Sunday, 8 April 2012


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The term e-governance is a recent coinage. One of the early references to it is found in the joint report of the National Performance Review and the US Government Information Technology Services Board, Access America Reengineering through information technology, issued on February , 17. As initially used in American public discourse, e-governance meant little more than a general recognition of the confluence of Information Technology (IT) developments and the application and use of these technologies by government entities. Subsequently, it often came to be used as a symbol, an ambiguous reference to both current applications of IT to government operations and a goal of realizing more effective and less costly performance of government functions.

In India, e-governance is leading to the evolution of a new approach-innovative in content-to address traditional problems of governance. When a district magistrate (DM) tries to computerize land records or a superintendent of police (SP) installs an online system of registering a complaint, they are not really addressing any new problem. They are essentially addressing traditional problems of, say, non-transparency, manipulation, corruption and, above all, delivery of some end-services to the public in general. The key enabler in the process is the application of information and communication technology (ICT) and designing a new process of coordination and sharing of powers, thereby reconfiguring the traditional mode of governance.

Generally speaking, the mode of governance in India-at the Centre, States, or local levels- is uni-directional, precedent-based, driven by procedures and rules, relatively non-transparent in its public interface, paper-based, and usually having no time limits for a decision. Effectively, the systems allow ample scope and opportunity for escaping accountability. However, the advent of ICT has impacted the functioning of government departments and bodies as it has accelerated a regime of awareness on part of people in general, civil servants as a class, and political leaders as rulers.

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A recent study conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres reveals that e-governance is on the move in India.

· Around % of adult Internet users in India use the Internet to access government information.

· 15% of the total Internet users in India were information seekers, 7% used the net for downloading.

· Nearly 6% of the global adult population used the Internet to pay for government services or products through credit cards or bank account numbers. The figure for India was relatively lower at %.

· Male Internet users use online government services more than their female counterparts.

· 47% of Internet users in India consider it safe to use the Internet to provide personal information on the Internet.

The Union government has created a separate ministry of information technology to promote IT in the country. The department of administrative reforms is the nodal agency for providing all guidance and technical support along with the National Informatics Centre for implementing the e-governance agenda. Various states have framed IT policies and started implementing it. In fact, Andhra Pradesh has already gone way ahead by making Hyderabad a cyber city and aims at building better communications infrastructure, training IT manpower, computerizing government functions, and delivering several online services. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have also come up with various e-governance initiatives.

Citizen servicing through e-governance entails several potential areas such as education, healthcare, and the spread of enterprises. Illustrative listings of the possibilities in e-governance are

· Dissemination of public information.

· Government schemes and notification.

· Commercial information.

· Agricultural information.

· Educational information.

· Social services.

· Rural services.

· EWS services.

· Complaints/grievance redressal.

· Utility payments and billing services.

Given below are examples that highlight small to moderate experiments at local levels of administration.


It allows a villager to get information on farm product prices, make online applications and access e-mail.

The Gyandoot Samiti, a society supporting the project, has developed indigenous software to run the intranet and various services. The software in Hindi is simple and menu-driven and only requires minimum data entry at the client’s end. Local entrepreneurs called Soochaks run the Soochnalays. The services offered include

· Agriculture produce auction center rates.

· Online registration of applications.

· Online public grievance redressal.

· Rural e-mail facility.

· Village auction site.

· Online matrimonial site.

· Information on government programmes.

· Web-based newspaper.

· Reading material for students.

· Employment news for semi-skilled.


Taking advantage of the proliferation of STD booths and the spread of Cable TV in rural Uttar Pradesh, alternative technology solutions are being developed to bring down the costs of access to the masses.

Param is based on a technology solution architecture that delivers, in today’s infrastructure conditions, broadband multimedia with interactivity in remote areas, where even landlines need not reach. The creation of a connectivity infrastructure in rural areas is a byproduct of the implementation of Param.

Param caters to various information, education and progress needs besides offering basic communication and connectivity facilities. As the connectivity platform of Param is implemented, it offers itself as a ready vehicle for carrying various developmental and e-governance programs on it.


It is a crime record system at the village level. The village information system is composed of four modules

1. It provides information on the area.

. It contains personal information about the key people in the area.

