Tuesday, May 10, 2011

World Bank Is Fooling India Or Being Fooled By India

World Bank and India have been engaged in many projects of national and international importance. However, one project that has no significance and practically has no hope of implementation is mandatory delivery of e-governance services in India.

The Government of India and the World Bank today signed a Loan Agreement of $150 million for the E-Delivery of Public Services Development Policy Loan under the National E-Governance Plan (NEGP). However, which e-governance World Bank and India are talking about is still a mystery. E-Governance in India has been a big failure and there are no chances of its revival for at least 10 more years. India’s ranking in e-readiness and e-governance are declining year after year and India is still celebrating its paper victories.

Almost all e-governance projects of India have failed to materialise. This has happened because India has neither a mandatory legal framework for e-governance nor are there any policies or strategies for effective e-governance. Even the proposed draft electronic services delivery bill 2011 of India is mere eyewash and nothing more. The truth is that e-governance in India is dying.

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of India, “The Government and Indian Bureaucrats need to change their mindset and stress more upon outcomes and services rather than mere ICT procurement. India needs a services-based approach that is not only transparent but also backed by a more efficient and willing Government. Presently the Bureaucrats and Government of India are in a “resistance mode” towards novel and effective e-governance policies and strategies and they are merely computerising traditional official functions only. This is benefiting neither the Government nor the citizens and is resulting in wastage of thousands of crores of public money and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Bank Grants amount”.

“The Governmental will and leadership is missing in India. To worsen the situation the Government of India is concentrating more upon the image rather than upon the end results. The grassroots level action is missing and the benefits of ICT are not reaching to the under privileged and deserving masses due to defective ICT strategies and policies of Indian Government. India is suffering from the “vicious circle” of defective e-governance, as the basic input .i.e. governance itself is poor. India needs a “virtuous circle” of e-governance through good governance that would have multiplication and amplification effect upon e-governance efforts of Indian Government, says Praveen Dalal.

E-delivery of public services in India is missing and World Bank is not at all interested in establishing transparency and accountability in Indian NEGP. World Bank must ensure accountability of Indian NEGP in order to show that its loans are actually meant for growth and development of Indian masses rather than benefiting few politicians and bureaucrats as is happening right now. Perhaps a strong and effective Jan Lokpal Act 2011 would bring some respite in this indifferent atmosphere created by Indian government and World Bank.