Day 69 – Q 3.What potential applications can urban e-governance have as a measure to address the current socio-economic challenges in India’s cities. Discuss.
3. What potential applications can urban e-governance have as a measure to address the current socio-economic challenges in India’s cities. Discuss.
भारत के शहरों में वर्तमान सामाजिक–आर्थिक चुनौतियों को दूर करने के उपाय के रूप में शहरी ई–गवर्नेंस के पास कौन से संभावित अनुप्रयोग हो सकते हैं। चर्चा करें।
ICT is vital for the economic growth and development of our cities. Electronic governance or e-governance is the application of information and communication technology (ICT) for delivering government services at the doorstep of customers, business and other stakeholders. The primary role of e-governance is to simplify the process of governance, by making it more transparent and accountable using information and communication technology.
- There are four pillars of E-Governance:-
- CONNECTIVITY 2. KNOWLEDGE
- DATA CONTENT 4. CAPITAL
- In context of today’s cities, the diagram shown depicts the challenges for urban governance where e-governance can play a vital role in overcoming them.
The potential of e-governance for cities can be seen from the following points :
- Alternative approaches to e-governance, with trends towards bottoms up approach while balancing it with top down minimal approach. This can help in tackling transportation issues in cities.
- Adoption of technologies by governments to have effective and interactive relationships with citizens and businesses (focus on communication). For example, Sanitation issues can be tackled through the use of interactive mediums and bulletin board approach.
- Significant efforts to be made towards developing common policy frameworks, through ad hoc legislation, in the domain of e-governance. A number of e-governance/ICT solutions like water quality monitoring, leakage identification, public information and grievance redressal can be integrated.
- Existence of a digital divide between people, cities and regions in terms of ability and capacity to exploit information and communication technologies to achieve policy goals should be tackled through exploring innovative funding methods like crowdfunding.
- The earlier e-municipality project, which was a part of the National e-Governance Plan, envisaged implementation of 11 modules including birth and death registration, property and water tax billing, accrual based accounting, grievance redress and others. In most cities, these modules have been developed by different vendors as stand-alone systems and do not form part of one integrated system with single point data entry. This can be overcome by adopting the european model i.e EU Platform for Intelligent Cities (EPIC) initiative which was first operationalised in 2010.
- A promising recent policy initiative is the Electronic Services Delivery (EDS) Bill which is with the Parliament at present. This proposed legislation makes it compulsory for all government agencies to begin delivering their services in an electronic mode. All services that can be provided electronically must be so provided. There is a provision for independent EDS Commissions at the central and state level that will monitor provision of electronic delivery of services.
- Urbanisation is also ushering in traffic congestion and dust, leading to air pollution in Delhi. Each Indian city is heavily polluted and no wonder, 22 out of the world’s 30 most polluted cities happen to be in India. E-governance can provide paradigm change with decentralised approach which will necessitate less travel and optimum route planning.
With all its given potential, use of E-governance faces some significant challenges –
- Maintenance and upkeep of a complex system for all the services
- Privacy of the citizens
- Security of the system & authenticity of information
- Crossing the language barrier
However, upon addressing these issues, E-governance can bring about transformation by –
- Empowering citizens by bridging the knowledge gap
- Enabling data driven and evidence based planning
- By bringing about large scale impact with incremental small scale, and
- System reform, through transparency, efficiency and accountability.
All smart cities around the world have used e-governance as an effective tool to serve citizens efficiently, re-engineer internal business processes, increase transparency, accountability & citizen participation and use resources in an environmentally friendly manner. This becomes even more important for India in the context of the stated goal to have a $5 trillion economy by 2024 where cities will play the most prominent role.