Democratic set-up of India gives rights for better education, health and finance to it’s all citizen but the vastness and demography of country also present challenges for some of its citizen to use this very basic rights. It is not that in past it was never tried but in this age of information technology, we have really not used the digital technology to render the good citizen services and better governance. Digital Technology, is a great enabler. It can help to deliver responsive, efficient services effectively with better transparency, adherence to rules of law with equitable and inclusive participation by citizens.
The 2 quotes by eminent personality from technology field are great pointers.
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them” – Einstein
“Excellence is not by accident. It is a process, where an individual or organisation or nation continuously strives to better oneself”,- Dr. APJ Kalam
India has to think innovative solutions to solve old problems. Government can be a great catalyst to build the Infrastructure and play the lead. But it has to be a participatory approach from many parties, be it is a local government, industries and local people. While government can pitch in with policies, directive and infrastructure it is the people and industry that need to voice their needs then demand, negotiate and accept in no uncertain terms for better quality of life.
When the simple tasks like getting information licences, land records etc. becomes cumbersome, people resort to innovative shortcuts. Indians have no dearth of intelligence, if an appropriate mechanism is available to channelise this into constructive ideas, I am pretty sure India would do wonders.
As I visualise the eGovernance delivery and success will largely depend on (PIDS) People, Infrastructure, Devices and Software. While implementors and service receptors are key people always involved, it is Government that will be key for making it happen in terms of infrastructure. There has to be stick and carrot approach to drive the change and implementation by envisaging key policy decisions. Devices and Software will primarily be third party affair with government just facilitating it. My belief is on the software and content side that will really drive the participation from the local masses.
National Fiber Optic network will soon provide the connectivity to the remotest corner of the country, bureaucrats and officers needs to envisage the ways to utilise it to deliver customised content and services. To me, it seems very clear the participation of the masses will increase only if the project solves their problem on day to day basis. Some corp orates have used ingenuity to use IT to promote their brand through social cause. Companies like Intel (http://www.intel.in/) have already launched the programs for skill up-gradation #DigitalIndia, while others like ITC are using satellite connectivity for providing the information on weather, grain prices and promoting their products in rural economy. This is a win-win approach where people benefits and company also promote their products and goodwill.
eGovernance can really make a huge impact in a country like India by touching life of a common man in the remotest corner as if used properly it can be scaled in a very short span of time. Today where in some villages, letters are still delivered by postman on foot, yet they do have a presence of local post office. This can have a lasting changes in the social and economic landscape of India increasing productivity and boosting economic welfare.
Jandhan Yojna is already started changing the socio-political scene in panchayats and blocks where local head also used to be the wealthiest person in local society. Now villagers need depend on the local banker for loan or deposits for social events like marriages
Some state government has successfully experimented with the providing linkages for providing land records through computer printouts at local villages at nominal prices. This saves villagers to travel to distrcit or tahsils to get information, gives local employment and economics work as villagers need waste time and money travelling to town. The increased awareness and economic prosperity has/will make the villagers more confident, willing to take risk and contribute more by being innovative.
As the services like telemedicine, eAgri advice, Educational classes on video etc are implemented it will provide solutions to shortage of skilled professional for teaching, medicines etc. this will make the citizens even more aware and conscious and ultimately making the Indian Democratic set-up more stronger.
However, as with all tools, effectiveness of the Digital India will depend on the speed of execution and quality of implementation. Implementation of digital technology is going to impact some very important stakeholders in the very institution who may be going to implement.