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(A digital prospective)

Ms.R.Lumina Julie, MBA., M.Phil

Assistant professor- Management Science, Sri Krishna Arts and science college, Coimbatore

E-Government is not about ‘e’ but about government. Electronic or e government is the process of transformation of the interaction of government with its constituents-the citizens, the businesses and between two organs, through the use of the tools of information and communications Technology (ICT). The endeavor is to bring about enhanced access, transparency, accountability and efficiency in the delivery of regime information and services. A success of e-government as a revolutionary concept depends; therefore, on what different ways we can apply the simple principle of the digital world to real life problems and processes of governance. The influence of the technology and may be very little and indirect in emergence of a moralist government. These limited technology interventions can for example, be, in improving the efficiency of anti-corruption agencies, the judiciary, the police and the institution of a strong system of reward and punishment.

Accountability: Who is Accountable to whom and in what way?

At the top of the pyramid is the accountability of the democratically elected political executive to the electorate in fulfilling the political manifesto, through formulation of appropriate policies and overseeing their implementation. The accountability of civil service is to the political executive at the apex level and to various levels of hierarchy from the bottom to the top of the administrative pyramid. They are accountable for design of suitable strategies and action plans and for achievement of goals and strategies. Information technology permits the design, development and implementation of a sophisticated structure of MIS (Management Information System), PES (Performance Evaluation System), EIS (Enterprise Information System) and the like. While such system look powerful enough to suffuse a high intellect of accountability, the flipside is that, if excessively used, they may undermine the established systems of hierarchy and create an environment that is conducive to ‘upward delegation’.


In the context of good governance, means to be alive to the needs of the public and to exhibit the required degree of urgency in responding to such needs. It includes quality of service and its timeliness. Quality and timeliness can both be subjective in the absence of suitable frameworks and instruments to measure them. An important context developed is ‘Citizen Charter’ which is a set of assurances given by the government agencies on the quality of services and the time limit for their delivery. They also enjoin the agencies to compensate the citizen in case of non compliance with the commitments declared in the charter and it play a very important role in areas of public service involving grant of permissions, licenses, certificates and clearances, redressal of complaints, registration of various kinds.

The above are the information’s on e-government. It analyses the few purposes of the setting priorities towards the above. These are cast in the form of 3 thumb rules.

THUMB RUL 1: Focus on Government not on ‘e’

The digital world can be quite colorful and attractive. A form and a report certainly look more impressive on the PC screen. But we must remember that behind the form and the report could lie conceal several layers of bureaucracy that militate against some or all the nice philosophy of governance. A survey done by ‘egov4dev’ during 2002 revealed that only 15% of the e-government projects in developing countries are really successful while 50% are partial failure and 35% are total failure. We cannot start with the presumptuous question, “How do we replace the existing system with an electronic system? Such a presumption may often lead to plenty of electronics but no gains to the ‘government’.

THUMB RULE 2: Focus on Citizens not on computers

We have to appreciate with the fundamental difference between computerization and e government. The former replace existing processes by their electronic counterparts. The latter looks at the needs of the citizens and introduces systems that can precisely meet those needs as being the computer centric and citizen centric. Convenience and cost effectiveness are the XY axes in a citizen-centric approach. This is not in any way to belittle the role of the computers and networks in an e government exercise.

THUMB RULE 3: Focus on transforming the process-not on translating the process

We have touched upon the importance of looking closely at the existing processes in government systems with a view to improving upon them with or with out technological interventions. The end objective of this exercise otherwise known as Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is to arrive at a radically different configuration of the component processes that make a system such that the user experience (UX) is altogether different. The aim is to exploit the power of the technologies in redefining the government processes in an innovative manner. Finding methods and designing systems for transforming ‘inline’ to ‘online’ should be the mantra of e-government. Finally these are the few discrete, well defined processes that happen at the backend in government agencies. These are

ü      Establishing identity of citizens, businesses and property

ü      Assessment of eligibility for permits, licences, benefits, admissions

ü      Accounting for receipts and payments

ü      Reporting for performances

ü      Providing information

The discussion has thrown some light on the e- governance for smart governance. E-governance can positively impact and bring benefits in the areas like law and policy making, regulation and provision of services to constituents. The success however lies in identifying the areas where the deployment of ICT can produce the maximum possible impact on the maximum number of citizens.

LUMINA JULIE.R - About the Author:

Author is working as an assistant professor for SKASC since 2006

Source: http://articleswrap.com/article/e-government-and-smart-governance.html
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