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Monday, September 9, 2002

Increasing govt efficiency with ‘e’
Kulwant Kaur

ELECTRONIC governance (e-governance) is the application of Information Technology (IT) to the processes of government’s functioning to bring about Simple Moral Accountable Responsive and Transport governance. SMART governance in a nutshell.

E-governance, through technological innovation, has changed all basic characters of governance, operational methodology, functional style and ideological orientation. IT offers a package of efficiency, timeboundness, cost effectivity and transparency. Computer network and the Internet are the major tools of e-governance. In order to make government authorities more responsible and accountable there is a need to identify functional areas in every ministry or department.

For this central and state governments will have to develop and link already existing databases to the public domain. Both the central and state governments should make knowledge of computers an essential qualification for recruitment and promotion at various levels.


E-governance can reduce the procedural and postal delays involved in the current system. This might help control corruption and increase participation of people in policy decision process by improving the degrees of communication between government and public.


E-governance is a big project so it should be implemented in a phased manner. Certain technical issues that may crop up might involve hardware and software related problems. As far as social acceptance issues are concerned, stress would need to be given on proper planning so that maximum interaction with public is identified for the use of IT. Major areas can be public grievances, (electricity, transport, raion card) rural services (land records), police (FIR registration, lost and found valuables), public information (pension, registration of licences and certification, birth and death certificates), agriculture sector (seeds information, crop disease, fertilisers, weather forecast), utility payments/billing etc.

Legal aspect

E-governance demands amendment to the existing law. Besides that we would need cyber laws. Amendment is to be needed at central as well as state level. In order to give the project a specific focus, it would have to be financed under a separate budget head. This would also enable mission critical linkages and avoid rework and duplication.


Various states have taken initiatives in the direction of e-governance. Andhra Pradesh is the leader in this. Chandigarh has initiated project telemedicine interconnecting three medical institutes viz PGI, Chandigarh, AIIMS, New Delhi, and SGPG, Lucknow, using ISDN. Punjab proposes to set up hi-tech habitats.