Step Closer to Digitization

By: Raj Pareek

E-governance possesses the potential to offer citizen the choice of accessing government information and services as and when required. The rules, procedures in the government can be made transparent to the citizen and the information can be made freely available to them.

But all efforts at e-governance would be futile if information is not available to the key people of administration and a common user as and where required. In order to do so mobile communication system can play a very important role in providing information as and where required as in the recent survey only 25% of rural population is penetrated and there is huge scope to bring the common man close to the policies available and to avail benefits of the same, and internet usage is much lesser.

“Digital India” initiative, the urban-rural divide is actually more acute than it appears when it comes to Internet penetration across the country, a new report said on Tuesday.

While Internet penetration in urban India was at 64.84 per cent in December 2017 compared to 60.6% in December 2016, the rural Internet penetration has grown only a little — from 18% in 2016 to 20.26% in December 2017.

“Even through the growth rate in rural India may seem higher, it is mainly due to low-base effect, given total Internet users in rural India are still critically low,” said the report titled “Internet in India 2017” released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and market research firm IMRB Kantar.

An estimated 182.9 mn urban users access Internet daily as compared to 98 mn users in rural India. 

Almost double the proportion of rural users access Internet less than a month in rural India as compared to urban India.

“The number of Internet users are growing in rural areas, yet the bridge between urban and rural is vast. There are potential 732 million new Internet users in rural India.

“The bridge can be divided if adequate infrastructure is put in place, and the last-mile connectivity is improved. Putting in place adequate infrastructure is essential to have deeper Internet penetration in rural areas,” he added.

According to the report, the skewedness of the Internet is further proven by the fact that the top nine cities account for 35 per cent of all urban Internet users. 

Number of internet users in India 462m

Active mobile social media penetration in India –15%

The rural Internet penetration has grown only a little — from 18 per cent in 2016 to 20.26 per cent in December 2017, This is worrisome.

The private telecom operators and the system integrators should be allowed and encouraged  to use the existing infrastructure which is already in place in the rural sector like we have more than 7 thousand railway stations which can really help in providing broadband connectivity and data centers, we have lacs of cooperative societies in the country which can be used  as micro finance institutions (MFI) and with 1,55,618 post offices and over 5,66,000 employees we can really do wonders in each and every mission mode project., we should utilize our strengths and involve all the relevant institutions and companies to come forward and deliver.

All the 3 departments Railways, Postal and Cooperative is very close to the rural population and people believe and trust on these departments and by having these 3 strong pillars the objectives can be well achieved.

We should develop simple applications which can be easily understood by the rural citizen and at the same point of time he should be attracted towards the technology and should start believing in the mobile technology that this can do much more than only connecting them through voice.

This can also help in bringing down the level of corruption because most of the thing will be transparent and close to people, filling up information on mobile getting triggers on all the schemes, the money getting transferred through mobile in there accounts, availing facility of loan, PDS etc. through mobile will bring a revolution and this time it will be much bigger then any one’s expectation, a collective and cooperative effort is required.

Mobile phones provide a new platform through which rural communities will be able to access government information and services, using text, data, and audio browsing techniques

This study explains architecture for the E-Government system; its main concepts, objectives, most common applications, famous worldwide experiences and the E-Government in India. It introduces the E-Government model as a modern evolution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and how to convert the life of societies to the communication and networked age. It presents the experiences of countries like USA, UK, Singapore, UAE and Egypt.

E-Government can be defined as a process of conducting business between the public and the government through the use of automated systems and the Internet network  . Its main objectives can be categorized according to the promising benefits each government provides to citizens, businesses and other governmental agencies. The main benefits E-Government provides for the its citizens are: possibility of providing feedback mechanism from the citizen (service customer) to the government (service provider), citizens’ ability to receive customized and personalized services, possibility to shorten the delivery time by a great deal and ability to access individual or company information. For the businesses side, governments mainly focus on offering government ecommerce and e-procurement initiatives, opening communication between the public and private sectors and providing huge cost savings and lower transaction costs for most businesses. There are different kinds of objectives each government aims at achieving within its internal architecture. These benefits can be: new ways to integrate databases and networking websites, new tools to support horizontal services (like electronic payments, online auctions, customer relationship management and geographic information) and a new vision to realize important efficiency gains and work more effectively with each other.

E-Government initiative is one of the most important topics relates to E-Government planning and implementation. Determining the initiatives of EGovernment is assumed to be the common starting point for planning. However, these initiatives vary widely from one government to another . Globally approved, there are three main initiatives for Egovernance:

Policy environment to make sure that all previous stages are safely tested with no security or privacy conflicts.

The next generation Internet stage that will explore all the above stages on the World Wide Web (WWW) using the most recently updated technologies in this domain.

Achieving these milestones creates competitive advantage in both becoming E-Government and running it. The milestones are contributing to the cumulative attainment of each other. The United Nations Development Program UNDP has proposed four main stages in E-Government implementation listed below.

Exchange of values, in which websites allow an exchange of values to take place as government agencies interact directly with clients online, including recording and storing sensitive information. * Integrated services and exchange, in which there is portal that integrates ranges of government services based on needs and functions, not on department or agencies.

We are moving on from Information Technology (IT) to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and from Information Technology (IT) to Information System (IS)  . The penetration of ICT in all facets of human existence is leading to changes in the way humans interact within the society and the way societies involve individuals in the evolution process. The ICT can influence the process of governance in various ways and in varying degrees, from improving the current mechanisms of delivery of services to transforming the entire mechanism and the nature of services themselves. The role played could be purely technical in terms of automation of tedious tasks earlier done by humans, facilitating or supportive role leading to more participatory and all encompassing decision making and implementation processes, or completely innovative role which involves new services and new mechanisms to deliver these services.

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