverty is closely related to limited information technology resources. An individual living below poverty line does not afford a computer for him to harness the benefits of e-government and other online services. As the digital divide narrows, broader adoption of e-government in the public domain becomes possible. E-governance is totally based on modern technology and it will be a failure if this part is not taken into consideration. Technology has to be in the reach of the people for whom the policies are made and who have to use them.
2. Lack of communication
India is a country which has decentralized government and in such a case the power is decentralized and does not only rest in the hands of centre but divided in different spheres and departments, so the lack of communication between these departments is one of the biggest challenge that India has to face while opting for E-governance. So the information that exists in one department has no or very little use with respect to some other department of the government.
This comes out to be probably biggest challenge for the e-governance. E-governance requires huge amount of work for making the databases of the citizens of the country and doing it efficiently for such a population is in itself a very big task. Security issues and privacy issues are also to be dealt with proper care and so it becomes a little hindrance.
4. Different Languages
In a country like India which is highly diverse, language comes as a barrier in the path of communication and this is a very important expect of success of the any scheme. Ensuring E-Governance in local language is a big task to achieve. Supplying information to the public in a language that they understand and are comfortable with, and generally, it is the local language. As, technology is available by which transliteration from English into other languages can be made. Therefore, the problem is manageable provided there is enough motivation to do this onerous task.