GIS for E-Planning in India

GIS for E-Planning in India

Falguni Mukherjee (Department of Geography and Geology, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, USA) and Rina Ghose (Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/ijepr.2013040102
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Abstract

With increasing globalization and the integration of various economies, public finance and fiscal policy have acquired a new dimension in countries around the world, including India. This new era has witnessed a massive proliferation of various information and communication technologies (ICTs) the world over opening novel prospects for information storage, retrieval and analysis. Such novel prospects are not only being used for decision making by private sector industries but also more interest has been demonstrated in investing in technologies for public administration purposes. In the Indian context, the driving force behind an increasing use of ICTs for public administration include such objectives as improving and simplifying governance, instilling transparency and eliminating corruption and bureaucracy. The massive proliferation of ICTs in India has led to a transformation from traditional governance to e-governance. Several planning projects have been launched under the rubric of e-governance and have witnessed novel use of various information technologies, GIS being one of them. This study focuses on the Nirmala Nagara project (NNP), a programme launched by the Government of Karnataka to address issues of urban development using GIS with municipal e-governance being one of its key agendas. This is one of the most ambitious Municipal e-Governance projects in the country encompassing 213 urban local bodies. This article is an initial effort towards a larger project that will focus on the process of GIS spatial knowledge production situated in contemporary India.
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Introduction

With increased globalization and the integration of various economies, public finance and fiscal policy have acquired a new dimension in countries around the world including India. This new era has witnessed a massive proliferation of various information and communication technologies (ICTs), which are used in both public and private sectors in administration and decision making. In India, the driving force behind an increasing use of ICTs for public administration include such objectives as improving and simplifying governance, instilling transparency and eliminating corruption and bureaucracy (Goswami, 2002; Singh, 1999; Puri & Sahay, 2007).

Today, planning projects in India are launched under the rubric of e-governance, e-government, e-planning. While these terms have been used interchangeably in India, scholars have noted their difference (Riley, 2003; Gupta et al., 2004; Dwivedi & Bharti, 2005; Kalsi et al., 2009; Chauhan, 2009; Gupta, 2010). Riley (2003) conceptualizes governance as a way of describing the key link that exists between a government and a network of social, political and administrative structures whereas a government is a body that focusses on the society with the objective of achieving the public interest. E-governance is the use of ICT by public administrators with the objective of enhancing governance among agencies and citizens (Bedi, Singh, & Srivastava, 2001; Holmes, 2001; Okot-Uma, 2000). E-government is a generic term for web based services provided by government agencies where the government uses technology, in particular the internet, to interact with citizens and provide a gamut of government services (Palvia & Sharma, 2007). Such interaction can be as basic as obtaining information, filing claims, taxes or making payments using the internet (Sharma & Gupta, 2003; Sharma, 2004; Sharma 2006; Palvia & Sharma, 2007).

A variety of approaches have been adopted by local government agencies in different parts of the country with the goals to provide better services and enable citizens to exercise their citizenship (Teeffelen & Baud, 2011). Municipal corporations in Delhi, Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan-Dombivili and local urban agencies in the state of Karnataka have adopted various e-based strategies to provide services to citizens and are being heralded as effective, transparent and efficient (Teeffelen & Baud, 2011). Notably, the projects utilize GIS due to its immense potential of service delivery for public administration purposes, as demonstrated in western countries in the past (Croswell, 1991; Budic, 1994; Budic & Godschalk, 1994; Huxhold, 1993; Onsrud & Pinto, 1993; Campbell & Masser, 1995; Gilfoyle & Thorpe, 2004; Mukherjee & Ghose, 2009).

However, while GIS has been extensively used in urban planning in the Western countries, India has only recently witnessed an upsurge of GIS use for local planning and governance. Thus, GIS research on India has centered on the topics of citizen participation through e-governance (Baud et al., 2011; Pfeffer et al., 2011; Teeffelen & Baud, 2011; Pfeffer et al., 2012). Pfeffer et al. (2012) use the example of Asia, Africa and Latin America to demonstrate that technological developments of knowledge production have not completely addressed key issues of social inclusion and have hence, failed to take advantage of participatory knowledge management. Participation in India is further shaped by the citizens’ differential experience with technologies, enabling some to participate while others negotiate (Teefelen & Baud, 2011).

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