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eGovernment Forschung | eGovernment Research 2001 - 2018

It can be said that the role of ICT in the public sector has evolved from informatisation to providing smart government.

But that's rather a staid way of looking at it. The old model (1980 - 2000) led to high costs with limited results, and was merely an attempt to computerise brick and mortar. Major shortcomings were experienced - there was lack of change management techniques and process re-engineering which often led to duplication, creation of silos and sub-par outcomes. In the period thereafter, till about 2014, things were much more wholesome. This model (second-generation) had an ICT-enabled transformation which was more citizen-centric in outlook and integrated in approach. What was essentially lacking in the earlier model - sharing of infrastructure, services, multichannel delivery, change management and process reengineering, etc. - was addressed to some extent.


SMART, if viewed as an acronym without wanting to sound staid, actually helps in gathering a better understanding. To start with, "S" is Social. Not only should it (governance) be citizen-centric and personalised, but also provide an opportunity for the civil society to co-create with the government. "M" for Mobile is self-explanatory, where the latest mobile technology is used to deliver services by the government and also to crowdsource ideas, thus cementing the bulwark for a two-way communication. "A" resonates with Big Data and Analytics and other sensor driven technologies that will increase awareness of the government and drive policymaking. "R" is about radical openness in design that brings in a high degree of transparency and accountability. Finally "T" is about Trust, a system which is cyber secure and ensures that privacy is not breached.

The core of good governance (which is a fundamental promise of any government) is about reduction of internal complexities in the functioning of the government, expediting procedures and bringing about a high degree of transparency, leveraged on new age technologies which will galvanise quick action, as citizens expect. The past decade starting from 2005 - 06, laid the foundation for smart governance especially seen in the context of design and implementation of the National eGovernance Plan (NeGP). The decade has been remarkable to say the least -- it required a herculean effort to make smart governance a core activity rather than being seen as just "fashionable". Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been at the forefront of change and is driving e-governance. The growing impatience in citizens has rightly been identified as the trigger, as a "single window" clearance and real-time response increasingly become the standard.

Today, no governance reform programme can be designed without e-governance at its core. For example, in recent times there has been a huge push to ease of doing business. A closer look would reveal that the best practices suggested by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion ( DIPP) rest on e-governance and ICT. Government departments have also shifted focus from buying software or hardware to procuring services and solutions. This approach has led to Service Level Agreements (SLAS) getting defined, thus bringing in greater accountability and transparency of the desired outcome. Then, the infrastructure that has been created is in itself commendable, given the sheer scale. This is not to imply that things are perfect but it has to be appreciated that shared infrastructure (SWAN, SDC, CSCS, UID) created under NeGP has indeed set the foundation for the next generation innovation. It is the resourceful individual who will view the glass as half-full.


In the last decade we have witnessed several instances where merely by "going live" e-governance projects have achieved precious little. Often the issue was related to the project design which had been done in silos. It was at best a piecemeal approach which did not take into consideration the big picture with respect to delivery of services. It only ended up rendering internal processes more efficient, without impacting the delivery significantly. Why would it induce the consumer to switch over?

Capacity building and garnering leadership to deliver on scale remain a huge challenge. The technical agencies of both the Central and state governments take up advisory or adjudicatory roles which leaves little room to develop technological expertise. The resultant loss of focus dilutes overall impact. Technology is changing at a rate which may not always be comfortable, and this has led to a war for talent. When it comes to hiring people with best technical expertise, the nodal agencies often lose out to the private sector.

It is often seen that large Indian, or even global players, don't participate in transformational projects, and not without good reason. The procurement model often lacks in understanding of what is required to deliver on egovernance projects. Fixed pricing without clearly defined boundaries works at cross purposes. In addition, the government is found dithering in taking timely decisions, fuelling cost overruns, which works to its detriment. It ought to be underscored here that in publicprivate partnership models (PPP), the payment position leaves a lot to be desired -- it's a grey area and the government needs a complete overhaul of its approach.


For decades, citizens had to travel great distances (in remote locations) to reach the nearest CSC (Common Services Centre) or government office. Mobile penetration in India has been deep and this is where the oft-repeated trinity of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile (famously known as JAM) together with Digital Locker can be leveraged to deliver maximum benefits. Semantic-based service delivery is seen as the future, by which citizens are able to access government services without direct assistance from the government. Affordable smart phones, low cost of mobile internet, availability of digital content, are all enablers. It can radically change the delivery of eGov services from what was seen in the past, with a much higher degree of transparency, accountability and audit trail.


Globally, the citizens have been much more involved (than was previously imagined) in sharing their ideas over social media with the government. This has helped the government in gathering the right inputs while framing policies.To give an example, in India, MyGov portal was launched in July 2014. It encourages participatory governance by creating a platform for exchange of ideas between citizens and experts. According to estimates in January 2016, the portal had 1.82 million registered users which led to 2.61 million comments across 480 discussion threads. The suggestions have ranged across issues as varied as Clean Ganga, Girl Child Education, Skill Building, Swach Bharat, among a host of others.

The reverse has also proven to be true in many instances. Initiatives conceptualised and implemented without adequate citizen participation have had low adoption levels. Online driving licenses, for instance, still requires middlemen.


Obviously, the government is a custodian to humongous amount of data that may best be quantified by thousands of multiples of zetabytes, petabytes and terabytes. The data being churned out every millisecond has three dimensions - velocity, volume and variety. The first two dimensions have been visible for a while now, but it's the third dimension which has seen huge traction in the past few years, especially after the advent of social media. The real challenge for the government today is to be able to mine all this data intelligently with the aid of analytics-driven tool to cull out meaningful information and be proactive in its delivery. Simply put, data needs to talk with each other. If a person is eligible for Old Age Pension then the system should be able to prompt the applicant well before time. We want to move to a situation where the government is able to act before the individual does. Here's an opportunity for the government to truly delight its citizens -- "Customer Delight" is a term we often use in business parlance. For this to be possible, there needs to be a single electronic address for all citizens and, towards this goal, the achievements of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) in driving Aadhar is truly commendable.

Finally, it may be highlighted here that just as we expect the government to remove silos, we too, as citizens, need to adopt a collaborative way of thinking. India is a 2.3 trillion dollar economy and one of the few large economies in the world growing at more than 7 per cent. The government has laid out its grand vision in the shape of marquee projects like Digital India. In addition, India has the largest and among the brightest tech talent in the world today. It is most reasonable to expect that People, Processes and Technology can effectively combine to deliver on Maximum Governance with Minimum Government. The time to act is NOW!


Autor(en)/Author(s): R.Chandrashekhar

Quelle/Source: Business Today, 28.12.2016

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