E-Governance for Socio Economic Welfare: A Case Study of Gyandoot Intranet Project in Madhya Pradesh, India

E-Governance for Socio Economic Welfare: A Case Study of Gyandoot Intranet Project in Madhya Pradesh, India

Umesh Kumar Arya (Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8598-7.ch019
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Abstract

In this chapter, the author has discussed India's first rainbow e-governance project encompassing the “ICTs, e-governance, rural development and access to the basic administrative services” aspects in India's hinterland and one of the most backward regions. The paper argues for the “socio economic welfare” stance of the ICTs and the resultants benefits thereof. The present study investigates the socio-economic aspect of community e-governance project named Gyandoot in remote villages of Madhya Pradesh. Out of 18 services offered by Gyandoot, people fully utilized only 3 services (land records, exam results and addressing public grievances) which lead to the considerable fulfillment of target audience's needs (felt needs and expected needs) and improvement in their work efficiency by high scores on convenience, satisfaction, time, cost, reliability and overall benefits factors and a reduction in the time and money for government service delivery. However, Gyandoot could not fare impressively well on spurt in employment and economic activity fronts thus leading to only moderate gains. Only 17% of the Gyandoot's potential could be utilized and 39% was used moderately. Rest 44% could not be utilized at all due to less demand of services. ‘Optimism in IT hardware' and ‘development of entrepreneurial attitude' were the most noticeable aspects of economic activity generated. The study also posits a few very important questions on the sustainability, interoperability and hierarchical issues relating to the project.
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Introduction

E-governance is defined as the application of electronic means in (1) the interaction between government and citizens and government and businesses, as well as (2)in internal government operations to simplify and improve democratic, government and business aspects of governance (International Institute of Communication and Development, 2001).This word has gained tremendous popularity in today’s information age. Dharampur Sub-District Infrastructure planning for development (1977) is an early example of attempts to use computer applications for cost optimization and decision-making. The Karwar Rural Development Information System (1984) was yet another initiative formulated with a focus on reducing delay and curbing corruption through a monitoring programme based on computer applications (Kaul, M. et al.).However, the modern age e-governance started near millennium (2000) in India when idea of technology driven governance joined the chorus of numerous other issues for the betterment of citizenry. Role of technology powers competitiveness and leads to the creation of brand institutions and the use of right technology could bring in the right non-linear elements in all sectors, including water, power, education and healthcare (Kalam, 2004). The government realized the importance of ICT as a tool of national development and appointed a task force on IT and software development. The task force submitted its report in 1998, envisioned India as IT superpower by 2008, and suggested 108 recommendations. The government implemented most of them and it virtually sowed the seeds of e-governance in India. Much weightage was given to IT considering its tremendous impact on the society. Internet policy 1998 was a result of these recommendations which led to privatization of internet services in India. According to Heeks (1999), ICTs mean ‘Electronic means of capturing, processing, storing and communicating information’, usually in digital form. The possibilities with technology are unimaginable (Thomas,2005). It is believed that ICTs lead to Informatization. This is the process through which the new communication technologies are used as a means for furthering development as a nation becomes more and more an information society (Rogers, 2000; Singhal & Rogers, 2001).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Telecenter: An ICT kiosk in the village where the villagers can access the basic administrative services from the district administration.

Empowerment: A subjective term though, it has different meanings for different people. Most commonly, it involves the strengthening of the skills, knowledge base, earning potential etc. in pre and post phase of any project or scheme.

Efficiency: A measure of increase in the work output in less time.

Local Needs: The needs of the local population which may vary from group of villages from another group of villages.

Intranet: A local network of computers which may or may not be connected to the internet. It is basically a secure medium unlike internet.

Economic Activity: Any process, service or the facility which helps to generate the value in terms of money, immediate or potential one.

Bureaucracy: A well laid down structure (mostly known for slow work, discrimination and corrupt work practices) of the government to carry out the administrative functions of the state.

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