E-governance use of information and communication technology (E- stands for electronic) for providing governmental services, information exchange, government to citizen transactions, communication between government and citizen, and storage and retrieval of citizens’ data. It also integrates the various stakeholders into the government through ICT such as citizens, businessmen, other governments and employees. The main advantage of E-governance is corruption-free governance, timely delivery of service, and making governance more citizens friendly. There are three main target groups in E-governance included, including citizens, government and stakeholders (Business groups). E-governance facilitates smooth transactions, storing and retrieval of data for implementation of governance, faster processing of information, expedite decision making, responsible and transparent governance and ensure accountability of decision making. It also helps the government to widen the arena of government demographically as well as geographically.
Stages of E-governance Stages of e-governance and government initiatives:
Four phases of the E-government model. The four-stage model was proposed by Gartner. It includes four stages of E-governance: Presence, Interaction, Transaction, and Transformation. The implementation of the project of E-governance does not necessarily involve all four stages or start from stage one, the stage can be skipped on the basis of the need of the project.
Phase – 1 (Presence):
The presence of information on the various platforms of government such as websites, e-brochure etc makes the first stage of E-governance. In the first stage, the activity involves the development and establishment and delivering of information for the stakeholder use. This stage is the simplest, non-expensive phase in implementation of E-governance, but it gives only little option for the stakeholders. For example: the website of the ministry of environment publishes only the cursory information about the ministry, information of officers, their contact details, address for communication, report they published, various orders etc, but there is one way flow of information and don’t have interactive capabilities.
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Phase – 2 (Interaction):
The second stage of the E-governance model is the advanced version of the first stage which involves the interaction between the government and stakeholders such as businessmen or interested groups or citizens. It is a two-way communication or interaction which involves the real means of communication. In this stage citizens or stakeholders can communicate with the government via E-mail, chat database, customer care platform, feedback forms or submission of online forms. It ensures the transparency of communication and accountability of government offices. It also reduces the physical interaction of stakeholders and governance, which also saves the labour hour.
Phase – 3 (Transaction):
The third stage of E-governance involves the transactions made between stakeholder and government. In this stage, the government’s e-governance efforts make life of citizens easier by enabling electronic transactions and simplifying government processes. Government, Business and Departments can avail services by making a payment online for services such as licence renewal, online bidding and deposition of bid amount, paying taxes online, paying for various services provided by government. The level of interaction in this stage is higher than the second stage and the more activities involved in the flow of information, mainly one-way activity such as government to client or client to government. Eg. Bidding for procurement, licence renewal fee payment, fee payment for patent application, submission of job application with fee payment etc.
Phase– 4 (Transformation):
This phase is the highest in order for e-governance initiatives. This level involves exhausting the full use of available technology to transform the government service by receiving information, organisation and analysing information and execution. This is the two-way flow of information to improve the stakeholder relationship with the government and the service provider should have robust capabilities to handle the issues, needs, and solving of problems of stakeholders. Right now there are very few options in the government who follow this phase of E-governance. The main advantage of this stage is to provide seamless flow of information by the service provider and collaborative decision making among the union, state, local, citizens and private interest groups. It removes the organisational barrier as well as reduces the Red-tapism behaviour of government officers by sticking them to follow time-bound decision making. Eg. E-court, Virtual summit etc.
The Indian government encourages the many initiatives of E-governance and sponsors many projects for E-governance, taken many policy initiatives to promote E-governance and develop the basic infrastructure for service delivery. Eg. E-seva, E-court, E-district, E-office, Common service centres, state and national Service Delivery Gateway, etc.
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E-seva service of the government enables the stakeholder to access the service online or through computer. This project setup by the government to deliver some necessary services such as basic government service eg. Caste certificate, Financial services such as deposition of revenue fee, licence renewal fee, Bill payment such as water bill, electricity bill etc, e-learning services etc. E-seva portal ensures the time bound delivery of service and transparency. This project gives the entrepreneurial attitude to the young generation to set up their own business to deliver government service. Eg. E-mitra portal, Rajasthan.
This project is based on the utilisation of Information and communication technology for the implementation of national policy and action plan of ICT in The Indian judiciary (2005). This project is recommended by the committee setup by the Supreme Court of India and suggests the transformation of the Indian judicial system into ICT enabled E-courts for the faster delivery of service, affordable and cost effective implementation of service. In the first phase of this project the district and subordinate court computerised under this project by March 2014. Government allotted adequate funds to set up basic infrastructure for the implementation of this project. The main objective of this project is to transparent and quick delivery of service to lawyers, litigants and stakeholders. This project will enhance the capacity of available human resources and best utilisation of time, money to improve the service delivery. Second phase involved the enabling of 8000 courts into e-court, connecting the courts to the National Judicial Data Grid (Through WAN). Creating and improving the court management system by utilising the electronic infrastructure. Ensuring to improve the performance in courts and providing the basic infrastructure for e-filing, e- fee payment, e-kiosk and setup of apps. The main advantage of this project is providing faster legal service, provides affordable and transparent service and makes the courts more user friendly.
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It is a portal of district government which enables citizens to access the various types of services of government at the level of district administration. It provides the end to end integrated solution to the stakeholders by providing various services at one click. This portal used to access the many services of district administration such as online production of various certificates, paying of licence fee, application for citizenship etc. This portal also links databases of various government departments to integrate the service delivery system. Data provided by the stakeholder’s stored permanently in this database and can be used in future to retrieve the information for further delivery of service. It also ensures the reducing the burden on government to reduce the duplication of work at every level of government. The ultimate goal of this project is to maximise the base, enhance efficiency, and improve quality of service and hassle free and time bound delivery of servicer.
It is the core mission of the government of India under the project of National e-governance, to enable the government offices to deliver the service via E-office without involvement of physical appearance of stakeholders. It involved the improvement of the office to reduce the physical file operating system in offices to convert them into e-file to improve the efficiency of the system, time saving mechanism, and improvement in consistency, increase accountability of officers and transparency. It also assure the utilisation of available human resources at its best stake with improving in administration.
E-governance is the best solution to the problem of slow delivery of services by increasing the efficacy of government offices. It also provides the time-bound delivery of service, transparency in the work, cost effective delivery of service for both government and citizens. E-governance is the key to improvement in the delivery of services with accountability of officers. Utilisation of available resources is at best the key component of e-governance. The Government of India has already taken many mission mode projects to convert the government offices into e-offices for the faster delivery of service. It is a good sign for India towards the aim of a developed society where service providers are more accountable.