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Public Administration for Social Change

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  • Published
    24th Aug, 2021


Governance became an inevitable evolution in successful governance in the modem era. As a coordinator and service provider, the Governments are required to embrace Information and Cornmunication Technology to meet the demands of their citizens.

                                            'Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and transparent' (SMART) Governance became the order of the day to build effective and efficient governance. India being the largest democracy in the world, started adopting e-govemance in the 1970s and adopted the change quickly, and progressed towards good governance policy at a rapid speed.

E- Governance

  • The e-Governance aims to make the interaction between government and citizens (G2C), government and business enterprises (G2B), and inter-agency relationships (G2G) convenient, transparent, friendly, effective, and cost-effective.
  • Four phases of e-governance
    • Phase 1- Information; Phase Interaction;
    • Phase III-Transaction;
    • Phase IV-Transformation.

  • To overcome the challenges such as inter-operability, infrastructural challenges, digital divide and Covid-19 pandemic, etc., India is taking new initiatives to develop the overall effectiveness of service delivery mechanism from a citizen's perspective and trying to bridge the gap between urban and rural e-governance structures.
  • The Government of India introduced the National e-Governance Services Delivery Assessment (NeSDA) framework in August 2019 to assess the effectiveness of the e-Governance initiatives of the different government departments from the central to the local level.
  • The Online Service Index (OSI) of NeSDA is based on the UNDESA e-Govemance survey to develop the e-Governance structure of India at an international standard.

National e-Governance Plan (NeGP)

  • VISION: "Make all Government servicesaccessible to the common manin his locality, through commonservice delivery outlets andensure efficiency, transparency& reliability of such services ataffordable costs to realize the basicneeds of the common man ".
  • The following strategy, approach& methodology is adopted forsuccessful implementation of theNeGP:
    • Common Support Infrastructuressuch as SWANs, SDCs, CSCs,and Electronic Service DeliveryGateways.
    • Suitable governance systemsdevelopment to monitor andcoordinate the implementation ofNeGP.
    • Centralised Initiative,Decentralized Implementation.
    • Public-Private Partnership
    • Integrative elements
    • Programme approach at the National and State levels.
    • Facilitator role of' DIT IIIimplementation of NeGP byvarious Ministries and StateGovernments by providingtechnical assistance.
    • Ownership of Ministries overMission Mode Projects (MMPs)

Digital India Initiative

  • The Digital India Initiative was launched in the year 2015 to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas by promoting investment in digital infrastructure, fostering digital literacy, and expanding online services provision.
  • The vision of the Digital India programme is to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by focusing on the following key vision areas:
    • Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.
    • Governance & Services On demand
    • Digital empowerment of citizens
  • Digital India is designed as an umbrella programme that coversmultiple Government Ministries andDepartments. The overall coordinationof the Digital India Programme is doneby the Department of Electronics andInformation Technology (DietY) witha focus on nine pillars of growth areas,i.e., Broadband Highways; UniversalAccess to Mobile Connectivity;

Public Internet Access Programme; e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology;e-Kranti Electronic Deliveryof Services; Information for All;

Electronics Manufacturing; IT for Jobs and Early Harvest Programmes. Eachthrust area further has subcomponentsand cuts across multiple Ministries andDepartments.

National e-Governance Services Delivery Assessment (NeSDA)

  • NeSDA was launched to promote the participation of various departments and ministries at State and Central level to adopt the e-Government framework in day-to-day functioning.
  • To encourage e-participation of citizens and businesses in policymaking and to help India in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • To provide efficient public service delivery to all levels of population in the country by reducing the digital divide.
  • To develop innovative and improved public service delivery by developing ICT infrastructure capacity building and to develop a simple single entry point for all e-services at every level of governance i.e., from central to local self-governance.
  • The parameters of assessing under NeSDA are accessibility, ease of use, 'end service delivery, integrated service delivery, content availability, information security & privacy, and status and request tracking.

E-Governance & Covid-19 Pandemic

  • During the current pandemic, e-governance stepped into the central role as a necessary element of communication, leadership, and coordination between policymakers, administration, and society.
  • Digital technologies established through e-governance initiatives became an important source for sharing knowledge, encouraging collaborative research, and providing transparent guidance to the citizens.
  • E-governance became an important ICT tool for disseminating Covid-19 related data in a more transparent, safe, interoperable, and secure manner.
  • The online database of Covid-19 cases, lockdown guidelines, travel restrictions, locating the vacant beds in the hospitals, oxygen cylinders, financial assistance,and relief distribution, etc., werecarried out only through e-governanceinfrastructure.
  • Jan Dhan Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) delivery system becamethe main vehicle for the distributionof the cash payments, rations of foodsupplies through the public distributionsystem, the distribution of the reliefpackage under Pradhan MantriGaribKalyan (PMGK) scheme supported thepeople in the pandemic.
  • AarogyaSetu App and Co-WIN App are the main e-governancetools that supported the citizens andgovernment to trace the Covid patientsand manage the vaccination.
  • E-Doctor tele-video consultation facilitieshave been launched as an alternativeto reduce hospital visits.

Challenges and Way Forward

  • The scope of the e-governance projects expanded at an unexpected speed during Covid-19, by adding many new features and innovativee-infrastructure. The population of India now connected with e-govemancecan be considered as one of the largestdatabases in the world having personal information of people.
  • The importantchallenge ahead of the sudden surgeof the ambit of e-govemance in the post-Covid scenario is assuring a secure, effective, reliable, transparent system that is reconciled with thebasic rights and values guaranteed in the Constitution of India.
  • Another challenge in e-govemance is to adopt new methods to decrease the digital divide and to promote inclusive e-govemance for achieving the promise, 'to leave nobody behind'.
  • In the post-Covid scenario, thegovernment is required to developeffective e-govemance through:
    • Interoperability of e-govemance
    • Infrastructure between intergovernmental departments andagencies
    • Developing inclusive e-governancestructure to make sure thatthere is no one is left out
    • Legislating effective data protection
    • Law and administrative regulations
    • Enhancing data security levels toavoid data leakage, misuse, etc.
    • Reducing digital divide by creating an inclusive digital ecosystem,e-literacy for inclusiveness,improving accessibility for higheruptake
    • Mandatory sector-specific service focus to attain SDO goals
    • Embracing New Age Technologies (NAT) for improved service delivery and focusing onintegrated service delivery.

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