e-Technology: Effective Implementation of Information Technology
Within days of coming to power the Narendra Modi government has stepped on the gas, a list of top-10 priorities has been released by the Prime Minister’s Office. This list defines the ways by which the NDA government will try to pull the country out of the mess in which the UPA left it. One important point in the list is the specific shift towards use of technology, e-auctions and e-Governance. Even though India has an Information Technology sector worth $100 billion it uses very little Information Technology for bringing improvement in the quality of governance.
|It is necessary that the new e-Governance systems should be simple and cost effective.|
During the time of UPA there was lot of talk about e-Governance, but very little got done. For instance, there is the area of RTI. Why should citizens have to struggle for filing RTIs, when Ministers can voluntarily place information on websites? The much needed transparency can come automatically once the Parliamentary debates, meeting minutes, statements related to budgets and documents, arguments and discussions leading to key decisions, etc., become available to everyone on government websites. Through the use of Information Technology, it can be ensured that the ministers and the bureaucrats do not shirk their responsibilities.
You don’t need to do much for bringing transparency. If the UPA government really wanted to bring transparency and accountability, all it needed to do is implement some very simple measures like online tracking of documents, files or applications by citizens and the media. Now the Modi government is moving ahead with computerisation of various components of the government and public administration, such as e-files, computerised ministries, and electronically available information about officers. Once fully implemented this system will lead to greater efficiency in public administration.
The Modi government has already issued notifications to the bureaucrats that the pending files in all departments have to be cleared within three weeks. At his widely reported meeting with 77 secretaries, Narendra Modi urged them to identify 10 laws that are “redundant” and “archaic” and initiate moves for their repeal. Such small and efficient government is only possible if there is optimal usage of Information Technology. The thrust of Narendra Modi’s governance is clearly to move India towards an e-society.
The NDA government has inherited a whole range of problems in the telecom and IT sector that are a legacy of the last government. India can become an efficient e-society only if the telecom and IT sectors are strong. The issues related to these sectors have to be resolved as quickly as possible and a system has to be develop to encourage the usage of telecom services, network and ICT solutions across all the Ministries. The effective implementation of e-Governance initiatives also needs capacity building amongst government employees. New academic courses and modules will have to be developed not just at school and college levels, but across the employees in the Centre and States.
It is necessary that the new e-Governance systems should be simple and cost effective. If the system is too complicated or two costly, it may having a negative impact on the governance and economy. Whether the focus is on government-to-citizen, government-to-business or government-to-government, there is a need to implement new ideas in Information Technology in a cost-effective manner. When there is private cloud available, what is the need for state governments to go in for State Data Centres? Also today it is possible to have a better connectivity through a cheap datacard than through SWAN networks.