Monday, September 5, 2011

Electronic Service Delivery Policy Of India

Electronic Delivery of Services can ensure Transparency, Effectiveness and Accountability. Further. It can also significantly reduce Corruption that is widely prevalent in Indian Governmental dealings. Unfortunately, India has no mandatory E-Governance Services Legal Framework.

Indian Government, on one pretext or other, has “Ignored” this much needed requirement for decades. For instance, the Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act 2000) was enacted in the year 2000 still the Law has the “Disabling Provision” that is preventing implementation of Electronic Delivery of Services in India.

The IT Act 2000 says that none can insist that services should be delivered in an “Electronic Form”. This practically means that despite the IT Act 2000, Indian Government has “No Intentions” to “Legally Empower” its Citizens through Electronic Delivery of Services.

Like in the past, once again the World Bank has given a huge loan to Indian government to ensure a Policy for Electronic Delivery of Services in India. However, this loan itself is based upon a “Wrong Premise” that restricts the obligations to formulate “Policy Alone” in this crucial field. The loan should have been tied up with a Sound and Effective Electronic Delivery of Services Legal Framework in India.

To justify usage of this loan amount, a bill for Electronic Services Delivery in India has been proposed. However, the proposed Draft Electronic Services Delivery Bill 2011 “failed” to provide Mandatory E-Governance Services in India. In fact, the proposed EDS Bill 2011 has been criticised by many in India.

The “Biggest Shortcoming” of the proposed Bill is that it is “Not Mandatory” upon States and various Stakeholders. “Too much Discretion” is available to States to deny the possible benefits of Electronic Delivery of Services to Indian Citizens. In short, although in “Form” it is an effort to justify the loan yet in “Substance” it has little “Positive Benefits” for Indian Citizens.

Let us start with an Electronic Delivery of Services Policy of India and then proceed forward for a Legal Framework in this regard. If we start with the objective of “Exclusion” rather than “Inclusion”, not much can be expected from any such initiative.

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