Implementation of E-Government Systems in Developing Countrie

Implementation of E-Government Systems in Developing Countrie

R. De’ (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, India)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-789-8.ch149
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Abstract

The introduction of e-government systems in India started out in the late 60s and early 70s with an emphasis on computerising applications for defence services, for the economic planning department, for the national census, for elections and for tax collections and so forth. The government mainly did the spending and the development was entirely done by internal information technology departments. In the 80s the National Informatics Centre was established, whose main role was to implement and support large-scale computerisation projects in India. The 90s saw the emergence of a national IT initiative by the Government of India with corresponding plans in the states. External funding was sought from agencies such as the World Bank and external parties such as NGOs and private corporations were involved in the computerisation efforts. The focus also shifted to external e-government systems that could provide services to the public. The 90s saw a spate of e-government initiatives in India, in various states, that addressed issues of land records management through digitisation, issue of government documents to public and collection of various dues via kiosk-based centres and the use of GIS-based services for assisting agriculture. Currently, in the year 2005, the government in India is poised to spend Rs 120 billion on e-government initiatives. The results of such efforts are not very promising, though: most e-government systems that are implemented in developing countries around the world fail, with the failure rates at over 80%. Many reasons are attributed to such high failure rates, most of which have to do with a lack of direction and continued support by the responsible government department. Projects, apparently, are conceived of as a response to the push to “computerise” from the government without a clear understanding of the problem being addressed or the adequate design of such systems. Or, projects are conceived of to address certain immediate problems without analysing the deeper causes of the problem. The argument put forth in this article is that e-government system implementations are hugely complex processes that involve a complex set of factors; factors that have to be in place for the project to succeed. Government departments and officials are only one set of stakeholders who ensure the success of such projects, whereas a whole other set, those who use the system, are often left out of the analysis both during the design of the system and during its deployment. Further, e-government systems provide government services via an electronic intermediary where a manual provider is either removed or displaced altogether. The removal of officials, or their re-entry at different points of the service chain, is a point of contention and may lead to conflict between stakeholder groups. An analysis of this potential for conflict is essential for implementation success of e-government systems. The rest of this article examines these issues in more detail. The next section discusses the background to this research. The following section examines the main findings related to the issues highlighted above. The last section concludes the discussion and outlines future work.

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