Amid the euphoria on the launch of scores of digitization programmes, there continue to be serious issues of concern that still remain unaddressed. These issues are critical for the success of e-governance programs aimed at offering various government services to people efficiently, timely and without the need for the people to go to government offices. However, there are several challenges to the execution of e-governance programs and their success. These challenges include low skills in using technology, lack of basic infrastructure and the like.
Network Readiness Index 2016
India ranks 91 in the Network Readiness Index (NRI) 2016, published in World Economic Forum’s `The Global Information Technology Report 2016’.
The report lists 139 countries’ economic readiness to be networked in NRI, and seeks to examine the role of information and technology in fueling innovation. The NRI is a measure of how well a country is prepared to accrue the benefits of new technologies and leverage the opportunities posed by digital transformation.
While framing the index, the report takes into account factors such as institutional framework, as well as policies that are responsible for the country’s full ability to leverage ICT for higher prosperity and catapult the nation on to the global stage.
India’s poor show in NRI
NRI report reveals a sad fact that India has moved to the bottom in the overall rank. This is notwithstanding the multiple policy initiatives in political and regulatory respects. Despite India’s slight improvement in performance, the worsening in the index is because other economies are moving ahead faster than India. Further, issues such as bottlenecks in infrastructure, Internet connectivity, poor technical skills result in poor ICT adoption.
Leading countries in the NRI
Singapore tops the NRI 2016 report in terms of readiness for networking. Finland occupies second place, followed by Sweden (3rd), Norway (4th), and the US (5th). The other countries that are among the top ten in the list are the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, Luxembourg and Japan.This shows network readiness is closely related to per capita income.
Network Readiness Index is also known as technology readiness, and measures the degree to which a country is ready to leverage the opportunities that are offered by information and communication technology. The NRI was originally invented by Information Technology. The NRI takes into account the ICT environment in the country (market, regulatory, and infrastructure environment), the willingness of individual stakeholders including individuals, businesses and government.
The various policy initiatives adopted by the government intend to make positive changes in the economy: improving the efficient service delivery, bring transparency, making government interfaces more citizen-friendly and reducing the chances of corruption. To ensure that the policy initiatives bring the necessary changes, the government should adopt measures that lead to higher utilization of technology in the larger interest of the country.