The National e-Governance Plan can ensure that higher devolution of funds translates into improved outcomes.
Today, technology is being widely used for empowerment of people. By empowerment of people using technology, we mean that the application of technology results in better economic and social gains for people. This leads to considerable growth across every sector of the economy – agriculture, services, manufacturing, business and government services. Further, technology helps in optimal decision-making, ensures stakeholders’ participation, helps to deliver services efficiently, and leads to transparency, accountability, and rule of law – all leading to good governance.
Technology may result in an estimated income of $550 to 1,000 billion per annum by 2025, and is likely to help improve the lives of close to 680 million people, which is tantamount to 56% of India lacking basic human needs.
The 14th Finance Commission recommends and earmarks an amount of more than Rs 2 lakh crore from the Union Government directly to the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats.
E-governance to empower: e-panchayat
The National e-Governance Plan aims to enable low income group citizens to access government services through common service delivery outlets. E-Panchayat, a part of Mission Mode Projects (MMP), has come up as a program that seeks to empower people by making governance better in rural local bodies – gram panchayats, block panchayats and district panchayats.
Objective of e-Panchayat
Transforming the functions of panchayats as a whole, applying integrated technological solutions to meet challenges such as lack of infrastructure, and poor power supply, is the objective of e-Panchayat. The more challenging situations are political, economic, and the social divide among people, and also the divide resulting from gender, caste, age, communal and other parameters.
States that have initiated e-panchayat
Gujarat, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Goa have already launched the e-Panchayat initiative. However, in order to make good progress in the functioning of panchayats, and consequently improving the quality of livelihood, the process needs to be participatory. Of course, e-Panchayat program is likely to enable people’s participation in economic progress. Significantly, people themselves need to participate in identifying, judging the quality of the schemes and welfare activities that are relevant to them.
How e-Panchayat works
e-Panchayat involves making processes of all panchayats automatic, covering about 30 elected people and a few lakh panchayats. Information and Service Needs Assessment (ISNA), Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and Detailed Project Reports (DPR) for every State/UT are some of the projects that are likely to help transform the system of local governance.
Cloud computing, m-governance, mobile applications, work automation, digital payments based on digital identity can enable provision of government services to remote rural areas. E-governance can enable e-health care, e-agricultural extension and e-learning to reach the low income and vulnerable groups.
Technologies that are being implemented for the growth of the economy can enable governance to be economical, citizen-oriented and participatory, and simultaneously empowering the poor.