Sunday, June 26, 2011

E-Delivery Of Public Services Development Policy Loan Of India

E-Delivery of Public Services is the testing bed for any successful E-Governance Project. If essential Public Services cannot be delivered through use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), there is no successful E-Governance implementation.

In India as well essential Public Services are still not successfully integrated with ICT and E-Governance has to cover a long distance before it becomes successful in India. India’s ranking in E-Readiness and E-Governance is declining year after year and India is still not bothered about this fact.

This situation does not “Justify” the usage of crores of public money on E-Governance Projects in India when there are no “Results” of such huge spending. The Government of India (GOI) and the World Bank recently signed another Loan Agreement of $150 million for the E-Delivery of Public Services Development Policy Loan under the National E-Governance Plan (NEGP) of India.

However, even this loan would not change the position in India till we have a “Mandatory E-Governance Legal Framework” in India. The Information Technology Act 2000 is the sole Cyber Law of India that carries few provisions pertaining to E-Governance as well. However, The IT Act 2000 has made E-Governance in India “Non Mandatory” and here lies the whole problem.

If we do not make E-Governance Mandatory and we do not lay down “Deadlines” till which E-Governance Infrastructure must be established in India, public money would be wasted for ever. It is high time for India to ensure Mandatory E-Governance Services in India through a Legal Framework.

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, Accountable and Legal 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 loans amount of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Bank.

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 grassroots 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.

Some have even alleged that E-Delivery of Public Services in India is missing and World Bank is not at all interested in establishing Transparency and Accountability in Indian NEGP. World Bank must ensure accountability of Indian NEGP in order to show that its Loans are actually meant for growth and development of Indian masses rather than benefiting few Politicians and Bureaucrats as is happening right now.

Meanwhile, India must seriously consider formulating a Mandatory E-Governance Legal Framework that is not only Transparent but also Accountable. Further, if time limits are not set to achieve Mandatory E-Governance Services in India, all other efforts would fail. Let us see how “Serious” our Indian Government is regarding providing Mandatory E-Governance Services in India.

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