Monday, March 30, 2015

Egovernance...bringing the government to the common man's desktop

I grew up in the eighties and nineties. Access to the government was almost nil. Once you had voted for them, it was the end of that. Who knew what happened between that and the next election?

Was the nation really progressing?
- What were the government's plans to get there?
- What was the proof of progress?
- How could we, as common citizens participate in this process?
- We had to stand in lines for forms and other Government documents.
- If we had a problem or complaint, we didn't know who to get in touch with.

For us, any government procedure meant a shudder down our spines. Anything to do with a form and a government process meant long lines to get forms and even longer lines to get the work done. People in the city at least had access to the offices…but people who lived in suburbs, smaller towns and rural areas had it real bad. It meant a trudge all the way to the nearest city and then waiting and more waiting. From passport applications to railway tickets to board exam results to school and college forms…everything was drudgery.

Then…the internet came into India and just about everything changed. This wonderful superhighway of information and data has changed things a lot more than even what we could have ever imagined. The Indian Government was quick to understand the merits of this superhighway.

What is the meaning of EGovernance?
Very simply put, egovernence means using the electronic media (internet/ information kiosks etc.) to make government services available to citizens.

Some of its benefits to us common citizens are are…
  1. Access to information related to the Government which is of public importance like procedures, laws, forms etc.Giving details about officials and offices, address, contact details so we can get in touch with the right person.
  2. Encourage citizen participation
    We all want to do our bit for the country but very few of us know how. E-governence will guide us with detailed information on relevant websites.This participation could be as big as participating in the cleaning of the Ganga or standing for local elections or something as small as cleaning your locality, participating in the administration etc.
  3. Keeping tabs on Government progress
    All government working and details will be available for the common man to see so we basically know what is happening in the country and are more informed.
  4. To bring the government and citizens closer
    Directly via the internet. In the real world, there is hardly any interaction between the government and people. With egovernence and the increasing usage of social media like facebook and twitter, we have all seen how easy it is to gain access to important people of the government including the Prime Minister. It also makes it easier for the government to gain access to citizen feedback from far away nook and corners of the country.
  5. Reducing expenditure
    On stationery as well as saving time on dispensing information which can be done at the click of a button. Right now, the Government spends a huge amount of money printing information related stationery. Currently, almost every information is available via the internet. One just has to log on and get instant access to information.
  6. Reducing red-tapism and discouraging bribery
    When information is easily available over the internet, access to government services becomes that much easier. With no middle men, bureaucracy, or chance for corruption, the common man’s work is made much easier and faster.
  7. Dispensing forms and other important documents
    Earlier, one had to visit government offices for forms and documents for any application or procedure. All this is now available on the internet. Just log on, click and download.
 Here are some important websites which you can refer to, to know more about the Indian E-Governance and #Digitalindia. Click on the pic and it will take you there...Any of you wanting to share some more websites of importance, feel free to comment and I will add it to this list.
The official Indian Government website where you will get information
about everything...from taxes to passport to visa to education to electricity.
Yet another website which gives access to important information about
basic things like ration cards, election cards etc.

The inspiration for this post came from a topic posted by Intel India about how India can benefit from Egovernance. 

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