The key pillars of e-governance
Defining governance, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) states that it
is: "the exercise of economic, political, and administrative authority to manage
a country’s affairs at all levels." However, just having governance is not enough.
Over the years, the concept of "good governance" has become the point of discussion
and debate, and has been compelling governments to go beyond their traditional roles,
to deliver a higher quality of engagement and experience to citizens
The need for good governance has arisen from the fact that the government is under
pressure to deliver more fluid, more efficient services than ever before. The government
also needs to scale its services as a result of growing populations, that are placing
a burden on areas such as healthcare and education. The government has to reach
these services not just to urban centers, but also the rural landscape, where nearly
70-80 percent of the country’s population still resides.
Finally, both citizens and businesses are looking to receive higher standards and
quality of service and greater transparency and access to government policy and
operations. Governments too are looking at involving citizens so that governance
becomes participatory, lawful, transparent, responsive, inclusive, efficient and
While these are the goals of good governance, they cannot be achieved unless the
tools are in place that enable their realization. Among the tools available for
good governance, possibly the most crucial is ICT. The government has therefore
gravitated from simply governance, to e-governance, where it is using the Internet
and ICT to free up resources, deliver new and innovative services to address the
needs of citizens more effectively and establish proximity with them.
ICT is becoming key as it hastens and improves the flow of information and knowledge
between government and citizens, transforming the manner in which the two interact.
There are three areas of e-governance where ICT plays a significant role:
- G2G: Government-to-Government initiatives typically involve ICT intervention, for
online non-commercial interaction between government organizations, departments,
and authorities. An example of a G2G project is the SmartGov initiative undertaken
by the government of Andhra Pradesh, which was launched to streamline operations,
enhance efficiency through workflow automation and knowledge management for implementation in the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat.
G2C: This is ICT-enabled communication between a government and a private citizen,
which can be facilitated through Web portals that not only disseminate information
to individuals, but act as constituency interaction centers. These portals enable
citizens to access government services—from renewing or applying for their driving
licenses, to accessing their land records, to paying their utility bills and income
The government of Madhya Pradesh’s e-District project is an interesting instance
of a G2C implementation. Efficient individual department services will be delivered
to five districts in the state through primary front-end channels such as Common
Service Centers (CSCs), Samadhan Ek Din centers, MP-Online kiosks and the Internet.
G2B: Government-to-Business interaction is the online non-commercial as well as
commercial interaction between the local and central government and the commercial
business sector using ICT as the channel. Examples of G2B interaction include http://www.dti.gov.uk Exxternal Link a government Web site where businesses can get information and advise on e-business best practices.