Over the years, a large number of initiatives have been undertaken by various State Governments and Central Ministries to usher in an era of e-Government.
Sustained efforts have been made at multiple levels to improve the delivery of public services and simplify the process of accessing them.
E-Governance in India has steadily evolved from computerization of Government Departments to initiatives that encapsulate the finer points of Governance, such as citizen centricity, service orientation and transparency. Lessons from previous e-Governance initiatives have played an important role in shaping the progressive e-Governance strategy of the country.
Due cognizance has been taken of the notion that to speed up e-Governance implementation across the various arms of Government at National, State, and Local levels, a programme approach needs to be adopted, guided by common vision and strategy. This approach has the potential of enabling huge savings in costs through sharing of core and support infrastructure, enabling interoperability through standards, and of presenting a seamless view of Government to citizens.
The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), takes a holistic view of e-Governance initiatives across the country, integrating them into a collective vision, a shared cause. Around this idea, a massive countrywide infrastructure reaching down to the remotest of villages is evolving, and large-scale digitization of records is taking place to enable easy, reliable access over the internet. The ultimate objective is to bring public services closer home to citizens, as articulated in the Vision Statement of NeGP.
The Government approved the National e- Governance Plan, comprising of 27 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) and 8 components, on May 18, 2006. Department of Information Technology (DIT) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DAR&PG) has formulated the National e-Governance Plan.
Vision of NeGP
National e-Governance Plan has been launched with the aim of improving delivery of Government services to citizens and businesses is guided by the following vision: “Make all Public Services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man.
The vision statement clearly underlines these priorities of the Government in fostering good governance:
The vision has been designed keeping the rural population in mind. The need is to reach those sections of the society which have remained tangential to the government sphere due to various reasons like geographical challenges and lack of awareness. National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) has a provision for State Wide Area Network (SWAN) to connect all the government offices upto the block level and Common Service Centres (CSCs) for accessing the citizens from the rural areas.
Common Service Delivery Outlets:
At present, citizens especially those living in remote rural areas have to travel long distances to avail a service through a government department or its local offices. This is time-consuming and costly affairs for a common man to access citizen services.
To overcome this problem, as a part of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) vision, one computer and internet enabled Common Service Centre (CSC) is envisaged to set up for every six villages so that Villagers can easily avail these services. These Common Service Centres (CSCs) are envisaged to offer online Integrated Service Delivery on ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ basis.
Adopting e-Governance for improving the Governance:
The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will enable government to reach citizens thereby improving governance. This will also enable improvement in monitoring and implementing of various government schemes thereby increasing the accountability and transparency in government.
Improve the quality of life of citizens:
E- Governance would help in attaining this objective through the provision of citizen centric service delivery at nominal cost, and thereby providing better turnaround times and convenience in demanding and availing services.
Hence, the vision is to use e-Governance as the route for governments to strengthen good governance. All services provided through the various e-Governance initiatives are expected to assist the governments at the Central and State levels in reaching the yet ‘unreached’ and enable involvement and empowerment of marginalized groups through their participation in the government processes thereby contributing towards poverty reduction and bridging the sharp social and economic divide.
Implementation Strategy for NeGP
A prudent approach, therefore, is proposed for the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), which is based on lessons learnt from the past and experiences from successful e-Governance applications that have been implemented nationally and internationally. The approach and methodology adopted for National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) contains the following elements:
National e- Governance Plan (NeGP) implementation involves setting up of common and support IT infrastructure such as: State Wide Area Networks (SWANs), State Data Centres (SDCs), Common Services Centres (CSCs) and Electronic Service Delivery Gateways.
Suitable arrangements for monitoring and coordinating the implementation of National e-Governance Plan under the direction of the competent authorities have been set up. The programme also involves evolving/ laying down standards and policy guidelines, providing technical support, undertaking capacity building, Research and Development etc.
Department of Information Technology (DIT) strengthens itself and various institutions like National Informatics Centre (NIC), Standardization, Testing and Quality Certification (STQC), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), National Institute for Smart Governance (NISG) etc., to play these roles effectively.
Centralized Initiative, Decentralized Implementation:
E-Governance is being promoted through a centralized initiative to the extent necessary to ensure citizen-centric orientation, realize the objective of inter-operability of various e-Governance applications and ensure optimal utilization of Information and Communication Technology infrastructure and resources while allowing for a decentralized implementation model. It also aims at identifying successful projects and replicating them with required customization wherever needed.
Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) model:
It has to be adopted wherever feasible to enlarge the resource pool without compromising on the security aspects.
Integrative elements: Adoption of unique identification codes for citizens, businesses and property is to be promoted to facilitate integration and avoid ambiguity.
The Strategy for Service Delivery
A common digital service delivery infrastructure consisting of the State Wide Area Network (SWAN), State Data Centre (SDC), National/State Service Delivery Gateway (NSDG/SSDG), State Portal and Common Services Centre (CSC) are being created in every State and Union Territory to ensure seamless and single-window delivery of public services to the common man.
National e-Governance Division (NeGD)
The Department of Information Technology, Government of India has formed the National e- Governance Division (NeGD) as an autonomous business division within Media Lab Asia, under the Ministry of Communication and Information
Technology, Government of India, for assisting Department of Information Technology in the Programme Management of National e- Governance Plan. National e-Governance Plan supports Department of Information Technology in the following tasks:
i. Facilitating implementation of Mission Mode Projects by Line Ministries/ State Governments,
ii. Providing technical assistance to Central Ministries/ State Line Departments,
iii. Acting as Secretariat to Apex Committee undertaking technical appraisal of all National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) Projects,
iv. Providing State e-Mission Teams to support States in National e-Governance Plan implementation.
The e-District MMP under the NeGP aims to target certain high volume services currently not covered by any other MMP under the NeGP, and undertake backend computerization to enable the delivery of these services through CSCs. In January and March 2009, the pilot project went live in 6 districts of Uttar Pradesh (Ghaziabad, Gautam Budha Nagar, Rae Bareli, Sitapur, Gorakhpur and Sultanpur) with a few services.
Progressively more services were added, and currently, 15 out of 22 services are live. In November 2009, pilot projects in five districts of Tamil Nadu and one district of Assam went live. In Assam, the pilot project is live in Goalpara district with 22 services and it is expected that in Sonitpur the pilot will go live in December 2009. In Tamil Nadu, the pilot project went live hi Ariyalur, Coimbatore, Krishnagiri, and Perambalur & Tiruvarur.