Saturday, May 21, 2011

Electronic Service Delivery In India Proposed

One of the main problems with Indian e-governance initiatives is that mandatory electronic delivery of services is missing in India. We have no mandatory e-governance services framework in India. Till now there is no provision under which citizens could ask for mandatory electronic delivery of services from the Indian government.

However, with the proposed draft Electronic Delivery of Services Bill 2011 (EDS Bill 2011) Indian government has for the first time shown its willingness to provide e-governance services in India. However, 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 Department of Information Technology (DIT) of the Central Government has, through a written communication, sought suggestions of the State Government on the draft Electronic Service Delivery Bill-2011.
The proposed ESD Bill 2011 would make it mandatory for all government departments to deliver public services in electronic mode within a stipulated period of time.

As per the ESD Bill 2011, it would be required by all government departments to identify the basket of citizen centric services to be delivered through electronic means alongwith the stipulated timelines and service levels for each service. Each department would have to fix the timelines for mandatory electronic service delivery. However, no department would exceed a cutoff date fixed for the country. Its benefits would include efficient, transparent and reliable delivery of web enabled public services in a definite and time bound manner to citizens, thereby transforming Governance.

The implementation of the Act would be monitored by Electronic Services Delivery Commissions to be constituted at both Central and State levels. The ESD Bill 2011 has been proposed as a direct consequence of the e-delivery of public services development policy loan by the World Bank.

Recently the World Bank and Indian government signed a loan agreement of $150 million for the e-delivery of public services in India. The loan has been granted as the e-delivery of public services development policy loan to be utilised under the national e-governance plan of India (NEGP). However, till now neither a policy nor a legal framework has been established by India in this regard.

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