Saturday, February 12, 2005

Editorial: Task Force on E-Governance: Hyphenating “E” with “Governance”


Task Force on E-Governance: Hyphenating “E” with “Governance:” There are Serious Issues on Both Sides of Hyphen

Ravichandran informs us, and thanks to him as no one else has informed us, that a task force to speed up e-governance in states has been set up by Government of India on February 7, 2005. According to him, “In order to re-engineer the government processes and to develop state-wide solution framework options to enhance the interoperability among state governments, the Department of Administrative Reforms & Pensions and Grievances (DAR&PG) and Department of Information Technology (DIT) together set-up a taskforce for e-governance process engineering and scaleable solutions framework on Monday.”

He further states that: “Leading IT majors, management institutions and consultancy majors like the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, (IIM-C); Oracle; Hewlett Packard; PriceWaterhouseCoopers; Intel; Redhat and Liqvid have been selected as the members of the taskforce.”

Ravichandran further informs us that a steering committee too has been set up. In his words: “The steering committee of the taskforce consists of the director of DAR&PG, DIT and one faculty member of IIM-C and one representative from Oracle-HP e-governance Centre of Excellence, according to Oracle.”
The issue is of very considerable importance to us. The issues facing e-governance in India require to be addressed urgently and that too from different perspectives if the potential of e-governance in India is proposed to be realized for the benefit of the citizens. Ravichandran reports:

“In a communication, Oracle said that the taskforce will seek to complete the process re-engineering done by the Centre, state and local governments and also suggest approaches, tools and methodology for re-engineering of government processes. In addition, the taskforce will develop state-wide solution framework tools that enhance interoperability while allowing governments to start encompassing the following:

State-wide government call centre network;
• Kiosk-based delivery of government services or alternative front-end facilitation centres;
• Data-centric view of transactions with citizens seamlessly integrating multiple government agency and stakeholder roles and functions;
• Exploring alternative delivery channels leveraging on wireless and emerging m-governance capabilities; and
• Emergency response and disaster management information system.

According to Oracle, the taskforce will also be responsible for development of a course in cyber law which will address issues of IP, licences, re-purposing, re-use of code and the IT Act 2000. It will also create a digital repository of guidelines for outsourcing and comparative analysis of the various approaches.”

Apparently a tall order has been placed on the task force. Different issues mentioned in the above report not only deserve deliberation but expertise, as there are many “frontier” areas like cyber law where there is no benefit of precedence. Also, the field is fraught with technical issues like inter-operability and open versus proprietary offerings. Moreover, hyphenating “e” with “governance” has serious issues on both sides of the hyphen, that is, within “e” domain as well as in the domain of “governance” which require to be sorted out. Above all, citizen’s perspective needs to be incorporated in the task force. This should not be done by proxy but by providing direct representation of citizens on the task force. After all, e-governance is for the citizens. Is it not?

Dr D.C.Misra
February 11, 2005

*Ravichandran, R., (2005); Taskforce set up to speed up e-governance in states,
The Financial Express, February 8, Tuesday, Net edition, available
(accessed: February 11, 2005) (Dateline: Hyderabad, February 7, 2005)


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