[Gist of Kurushetra December 2020] Sturdy Progress in Rural e-Governance

• The Government of India has prioritised a large-scale implementation of e-Governance projects in the country. Since a large part of India’s population lives in villages, it is crucial that our e-Governance model makes sure that it is accessible to the rural masses in the country.

• E-Governance is the mechanism for providing and managing government services electronically, which also leads to citizen empowerment through easy access to information.

Digital India and e-Governance:

The guiding principles for reforming Government through technology are:
• Form Simplification and Field Reduction: Forms should be made simple and user friendly and only minimum and necessary information should be collected.

• Online Applications and Tracking: Online applications and tracking of their status should be provided.

• Online Repositories: Use of online repositories e.g., for certificates, educational degrees, identity documents, etc. should be mandated so that citizens are not required to submit these documents in physical form.

• Integration of Services and Platforms: Integration of services and platforms e.g., Aadhaar platform of Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI), payment gateway, Mobile Seva platform, sharing of data through open Application Programming Interfaces (API) and middle ware such as National and State Service Delivery Gateways (NSDG/SSDG) should be mandated to facilitate integrated and interoperable service delivery to citizens and businesses.

• Information in Electronic Forms: All databases and information should be in electronic form and not manual. The workflow inside the government departments and agencies should be automated to enable efficient government processes and also to allow visibility of these processes to citizens. IT should be used to automate, respond and analyze data to identify and resolve persistent problems. These would be largely process improvements.

National e-Governance Plan:

• The vision statement of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) takes a holistic view of e-Governance initiatives across the country, integrating them into a collective vision, a shared cause. Around this idea, a massive countrywide infrastructure reaching down to the remotest of villages is evolving, and large-scale digitisation of records is taking place to enable easy, reliable access over the internet.

Some e-Governance Projects:

• E-Panchayats: This is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) in which 2,50,000 Panchayati Raj Institutions were identified to deliver e-Governance services to rural populations. The project, developed by NIC, provides a host of services as part of its 30 modules and 150 sub-modules.

• Bhoomi: A Karnataka government initiative, Bhoomi has been instrumental in digitisation of land records. The projects has been highly successful as records of 6.7 million farmers dealing with 20 million records in the state have been computerised. The Revenue department of Karnataka government and National Informatics Center (NIC) had rolled out the project, funded by the central and state governments.

• E-Choupal: This is a private sector project, launched by ITC limited to address various requirements of farmers, including selling their produce directly to the buyers, and ruling out the role of middlemen in the process. Under the project, Internet kiosks have been setup in villages where farmers can access services and important information relevant to farming.

• Gyandoot: A project launched by Madhya Pradesh government, Gyandoot works through soochnalayasset up in Dhar district of the state. The soochnalayas are self-sustaining as local youth selected to run them are not given any salaries. Rather, they get paid for the services provided to citizens.

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