For one-and-a-half decades now, Jammu & Kashmir has been toying with the idea of e-governance in the state. Considerable amount of public money have been spent in establishing hardware systems expected to usher the state in e-governance. Today as we look at the outcome of years of investment in money and time, there is little to cheer about.
Beyond the technical semantics and clichés of SMART (simple, accountable, responsive and transparent) governance, the outcome that people expect is simple – e-governance must simplify the outdated complexities in which common people interact with and seek services from governmental systems. And that is what the cherished outcome of e-governance is all about. But on all these indicators, our state continues to lag far behind. As if to add to the already existing flux in our state of governance, the establishment of Common Service Centres (CSC) has done precious little to actually make e-governance take off. The very conceptual framework of CSCs is basically flawed. Its idea has been driven by the objective of providing jobs for those youth who run them rather than being service-oriented. In the absence of a clear cut vision and terms of reference in providing simplified interface with the governmental system, these Centres have not fulfilled their primary role. In the absence of a wide area network, they ended up as symbolic entities with tasks that normal desk top publishing (DTP) centres do. In a scenario where these Centres were supposed to raise their own revenues for services which are fundamentally public services and are the state’s primary responsibility, lack of sustainability was a natural outcome. The idea of private entrepreneurship of these basically public services on the assumption that these will be able to generate private revenues for the entrepreneurs is a flawed idea.
Looking to the idea of e-governance from a holistic perspective, from filing applications for government services, jobs, educational admissions, payment of fees, online tracking of case progress within the government system, etc J&K’s e-governance is basically a non-starter. The government’s focus on horizontal establishment of hardware systems without the vision and the necessary software systems which could bring people’s expectations and governmental interface systems in line has lead us to nowhere. The first thing that any government in this state needs to do is to draw a line to the extent they wish to simplify people’s interface with the government system. In today’s age, making people queue for some elementary services which could be easily done through online systems is outdated. Similarly, the state government needs a vision to abolish the unnecessary bureaucratic wrangling that consumes precious time and resources of common people. The police system must also be brought within the purview of e-governance. Thousands of applications related to obtaining “no objection” certificates from Police and various investigation agencies, like the CID, especially related to passports, follow a highly time consuming process of manual follow up and primitive filing and report making system. J&K today needs a system of e-governance which will make our younger people more mobile rather than consume their precious time in the follow up of their passport cases.
To make e-governance really work for the people, the state first needs to develop a clear policy on public interface and information sharing which are of public significance. For that to happen it is highly crucial to evolve a system which is based on the principles of the right to information (RTI) law. If the government allows the bureaucratic systems to maintain the current level of aversion to sharing information with public and simplifying procedures then e-governance will never take off in J&K. Logically speaking, job creation from e-governance has to be a secondary option, while the fundamental objective has to be simplified, responsive and transparent governance. The whole idea of e-governance as such needs a complete overhaul and a clear policy.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM EDITORIAL
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, July 1: The Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Muhammad Yasin Malik on Saturday said Kashmir issue could not be pushed to backburner as a result of prevailing lull and tourist More
- Srinagar City
PATIENTS, ATTENDANTS SUFFER IN GRIDLOCKS TO REACH HOSPITAL
ARSHAD M BHAT
Srinagar, July 1: The tertiary care SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura main entrance and its adjacent area presently looks like a busy bus terminal with scores of passenger buses queuing up along More
Panchayats Basic Pillars Of Democracy: Omar Abdullah
Billawar (Kathua), July 1: Asserting that power necessarily brings responsibilities with it, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Friday asked the newly elected Panchayat members to make public service the standard More
Baramulla: The staff of degree college Baramulla accorded farewell to M B Singh, physical director of the college, who attained age of superannuation on June 30. In a statement, the College said, More
Vacate CRPF from Valley’s only watch factory: Industrialists to Govt
Srinagar, July 1: Rubbishing the claims of Centre as well as the state government on support to unit holders in Kashmir to revive sick as well as functional industries, Valley industrialists are now demanding More
Vienna (Austria) July 1: Executive Director of Kashmiri American Council (KAC), Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, on Friday said that it was the responsibility of the Non Resident Kashmiris (NRKs) to educate the More