Friday, April 22, 2011

E-Delivery Of Public Services in India

Electronic delivery or e-delivery of services in India is still at its infancy stage. India is stressing too much upon information and communication technology (ICT) procurement rather than providing online services. Further, in the absence of any national level policies and strategies for online services, e-delivery of services in India has by and large remained illusive.

E-delivery of services is closely related to successful use of e-governance. E-governance in India is in bad shape and is generally unsuccessful. In fact, techno legal experts have even claimed that e-governance in India dying.

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi base law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of India, E-Delivery of Services in India cannot succeed till we have “Mandatory E-governance Services in India”. Presently, providing of E-Delivery of Services in India is discretionary and this is resulting in “Poor Growth” of E-Governance in India, says Dalal. Even the proposed Essential Services Delivery Bill 2011 of India is “Not Conducive” for E-Delivery of Services in India, informs Dalal.

Even the national e-governance plan of India (NEGP) has not been a great success. There is no performance based appraisals and neither is there any accountability for the funds issued to various e-governance projects. Even there seems to no accountability for the funds and grants issued by International organisations and programmes like World Bank and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Recently, department of information technology (DIT) issues a paper tilted framework for citizens engagement in NEGP. The idea is to use power of citizens and public private partnership (PPP) for governmental projects and initiatives. However, if we keep in mind the previous history of India, there are no effective contributions of public in the e-governance fields of India. Even if some public spirited citizens give their valuable suggestions, they are never considered by Indian government.

In fact, departments like DIT take contrary actions and decisions despite stiff public protests. For instance, the information technology amendment act, 2008 was vigorously protested yet it was imposed upon India. Cyber law of India needs urgent repeal and despite many suggestions by techno legal experts of India, the unconstitutional provisions of the same have been kept intact by DIT.

It is clear that public inputs and suggestions are of no use for Indian government and its departments. Till accountability, transparency and performance bound actions and projects are not undertaken, even the grants and funds of World Bank/UNDP cannot save India.