. Provides information on crime and criminals.

4. Information on known terrorists.

The most visible benefits can be summed up as follows

· It facilitates the monitoring of crime prevention and detection by serving as a Management Information System.

· It makes available concise information on which to set priorities and deploy resources.

· It helps police officers gain quick knowledge of the area and the people.

· It helps immediate and widespread dissemination of pictures of wanted or missing persons.

· It allows selective display of visual dimensions such as roads/railways/hospitals and avoids map cluttering.

· Facilities to click-and-plot on maps help crime plotting and road accidents plotting.


Several application packages are at present under various stages of development and implementation at Tiruvarur.

· The Taluka Automation software-runs the land record administration online at the Taluka office.

· The birth and death certificate maintenance software-enables updation of births and deaths in villages.

· Old age Pension Scheme automation software-automates the centrally sponsored old age pension schemes and connected schemes funded by the Tamil Nadu government.

· Registration of requests for the issue of new driving licenses.

· Community certificate software.

· Office manager-automating payments of salary and allowances.

· Grievances redressal software.

· DRDA automation software.

· Panchayat monitoring software.


Sewa-100 is a comprehensive software package for police control rooms. The project is a GPS/GIS based mobile tracking and voice-logging system.

As soon as somebody dials the ‘100’ number, the call lands at the control room. The telephone number, name, address, concerned police station and nearest police mobile units available pop up on the main screen of the computer. The main screen also contains a digital map of the area. When the call lands, the cursor on the map starts blinking, showing the location of the caller. The entire conversation with the caller is recorded automatically.

It makes the job of the operator tremendously easy as he can direct a particular mobile to attend to the caller. The operator can also prioritize the duties of mobiles according to the conditions and requirements of the situation. All concerned services like hospitals, fire stations, crane services etc., are available on the digital map.


The West Bengal government has undertaken a project under which all the municipalities and corporation areas in the state will have access to detailed information on their areas. All kinds of maps have been prepared for better functioning. Houses in the area, plot numbers, family-wise data, communication and sanitation facilities, road conditions and civic amenities available so far will be available to officials at the click of a mouse.

In Biddhanagar municipality, a public interface system has been developed to provide a wide range of information in areas such as procedures to obtain birth and death registration certificates, land registration, trade licenses etc. The system can be used by any citizen to download forms through Internet websites and/or through information kiosks being set up at strategic points within the municipality.


It is an intranet-based system for the Jaipur city police in Rajasthan. It is accessible only to authorized users like police officers at police stations, circle officers, superintendent of the police and the district magistrate.

Through a local dial-up, it enables field officers to access all information relating to FIR’s, crime records, thefts, and missing persons records-all kept on the Aarakshi web server. The entire system is in Hindi. The major uses are

· Dissemination of daily instructions from senior police officers.

· Uploading of daily crime reports from police stations to the central server.

· Information on wanted persons and a database of criminals.



Project BetterDecisionMaking People’sParticipation& Acceptability DeliveryOf publicServices ParticipationBy pvt. Sector Security Remarks

Param Yes Yes Yes Yes Unaddressed Unique connectivity solution

Gyandoot NA Yes Yes Possible Unaddressed Well-designed

Sewa-100AarakshiSuperCop Yes Yes Yes NA Secure Efficient communication tool

Thiruvarur Yes Yes Yes NA Unaddressed 1st example of online government

Maheshtala Yes Yes Yes NA Secure GIS application


· Technology is not always a constraint for communicating with even illiterate people for delivering services.

· Even illiterate villagers can acquire necessary IT knowledge to the extent it is necessary for them to benefit from it.

· At least at local levels, e-governance can be allowed to evolve.

Once an IT-borne system, however small it is at the initial stage, is put to use, the constant user interface and anxiety to keep costs of operation down helps the system evolve with innovative features to meet newer and newer demands. In the process, the entire backend operation and work process get refashioned, remodeled and re-engineered.


Despite the absence of a major information resource management vision or guidelines at the apex government level, e-governance initiatives at local administration levels are more evident. The bottom-up or the evolutionary stage model has the following stages.

STAGE1 Small initiatives at local administration level

· Limited features.

· Less technological complexities.

· Limited number of users.

