India’s e-governance framework
Indian governments, like their global counterparts, are using ICT and e-governance
as part of their broader government modernization programs. The central and state
governments have launched initiatives that harness the power of ICT to improve G2G,
G2C and G2B interactions. E-governance activity has picked up over the last few
years, and at the heart of it, lies the government’s National e-governance Plan
(NeGP), which aims to make all government services accessible to common citizens
in their localities through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency,
transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs.
NeGP’s goal is to make most public services available online, ensuring that all
citizens have access to them, thereby improving the quality of basic governance
on an unprecedented scale. NeGP has a three tier architecture, which includes the
Common Service Centres (CSCs), the front-end delivery points for a range of citizen
services that are provided in a transparent manner, at a convenient location and
at an affordable cost. These centers also provide employment to the entrepreneurs
running them, besides being useful in rolling out all kinds of governmental schemes
such as those for financial inclusion, enumeration of data, insurance and IT education.
The second tier is of the common and support infrastructure that can allow information
to be shared electronically between different agencies of the government and with
citizens. Included in it, are the State Wide Area Networks (SWANs), which form the
converged backbone network for data, voice and video throughout a state/UT and the
State Data Centers (SDCs) which can provide common secure IT infrastructure to host
state-level e-government applications and data.
The third tier comprises the 27 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) which are expected
to transform high priority citizen services from their current manual delivery into
e-delivery. “Mission Mode” implies that the objective and the scope of the project
are clearly defined, that the project has measurable outcomes and service-levels,
and well-defined milestones and timelines for implementation. Each MMP is owned
and spearheaded by the relevant ministry/agency of the national government or by
a state government.
The MMPs encompass 10 Central government projects, 10 State government projects
and seven Integrated projects spanning multiple Ministries/Departments.
Out of the 27 Mission Mode Projects, under the National e-governance Plan (NeGP),
14 MMPs have already started delivery of services while the remaining 13 MMPs are
expected to begin services from 2014. Clearly, the government is taking the e-governance
mandate rather seriously, considering that the NeGP was approved only five years
back in 2006.
At the same time, not all Indian state governments are at the same level on the
e-governance curve. While some states have been proactive and quicker to get on
to the e-governance bandwagon, others are still in the process of foraying the domain
of citizen-centric governance.
Mature governments globally, however, have already achieved the goals of Governance
1.0, and are now showing signs of moving on to Government 2.0, described as the
next phase, or next step of good governance.