‘E government’ ‘Digital India’ ‘E Kranti’ Do these words ring a bell? You might have heard these words too often in the recent past in news channels and also read in newspapers. E governance is a 1 Lakh crore rupees project that the government has planned to implement under Modi’s governance. This is to be implemented by the department of electronics and IT. All that said, let’s see what e governance means literally and what Digital India initiative includes.
E governance is a way to digitize all the government related activities. Confusing right? Let’s make it simple. How are you connected to the government, dependent on the government as a citizen of India? First answer that majority of us raise our hands for, when this questions is asked, would be voting. That’s already digitized- we vote in an electronic machine and on the day of counting, the voting machines are brought together and the count is found at the click of a button. How else are we connected or depended on the government? What are the citizen services? Say, applying a passport. There has always been a huge queue waiting to apply for passports, renewing it. Making the service available online is a part of e governance. To make it better understandable, today, the old people have to go in person to prove their existence to receive their pensions. This is going to be made available online and this is a part of e governance.
“So, I think it’s a bit clear now. Any service that we are entitled to as a citizen of India, if made available online or digitally, then that forms a part of e governance. “
Our honourable Prime Minister Modi says, “E governance is good governance” and I agree with him as a citizen of India. Even Mark Zuckerburg, the founder of Facebook, met Modi a few months ago to talk about the internet.org initiative through which almost everyone in the country will have access to the internet.
1. E Attendance:
There is a general complaint that the process related to government servants take a lot of time because the government employees are lethargic in coming to office. E attendance is the first big step in the implementation of e governance plan of India. Every government servant needs to make his presence recorded with his finger print. This detail is accessible to any citizen at attendance.gov.in.
Plus: This will improve the attendance at each of the government offices. By increasing the attendance of government employees the services offered to citizen via them will be speeded up. This will result in increased productivity and also transparency.
Warning points: The only warning point with this is the data being rightly collected and the sustainability of this process. It shouldn’t be like the numerous other plans that were implemented to showcase in the 5 year development in the next election but was never put to proper use or sustained throughout.
2. E pension:
The elders of the country, today, have to be taken to banks and government bodies to prove their presence to collect their pension. Sometimes, the elders who are incapable of walking or moving around have to be carried to the pension collection centers. By making this service available online we don’t only save a lot of time but we make it easier for the elders to collect the money they deserve.
Plus: Saves a lot of time and effort in transporting elders. It makes them exercise their right to the pension easily.
Warning points: Again, the money reaching the right hands will be questioned. The cunning family members might take advantage of this and obtain the pension leaving the elders helpless.
3. National Digital Mission:
Every schools will have computers enabled with broadband internet connection. 25,000 government schools will have free wifi and broadbands as per the government’s plan. All school books will be made available in digital versions.
Plus: This will, in the future, make at least one person in a family know how to use the government’s digital services. Access to information is the biggest problem of the country and this plan, if implemented as planned, will make information available to every student, easily.
Warning points: Installing computers in 25,000 schools with internet is a wonderful plan. But the maintenance is the biggest challenge that must be handled well. Having a pc in a village school that has stopped working for ages together will make the plan implemented just in papers. Also, the misuse of internet by faculty members should be monitored and curbed. Sites used to download movies and stuffs should be blocked
4. Digital Locker:
This is a plan to give a certain amount of storage space for every citizen of the country with a digital lock to store important e-documents like mark sheet, voter id, license. These documents stored in the digital locker will be considered valid and enough for any kind of government process or references.
Plus: Maintaining several papers is always hard. This digital locker will help people carry important documents with ease wherever they want to. This will also help them to safely have the documents. For instance losing a mark sheet, today, causes so much trouble. One has to go to the university, request for a new one; the process takes a lot of time and human effort from both the requester’s side and the university’s side.
Warning points: How secured these digital lockers would be is my major concern. If there is a good security system in place then this would make India’s e governance the next big thing in the world.
5. Free Wifi:
All cities and tourist centers will get free public wifi.
Plus: This will help people stay connected with the e-governance sites and their digital lockers all the time. This will create a well-informed India in the future.
Warning points: Connecting to a public wifi is always dangerous. We are bound to give away personal information that we browse through to hackers. How secured these systems are will directly shadow on the effectiveness of this plan.
Secondly, the speed is what that matters. Making all expenses to implant systems and routers to enable cities to have free wifi everywhere and then compromising on the speed is going to take us nowhere. It will only be a mere expense made to list down as an achievement that is again not so effective.
Then, the firewall and the filters must be strong enough. At home, India is soon getting the parental control enabled by the service providers to prevent kids below 18 watching stuffs irrelevant to their age. So, when there is going to be free public wifi, what’s available and what’s not should be planned clearly before implementation of the plan. Else we are exposing kids, ourselves, to what they are not supposed to be exposed to.
There are several other plans in the digital India initiative like e hospital, e schools, mobile seva, mygov.in site that lets you voice your opinion and take up tasks to join hands with the government in making India better.
Over all, according to me e governance if implemented well considering all warning points citizens raise or experts raise, will be good governance.
General Advantages of e governance being implemented in India:
1. Unbiased governance:
When everything is taken care of the computer, it means the process won’t bend for anyone. You be a minister or a common man, you will have to wait in the digital queue in an unbiased way.
2. Corruption free:
You don’t have to bribe the front office people in order to speed up your file or process in the government offices. When everything is digitized, not much can be altered with the process by taking money. So corruption levels will come down.
3. Taxes and black money:
When everything becomes digital, so will be the money we spend. There will be a time soon when we can or we will have to swipe our cards even for the least denomination of currency we have. This will reduce black money, make it easier to track people’s income, expenses and thereby increase the revenue generated by taxes.
4. Reduced Pollution and resource conservation:
As everything will be made available online, the transportation required for each process will reduce drastically. This will help us save petrol and reduce the number of vehicles on road, which will in turn reduce pollution caused due to the innumerous vehicles on the street.
My opinion is to include the basic commodity supply in ration shops in the digitalizing list. The impact of helping the richer layer of the society through e-governance will be less but the impact of it helping the actual needy of the country will lift them up along with lifting the country.
Written for the #DigitalIndia. contest conducted by http://www.intel.in/ and indiblogger.in