· Limited database.

STAGE District-regional level

· More services.

· More backend management.

· Linking of local systems and connectivity.

· Larger database.

· Network compatibilities.

· Security issues.

STAGE State level

· Systems integration.

· Inter-departmental connectivity.

· Interactive user interface.

· Complex backend management.

· Security network.


The focus could be on issues such as determining hardware systems configurations to ensure easy compatibility at the time of systems integration, network security norms, maintenance dos and don’ts, and identification of application service providers-across the state, both governmental and private, who can assist with technical knowledge and whose services any level of administration can access.

The other way a central IT authority can help is to evaluate the efficacy and impact of an e-governance initiative, and publicizing the initiatives so that others can learn and make use of the experiences.


1. Absence of a vision or a roadmap for implementation.

. Dedicated to providing only half the services it can actually provide.

. The question of continuity of the system.

4. None of the efforts so far have graduated to the level of social participation where there is interaction to influence decision-making.


e-governance is not just about installing computers in government offices. It is about a complete change in the way we are governed. More importantly, it is about using IT to take governance to more and more of the population, rather than make them come to the government.

There are three simple, but relatively difficult to achieve, conditions that drive large-scale acceptance of e-governance.

1. You need to IT enable large sections of the population.

. You need to provide large-scale access to Internet.

. Government processes need to be IT enabled.

e-governance in this country is still a new area and requires constant pushing from the top-political and bureaucratic-to succeed. The will currently seems to be there, at least in some states. Will it sustain?


IT technologies that are likely to play a significant role in realizing the promise of e-Governance

In the initial phases, e-Governance would primarily be used to disseminate information such as rules and regulations, schedules and educational material prepared by the government to e-Govt users. Technologies important to this phase of e-Governance are

Portal technology Information being accessed by e-Govt users will come from diverse sources, that is, from different servers being maintained by different government agencies. The end user will need a common integrated view to all information. Portal technologies will provide the foundation for integrating information at the user interface level. Several portal technologies are available, including IBM’s portal server, for presenting e-Governance applications to the e-Govt user.

Speech interface Illiteracy will continue to be an issue, to circumvent which the interaction with e-Governance applications will have to be speech oriented. Also, the interaction will have to be in regional languages rather than English. Research at IBM India Research Lab has already established that existing technologies for recognition and synthesis can be adapted easily to Hindi, and extended to other regional languages.

Intuitive navigation Almost certainly, the interface to e-Governance applications and services will be Web and e-mail oriented. The current techniques for accessing information on the Web are non-intuitive to the majority of e-Govt users, even the literate ones. They will need conversational interfaces that allow users to express their information request in natural-language expressions. The queries presented by the e-Governance application to the user will have to be composed in natural language. Such conversational technologies are being proven in various research labs.

These portals will evolve to the second phase where e-Govt users access more personal information, such as the status of their travel-allowance claim or driving-license application, and perform simple transactions like applying for a voter-registration card.

Some technologies essential to the success of the second phase are

Authentication As citizens and businesses access personal information or execute transactions having significant monetary implication, it is important to authenticate the identity of the user. This would require the government to establish a public-key infrastructure, find a secure way of distributing the public keys through smart cards or other such devices, and educate the e-Govt users about the role of public keys and the need to protect them.

Workflow execution and monitoring As e-Govt users transact on the Web, workflow technologies are needed to present these transaction to the various government officials for necessary approval or other actions and possibly to e-Governance applications where automated action is possible.

Integration between the Web and physical office Interactions on the Web in all likelihood will access and create data in databases separate from the physical or computerized records used in physical offices. Processes, manual or automated, need to be created to ensure that the record of user’s interaction is synchronized between the Web office and the physical office.

The third phase of e-Governance solutions and services will offer re-engineered processes and collaboration between e-Govt users and government employees to expedite the transactions within the government. The information being requested by and presented to the e-Govt users will be customized to individual needs and the government process will also be customized according to the user’s profile. Multiple e-Governance applications across different government agencies will be integrated. For example, when a person moves from one city to another, changes to the voter list, vehicle registration, ration card, etc, could all be processed in a single interaction.

e-Governance should be implemented as a three-tiered entity. The lowest tier, or the infrastructure, consists of servers, clients and data network. The clients can be desktop clients, mobile clients and, in future, set-top boxes. Wireless, telephone and dedicated data-network connectivity has to be considered for the network.

