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The Changing Paradigm of Governance

P. K. Garg
Coordinator, Centre for Remote Sensing
University of Roorkee, Roorkee-247667 (Uttranachal)
Email: [email protected]

The implementation of E-Governance will change how citizens and Government relate to each other, and bring forth new concepts of citizenship, both in terms of needs and responsibilities.

The E-Governance offers integrated government services through a single window concept by re-engineering of Government processes. It provides an unique opportunity for local Governments to provide more effective Government. Some governments have begun making limited forays into the e-commerce market in year 2000 by offering on-line services, payments, registrations, and information. Those that have embraced E-Government initiatives are generally viewing internet usage as a means of offering convenience for their citizens.

The implementation of E-Governance will change how citizens and Government relate to each other, and bring forth new concepts of citizenship, both in terms of needs and responsibilities. It will not just redefine the Government processes (what they do and how they do it), but altering the very essence of democracy (why they do it), as we have known it. The E-Governance begins with a new view of society, and with a different kind of citizen involvement.

The main functions and utility of E-Governance may be summarised as follows –

  • To improve the quality of citizen-government interface, by introducing a process of administrative reforms integrated with the use of information technology (IT)
  • To automate the existing manual processing to improve the efficiency, standard, quality, accessibility and productivity of the government at reduced costs
  • Voice, data and video transmission and dissemination, connectivity, multi-user and multi-service facilities, video conferencing, file transfer facility, e-mail, on-line application processing, query and response
  • Better communication and information sharing, allowing people to work together move effectively resulting in cohesive administration
  • To interact with the services, make payments, act as a Voter ID obtain ration card, passport, driving license and vehicle registration etc
  • Providing public centered, efficient and cost-effective Government
  • To register for jobs, career and higher education based on the qualifications, capabilities and interests
  • Percolation of IT literacy and education
  • Ensuring a better quality of life to the citizens..

Role of GIS in E-Governance
GIS applications are diverse, however E-Governance based applications may include determining the suitability of land for different uses, planning future land uses for different objectives, managing cadastral information for the purpose of property recognition, taxation and regulation, analysing land and land-cover properties for both resource inventories and scientific studies, and siting commercial enterprises.

World Wide Web is the enabling technology for much of this new openness and has facilitated the unlocking of information that has been held so far as a secret. With the availability of data on internet and GIS software compatible with internet, internet-GIS software are gaining popularity in many application areas, including E-Governance.

Land is a dynamic feature which can be continuously updated using remote sensing images in GIS environment. Satellite images play a major role in GIS to provide up-to-date and reliable information on Earth’s resources and cultural features. This information can be regularly updated in a cost-effective manner using temporal satellite images. As a result of the potential of GIS, the Government is now recognising the needs of GIS scientists and managers at all levels.

In India, there is a need to develop a centralised database that could serve information to multiple users across different geographical locations at a low cost without data redundancy. An affordable technology would be required that enables storage, maintenance and updating of a central database with a easy to use interface. The GIS technology provides most of the capabilities for generating and updating the database for e-Governance. GIS software have been found to be very useful in integrating and overlaying the various information in an effective manner and displaying the results useful to planners and administrators.

Some of the key design objectives of GIS-based E-Governance may be as follows –

  • Provide remote access to map and attribute data
  • Shorten access and response time
  • Provide interactivity
  • Ensure simplicity
  • Provide features like copy-paste and print
  • Web application development.

The Government has recognised the role of IT as an effective tool in catalysing economic activity, in E-Governance and in developing human resource. Convergence of IT efforts at various levels of administrative set up, also termed as backbone computerisation, has made it possible to bring the relevant information and services into the public domain, thereby improving the quality of life of a common citizen. Several application software packages of direct public relevance are being developed to form a better citizen-IT interface.

GIS have become indispensable tools for governance, commerce, environmental and social science. The demand for innovative geographic information products, services, and know-how is increasing everyday. Accurate and latest Earth resources and utility information, which play an important role in GIS-based E-Governance can be derived from satellite images e.g. IRS PAN images at 5.8m ground resolution and IKONOS images at 1m ground resolution.

In order to make E-Governance work meaningful, it is necessary to train the present society to work in a new technology driven atmosphere. This policy seeks a deep impact initiative by the Government in encouraging replacement of traditional delivery system of public services by IT-driven system of governance that works better, costs less and is capable of serving the citizens’ needs with ease. The penetration of IT in India will only take place if the users could interact with the system in their natural languages and the applications are standardised.