Rural E-Governance through the “Panchayati Raj” Institutions in India: Prospects and Challenges

Rural E-Governance through the “Panchayati Raj” Institutions in India: Prospects and Challenges

Malathi Subramanian
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0116-1.ch016
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In India, the administrative system, with roots in the colonial past, is largely perceived as unresponsive and insensitive to the citizens’ needs particularly in its vast rural hinterland. The common citizens at the rural village level often find themselves at the receiving end of a cumbersome, iniquitous, and unfair service delivery system with very little involvement or inclusion in governance processes despite the best intentions of the government. It is believed that Information Communication Technology (ICT) enabled e-governance through the local self governing units (Panchayats) at the village level could simplify civic governance, improve the public services delivery system, make government and administration more democratic and inclusive, and more accessible to the citizens at the local village level. In this context, the chapter attempts to examine the challenges to, and dimensions of the task of electronic delivery of government services through the local self-government Institutions called “Panchayati Raj” in India.
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The implementation of “e-governance” in India began with the National Informatics Centre’s (NIC) efforts to connect all the district headquarters in the States through computers in the 1980s. This typically included connectivity, networking, and technology up gradation, selective delivery systems for information and services and an array of software solutions. The 90s saw a spate of experimental e-government initiatives in India in various States in the Indian federal structure that addressed issues such as land records management through digitisation, issue of government documents to public and collection of various dues via kiosk-based centres etc. at the local level (De, 2006).

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