It is evident that e-Governance is intrinsically linked with the development of computer technology, networking of computers and communication systems. In developing countries, such technologies and systems became available with a perceptible time lag as compared to developed nations. However, in the case of India, with the liberalization of the economy from the early 1990s onwards, there has been a convergence in the availability of cutting edge technologies and opportunities in the field of e-Governance. Generally speaking, the Indian experience demonstrates that the onset of e-Governance proceeded through the following phases:
Computerisation: In the first phase, with the availability of personal computers, a large number of Government offices got equipped with computers. The use of computers began with word processing, quickly followed by data processing.
Networking: In this phase, some units of a few government organizations got connected through a hub leading to sharing of information and flow of data between different government entities.
On-line presence: With increasing internet connectivity, a need was felt for maintaining a presence on the web. This resulted in maintenance of websites by government departments and other entities. Generally, these web-pages/ web-sites contained information about the organizational structure, contact details, reports and publications, objectives and vision statements of the respective government entities.
On-line interactivity: A natural consequence of on-line presence was opening up of communication channels between government entities and the citizens,civil society organizations etc. The main aim at this stage was to minimize the scope of personal interface with government entities by providing downloadable Forms, Instructions, Acts, Rules etc. In some cases, this has already led toon-line submission of Forms. Most citizen-government transactions have the potential of being put on e-Governance mode.e-Governance facilitates interaction between different stake holders in governance.
Benefits of e-Governance
- Better access to information and quality services for citizens
- Simplicity, efficiency and accountability in the government
Expanded reach of governance
These interactions may be described as follows:
G2G (Government to Government)
In this case, Information and communications Technology is used not only to restructure the governmental processes involved in the functioning of government entities but also to increase the flow of information and services within and between different entities. This kind of interaction is only within the sphere of government and can be both horizontal i.e. between different government agencies as well as between different functional areas within an organisation, or vertical i.e. between national, provincial and local government agencies as well as between different levels within an organisation. The primary objective is to increase efficiency, performance and output.
G2C (Government to Citizens)
In this case, an interface is created between the government and citizens which enables the citizens to benefit from efficient delivery of a large range of public services. This expands the availability and accessibility of public services on the one hand and improves the quality of services on the other. It gives citizens the choice of when to interact with the government (e.g. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), from where to interact with the government (e.g. service centre, unattended kiosk or from one’s home/workplace) and how to interact with the government (e.g. through internet, fax, telephone, email, face-to-face, etc). The primary purpose is to make government, citizen-friendly.
G2B (Government to Business)
G2E (Government to Employees)
Government is by far the biggest employer and like any organisation, it has to interact with its employees on a regular basis. This interaction is a two-way process between the organisation and the employee. Use of IcT tools helps in making these interactions fast and efficient on the one hand and increase satisfaction levels of employees on the other.