E-Governance

E-Governance

Srinivas Bhogle (National Aerospace Laboratories, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-092-9.ch003
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Abstract

E-governance uses Internet and communication technologies to automate governance in innovative ways, so that it becomes more efficient, more cost-effective, and empowers the human race even more. E-governance exercises are being attempted for more than a decade now, but have so far achieved only mixed success. The long-term prognosis for e-governance, however, remains extremely positive. The emergence of Web-services technologies, the continually proliferating computer networks, and the irreversible migration towards digital information strongly confirm the view that e-governance is here to stay. The eventual success of any e-governance project is intimately linked to the methodology used, and to that complex mesh between men, machines, and mindsets. We explain the “what,” “why,” and “how” of e-governance. We also talk of e-governance concerns, and discuss a few illustrative case studies.
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What Is E-Governance?

Definitions

The biggest problem in developing countries is good governance, not poverty. It is, for example, well known that only a miniscule fraction of the money earmarked for development, relief, or rehabilitation eventually filters down to fulfill its mandated objective. There are also numerous instances where the concern is not how to find the money, but how to go through the maze of complicated procedures to spend the available money before the financial year ends.

Until a decade ago, the sheer logistics of accounting, bookkeeping, correspondence, and approvals was an onerous overhead. But the World Wide Web completely changed things. With e-mail, correspondence across the globe became almost instantaneous, and richer, because mail attachments were possible. The technologies to make Web pages interactive, and connect them to databases, worked wonders on the approval processes: approvals became faster, were based on more intelligent inputs, and could be securely archived. It was now possible, and indeed highly desirable, to use the Web for real governance.

Electronic governance (or e-governance) could therefore be defined as the use of Internet and communication technologies to automate governance in innovative ways, so that it becomes more efficient, more cost-effective, and empowers the human race even more.

Since “governance” is normally associated with a “government,” may authors choose to explicitly mention the government while defining e-governance. Backus (2001), for example, defines e-governance as the “application of electronic means in the interaction between government and citizens and government and businesses, as well as in internal government operations to simplify and improve democratic, government and business aspects of governance.” The strategic objective of e-governance, as Backus explains, is simply to use electronic means to support and stimulate good governance.

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