Monday, December 26, 2011

Indian Electronic Delivery of Services Bill (EDS) 2011

Electronic delivery of services is an efficient method of services delivery to public at large. Use of information and communication technology (ICT) eliminates many evils like lack of transparency, corruption, non accountability and brings order in public dealings.

Recently an agreement was signed between the World Bank and Indian government that granted a loan of $150 million to India for the e-delivery of public services in India. As a condition precedent to get the benefits of such loan, electronic services delivery in India has been proposed in the past. However, e-delivery of public services in India would still take few years as we have no legal framework for mandatory e-governance in India.

The proposed e-delivery of public services development policy loan of India has to be utilised through a policy and legislative framework that Indian government must establish very soon. The e-delivery of public services development policy loan (DPL) project of India would fail to take effect if either the electronic services delivery policy of India is not formulated or it is not implemented in a manner that confers mandatory e-governance services in India upon Indian citizens. In short, there should be a legal framework for e-governance in India that provides e-governance services to Indian citizens as a matter of right.

In fact, policy changes in this regard are already visible in India. For instance, the financial limits of mobile banking transactions in India have been removed to give better options of banking in India. Similarly, SEBI is contemplating electronic initial public offer (EIPO) in India. Even Indian judiciary is exploring the possibility of using an electronic bail communication system in India. Through the proposed Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Second Amendment Bill 2011 of India, digital television services would be offered to consumers at affordable prices and with superior quality.

To ensure e-delivery services in India, Indian government has proposed a draft electronic service delivery Bill, 2011 of India. This is a good step in the right direction. However, the proposed Draft Electronic Services Delivery Bill 2011 “failed” to provide mandatory e-governance services in India. The real problem with Indian e-governance initiatives in general and proposed ESD Bill 2011 in particular is that legal framework for mandatory electronic services delivery in India is still missing from it.

The parliament of India must amend the proposed ESD Bill 2011 so that better form of the same can be provided.

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