To bring the benefits of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at the last mile to ensure transparent, timely and hassle free delivery of citizen services, Government of India has initiated e-Governance programme in country in the late 1990s. After that, Union Government has approved the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), comprising of 27 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) and 8 components on May 18, 2006 to give a boost to e-Governance initiatives in India. Department of Information Technology (DIT) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DAR&PG) has formulated the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP).
Vision of National e-Governance Plan
National e-Governance Plan has been launched with the aim of improving delivery of Government services to citizens and businesses is guided by the following vision:
“Make all Public Services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man.”
The vision statement clearly underlines these priorities of the Government in fostering good governance:
Accessibility: The vision has been designed keeping the rural population in mind. The need is to reach those sections of the society which have remained tangential to the government sphere due to various reasons like geographical challenges and lack of awareness. National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) has a provision for State Wide Area Network (SWAN) to connect all the government offices upto the block level and Common Service Centres (CSCs) for accessing the citizens from the rural areas.
Common Service Delivery Outlets: At present, citizens especially those living in remote rural areas have to travel long distances to avail a service through a government department or its local offices. This is time-consuming and costly affairs for a common man to access citizen services. To overcome this problem, as a part of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) vision, one computer and internet enabled Common Service Centre (CSC) is envisaged to set up for every six villages so that Villagers can easily avail these services. These Common Service Centres (CSCs) are envisaged to offer online Integrated Service Delivery on ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ basis.
Adopting e-Governance for improving the Governance: The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will enable government to reach citizens thereby improving governance. This will also enable improvement in monitoring and implementing of various government schemes thereby increasing the accountability and transparency in government.
Improve the quality of life of citizens: e-Governance would help in attaining this objective through the provision of citizen centric service delivery at nominal cost, and thereby providing better turnaround times and convenience in demanding and availing services.
Hence, the vision is to use e-Governance as the route for governments to strengthen good governance. All services provided through the various e-Governance initiatives are expected to assist the governments at the Central and State levels in reaching the yet ‘unreached’ and enable involvement and empowerment of marginalized groups through their participation in the government processes thereby contributing towards poverty reduction and bridging the sharp social and economic divide.
Implementation Strategy for National e-Governance Plan
A prudent approach, therefore, is proposed for the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), which is based on lessons learnt from the past and experiences from successful e-Governance applications that have been implemented nationally and internationally. The approach and methodology adopted for National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) contains the following elements:
Common Infrastructure: National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) implementation involves setting up of common and support IT infrastructure such as: State Wide Area Networks (SWANs), State Data Centres (SDCs), Common Services Centres (CSCs) and Electronic Service Delivery Gateways.
Governance: Suitable arrangements for monitoring and coordinating the implementation of National e-Governance Plan under the direction of the competent authorities have been set up. The programme also involves evolving/ laying down standards and policy guidelines, providing technical support, undertaking capacity building, Research and Development etc. Department of Information Technology (DIT) strengthens itself and various institutions like National Informatics Centre (NIC), Standardization, Testing and Quality Certification (STQC), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), National Institute for Smart Governance (NISG) etc., to play these roles effectively.
Centralized Initiative, Decentralized Implementation: e-Governance is being promoted through a centralized initiative to the extent necessary to ensure citizen-centric orientation, realize the objective of inter-operability of various e-Governance applications and ensure optimal utilization of Information and Communication Technology infrastructure and resources while allowing for a decentralized implementation model. It also aims at identifying successful projects and replicating them with required customization wherever needed.
Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) model: It has to be adopted wherever feasible to enlarge the resource pool without compromising on the security aspects.
Integrative elements: Adoption of unique identification codes for citizens, businesses and property is to be promoted to facilitate integration and avoid ambiguity.
Implementation Framework for National e-Governance Plan (NeGP)
Considering the multiplicity of agencies involved in the implementation of National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) and the need for overall aggregation and integration at the national level, it has been decided to implement National e-Governance Plan as a programme, with well-defined roles and responsibilities of each agency involved and to create an appropriate programme management structure and it has already been approved by government. The key components and features of the programme management structure are given in the graphic.
The Strategy for Service Delivery
A common digital service delivery infrastructure consisting of the State Wide Area Network (SWAN), State Data Centre (SDC), National/State Service Delivery Gateway (NSDG/SSDG), State Portal and Common Services Centre (CSC) are being created in every State and Union Territory to ensure seamless and single-window delivery of public services to the common man.
National e-Governance Division (NeGD)
The Department of Information Technology, Government of India has formed the National e-Governance Division (NeGD) as an autonomous business division within Media Lab Asia, under the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India, for assisting Department of Information Technology in the Programme Management of National e-Governance Plan. National e-Governance Plan supports Department of Information Technology in the following tasks:
- Facilitating implementation of Mission Mode Projects by Line Ministries/ State Governments,
- Providing technical assistance to Central Ministries/ State Line Departments,
- Acting as Secretariat to Apex Committee undertaking technical appraisal of all National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) Projects,
- Providing State e-Mission Teams to support States in National e-Governance Plan implementation.
National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) is a large and complex endeavor covering 20 central departments, 35 States/ Union Territories and 360 departments across these states/UTs and nearly 500 implementation agencies. In all it is expected to require 70,000 man-years of effort. Therefore, for National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) to achieve its goals, capacity gap that need to be addressed include engaging experts, developing skills and imparting training. Capacity Building scheme is aimed at addressing the above challenges in a holistic manner including support for creation of State e-Governance Mission Teams (SeMT), Project e-Governance Mission Teams (PeMT) and Human Resource management. This scheme is also meant for initiating through various activities like empanelment of candidates, facilitating States in recruitments and providing orientation and sensitization at various levels of leaders/ officers involved in e-Governance project implementation, orientation for State e-Governance Mission Teams (SeMT), and specialized trainings with centralized curriculum and content development for various level of officers at programme and project levels.
It is envisaged to fill in the three specific capacity gaps in the states, in general:
- Lack of Personnel with appropriate background and aptitude,
- Inadequate skill sets of personnel already deployed
- Lack of appropriate institutional framework to handle the specific program