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Q8. e-governance, as a critical tool of governance, has ushered in effectiveness, transparency and accountability in governments. What inadequacies hamper the enhancement of these features? 10

 

 

Introduction:

A new paradigm shift has been developed in the field of governance through the application of ICT in the processes of governing called electronic governance or e-governance.

 

Body:

e-governance has ushered in effectiveness, transparency and accountability in governments:

  • Effectiveness: e-governance in India has significantly improved the effectiveness of government services and delivery mechanisms.
    • For instance, the Digital India program has focused on digitizing government processes and services, reducing bureaucratic delays.
  • Transparency: Initiatives in India, such as the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) and e-Procurement, have enhanced transparency in government operations.
  • Accountability: Online portals like the Right to Information (RTI) Act portal enable citizens to access information and government documents.
    • e-tendering processes in government procurement enhance accountability by eliminating human intervention and favouritism.
  • Responsiveness: Online grievance redressal systems, such as the Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS), enable citizens to lodge complaints and receive timely responses from government authorities.
  • Citizen-centric: The MyGov platform and Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) app offers citizens a single platform for accessing a wide range of government services and information.

Inadequacies hamper the enhancement of these features:

  • Digital divide: It remains a significant challenge, with many citizens lacking access and/or skills to use the internet and digital devices.
    • This disparity limits the reach and impact of e-governance initiatives, particularly in rural and remote areas.
  • Infrastructure: Inadequate digital infrastructure, including internet connectivity and reliable electricity supply, can hinder the effectiveness of e-governance efforts.
  • Privacy concerns: The collection and storage of personal data in e-governance systems raise concerns about privacy and data security.
    • The recent Data Protection Act too faces criticism for allegedly being inadequate.
  • Cybersecurity: Strengthening cybersecurity measures is crucial to safeguard sensitive government and citizen information.
    • Citizen AADHAR data is being sold on the dark web en masse.
  • Digital red tape: While e-governance aims to streamline processes, it can inadvertently introduce new forms of digital red tape and complexity, potentially frustrating citizens and businesses.
  • Data silos and Interoperability: Lack of interoperability between different e-governance systems and platforms can lead to data fragmentation and hinder seamless data exchange between government departments.
  • Language barriers: India’s linguistic diversity poses a challenge for e-governance, as many citizens are more comfortable with regional languages. Ensuring multilingual support in e-governance platforms is essential for inclusivity.

Conclusion:

Addressing these inadequacies requires a concerted effort from government authorities, policymakers, and technology stakeholders. Furthermore, bridging the digital divide to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their location or socio-economic background, can benefit from e-governance initiatives is paramount.