Editorial | Shifting the mode

We are yet to realise the full potential of internet for governance and service delivery
Editorial | Shifting the mode
Representational Photo

We were otherwise also living in the age of information technology. Most of our services, from ordering a pizza to booking a flight ticket, were now rendered through web portals. E-commerce was an in-vogue thing. Gradually more and more services were coming to us through on line medium. Even the structures of governance were taking this medium seriously to deliver services.  But despite all these people would come to offices, go to markets, enter campuses and travel from one place to another. Internet was a great help, in a nutshell. But come covid and everything changed. While travel and physical interactions stopped, people were confined to homes. Stay home, and work from home became new slogans and new ways of living. But, as is said, with every hardship comes an opportunity. Just some time in lockdown and people started realising how internet can do wonders in keeping our interactions alive. All our education activities shifted to online mode.

The medical consultations also went online. Government services too, in many cases, took to online mode. Even as markets remained closed, with the partial restoration of transportation, e commerce started picking up. So much so the courts started e-hearings. A new filed of legal work came to fore – virtual courts. Here is a lesson for us, if we can sufficiently reflect on this. Since we have to live with this virus why don't government think of using online services, not as an alternative, but a permanent mode of delivery. Where ever it's possible why don't we allow people to work from home. This would take much of the human presence in markets and office spaces off. There will also be less traffic on roads. Universities, colleges and schools can also think of making it long term and creating hybrid models where online education becomes a permeant feature. Many people believe that in the sub continent if the political leadership and the bureaucracy gives up its colonial trappings, we can be free of many encumbrances. One such burden would be the presence of staff all around a high official. If services are made the focus of governance the online medium can prove a great liberator. There will be less need for people to come to office everyday. If worked out properly, and thought through in free atmosphere, it can change the landscape of our governance and service delivery.

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