The top tier consists of diverse e-Governance solutions and services created from a large set of applications developed independently by different vendors. Connecting these two tiers is a vital middle tier, the e-Governance framework or middleware.

The middleware offers

Software components to develop robust applications All applications require carefully crafted rules for allowing various individuals access to data managed by the applications. Similarly, well-defined rules are needed to manage the obsolescence of data. Privacy must be handled by all applications. The middleware can offer software components to implement the access control, privacy and record retention policies. Similarly, most applications need to present forms to the application user to capture user input, need to generate reports on various types of user activity, and analyze data managed by the application.

Tools can be provided in the middleware to perform these for all applications supported by the middleware.

Access to essential data Some information like vehicle or property records and geographical surveys are used by many e-Governance applications. Such data can be managed in the e-Governance middleware and made accessible to all authorized applications through well-defined interfaces. The representation of this data should be standardized using standards such as XML.

Integration of applications Many solutions desirable to e-Govt users will require simultaneous use of multiple applications or services, perhaps managed by different government departments and developed by different application developers. For example, income tax processing for a user may require access to the sales-tax records of his business and that of his suppliers. The e-Governance middleware will offer tools and services to integrate applications and processes defined by these applications to create solutions and processes that span the applications.

E-governance in India accelerating, but roadblocks exist

Sharing the findings of its e-governance study, Nasscom said that the e-governance market in India is gaining traction but there are challenges stalling its progress. Estimated to be Rs 1,400 crore in size in 001-0, the e-governance market is said to have grown by 18 percent last year. It is also the highest growing vertical in the domestic IT market.

Nasscom’s analysis of e-governance implementation undertaken in 10 key states revealed that Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu are leading in terms of implementing projects at different citizen-government interface points. Others like Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan are catching up fast.

But, despite the islands of excellence, e-governance has not been able to make rapid progress due to several operational, economic, personnel, planning and implementation issues. E-governance in India is also focused heavily towards investing in hardware and very little on developing software and services, which could maximize hardware investments.

The study has stressed that the government should focus on bringing efficiency in governance through better use of technology. Some key imperatives for the government identified by the study include ensuring percent of the budget is committed towards e-governance and that the amount should be spent in a ratio of 4000 on hardware, software and services respectively.


The dotcom revolution brought with it newer concepts of e-business, venture funding, e-commerce, and various other relationship management issues. As the wave is slowly wearing off amid layoffs and company shut-downs, the message that is increasingly getting clearer is that at the end of the day, e-business is nothing but business as usual.

The term e-governance today, is facing a familiar grind. According to one school of thought, a distinction needs to be made between the terms e-government where citizens can avail of government services such as land records, filing of tax etc; and e-governance which involves the formulation of laws and regulations to govern cyberspace.

At a recent press conference, IT minister Pramod Mahajan said government offices are slowly turning into a graveyard of computers. He was referring to the finance ministry’s diktat that every ministry should spend percent of its budget on purchase of computers.

But IT in isolation cannot bring a change unless administrators at the middle level is trained and motivated to use IT tools to speed up communication and decision-making.

So what is the state doing with IT power? Will technology be the answer to all our bureaucratic problems? Will the term e-governance, which is being heard increasingly today, let you correspond with the Prime Minister for your problems?


Kiran Bedi pioneering the concept of e-governance in the police department; Villagers in a cyber caf� accessing vital farm-related information.

India could well be on the way to becoming an information and knowledge society and contrary to popular perception, its impact will be far-reaching, down to the villages and could bridge traditional divides. E-Governance is the next step - it promises to provide karmic relief from corrupt officials and politicians.

Term Paper for Computer Applications in Management




· Rajesh Rajova, Bridging the digital divide Gyandoot-The model for community networks.

· Karen Layne & Jungoo Lee Developing fully functional e-government.

· A four-stage model, Government Information Quarterly, 18(001).

· Indian Management, August 00.

· PC Quest, January 00.

· Business Standard, March 00.

· IT world, 00.

· Paper on e-governance in India.

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