The notion of e-governance evolved in India during the seventies with a focus on development of in-house government applications in the areas of defence, economic monitoring, planning and the deployment of information technology to manage data intensive functions related to elections, census, and tax administration. In Indian scenario, there was great efforts of the National Informatics Center (NIC) to join all the district headquarters during the eighties.
In the beginning of nineties, IT technologies were improved by ICT technologies to extend its use for broader sectoral applications with policy emphasis on reaching out to rural areas and taking in greater inputs from NGOs and private sector as well.
There has been an increasing involvement of international donor agencies under the framework of e-governance for development to catalyse the expansion of e-governance laws and technologies in developing nations.
Stages of e-Governance:
It is apparent in various research studies that e-Governance is fundamentally linked with the development of computer technology, networking of computers and communication systems. In developing nations such technologies and systems became available with observable time lag as compared to developed nations. When appraising the e governance model in India, it is established that with the liberalization of the economy from the early 1990s onwards, there has been a convergence in the availability of progressive technologies and opportunities in this field. The inception of e-Governance proceeded through four stages in India.
1. Computerisation: In the first stage, with the availability of personal computers, majority of Government offices are well equipped with computers. The use of computers began with word processing, quickly followed by data processing.
2. Networking: In this stage, some units of a few government organizations are connected through a hub leading to sharing of information and flow of data between different government entities.
3. On-line presence: In the third stage, with increasing internet connectivity, a need was felt for maintaining a presence on the web. This resulted in maintenance of websites by government departments and other entities. Generally, these web-pages/ web-sites contained information about the organizational structure, contact details, reports and publications, objectives and vision statements of the respective government entities.
4. On-line interactivity: A natural significance of on-line presence was opening up of communication channels between government entities and the citizens, civil society organizations etc. The main objective of this stage was to lessen the scope of personal interface with government entities by providing downloadable Forms, Instructions, Acts, Rules.It has been observed that there was more emphasis on automation and computerization, state governments have also endeavoured to use ICT tools into connectivity, networking, setting up systems for processing information and delivering services.
At a micro level, this has ranged from IT automation in individual departments, electronic file handling and workflow systems, access to entitlements, public grievance systems, service delivery for high volume routine transactions such as payment of bills, tax dues to meeting poverty alleviation goals through the promotion of entrepreneurial models and provision of market information. The push has varied across initiatives, with focusing on facilitating the citizen-state interface for various government services, and others focusing on bettering livelihoods. Every state government has taken the initiative to form an IT task force to outline IT policy document for the state and the citizen charters have started appearing on government websites.
Models in e-governance:
1. G2G (Government to Government): In this interaction, Information and Communications Technology is used to reorganize the governmental processes involved in the functioning of government entities as well as to increase the flow of information and services within and between different entities. Gregory (2007) indicated that G2G is the online communications between government organizations, departments and agencies based on a super-government database. This kind of interaction happen horizontally such as between different government agencies as well as between different functional areas within an organisation, or vertical such as between national, provincial and local government agencies as well as between different levels within an organisation. Main intent of this interaction is to increase efficiency, performance and output.
2. G2C (Government to Citizens): G2C maintains the relationship between government and citizens. It allows citizens to access government information and services promptly, conveniently, from everywhere, by use of multiple channels. Government-to-Citizens (G2C) model have been designed to facilitate citizen interaction with the government. In this situation, an interface is generated between the government and peoples which enables the citizens to benefit from efficient delivery of array of public services. This expands the availability and accessibility of public services on the one hand and improves the quality of services on the other. In G2C model, clienteles have instant and convenient access to government information and services from everywhere anytime, via the use of multiple channels. Additionally, to make certain transactions, such as certifications, paying governmental fees, and applying for benefits, the ability of G2C initiatives to overcome possible time and geographic obstacles may connect citizens who may not otherwise come into contact with one another and may in turn facilitate and increase citizen participation in government (Seifert, 2003).
3. G2B (Government to Business): In this type of interaction, e-Governance tools are used to help the business organizations that provide goods and services to seamlessly interact with the government. G2B can bring significant efficiencies to both governments and businesses. G2B include various services exchanged between government and the business sectors that include distribution of policies, memos, rules and regulations. Business services offered include obtaining current business information, new regulations, downloading application forms, lodging taxes , renewing licenses, registering businesses, obtaining permits, and many others (Pascual, 2003). The major aim of this interaction is to cut red tape, save time, reduce operational costs and to create a more transparent business environment when dealing with the government.
4. G2E (Government to Employees): G2E denotes to the relationship between government and its employees only. The aim of this relationship is to serve employees and offer some online services such as applying online for an annual leave, checking the balance of leave, and reviewing salary payment records, among other things (Seifert, 2003). In this case, Government is major employer and it has to interact with its employees on a regular basis. This interaction is a two-way process between the organisation and the employee. Use of ICT tools helps in making these interactions fast and efficient on the one hand and increase satisfaction levels of employees on the other.
Applications of e-governance:
e-Governance is improvement in governance which is enabled by the resourceful use of Information and Communications Technology.
1.E-governance bring better access to information and excellence services for inhabitants.
2.It also makes simplicity, efficiency and accountability in the government.
3. Through the use of ICT to governance combined with comprehensive business process reengineering would lead to simplification of complicated processes, simplification in structures and changes in statutes and regulations.
4. E-governance is advantageous to citizens and government as rapid growth of communications technology and its adoption in governance would support to bring government machinery to the doorsteps of the citizens