Indian e-governance faces uphill task: World Bank

Indian e-governance faces uphill task: World Bank

Friday, 05 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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BANGALORE: A World Bank official said here Friday that India faced a challenge on scaling all the e-governance pilot projects that were at various stages of implementation.

World Bank lead informatics specialist Robert Schware said at a seminar on e-governance, held as part of the IT.Com event, that only 110 of the 200 e-governance pilot projects underway were scalable.

"India faces a real challenge in scaling all the pilot projects or even replicating half of them, which have been successful to an extent," Schware said.

"The World Bank is in discussions with the Indian government on the extensive use of ICT (information and communications technology) to usher in e-governance at the administrative and transaction levels for improving the delivery system."

Referring to the successful implementation of the Bhoomi project by the Karnataka government in computerising land records and their registration process, Schware said with the right resources and institutional capacity, such projects could be replicated in other states for bridging the digital divide.

"Since the government alone can't do everything, the private sector has to be involved in a big way to prevent failures and speed up the processes for effective inter-face with people through e-governance," Schware told about 500 delegates participating in the seminar.

"We consider India is at an experimental stage in using ICT applications for e-governance. Going forward, the public-private partnership will ensure greater transparency and effective use of technology in governance for low-cost and efficient delivery of services."

With a view to mapping common policy focus areas and interventions across countries, the World Bank is currently completing a study of national e-strategies in 40 countries.

"Ironically, in most e-strategies that are prevalent, the e-government component refers to an e-government portal as the conduit for online services.

"Such services often include land and property registration (G2C), e-procurement (G2B), centralised census and population data (G2G).

"Our initial findings, however, reveal there is no e-government benchmarking to measure their benefits or success rate."

In this context, the World Bank informatics specialist cautioned Indian state governments to beware of the high rate of failures witnessed in other countries in implementing e-governance projects.

A recent World Bank study revealed around 35 percent of e-government projects in developing countries turned out to be a total failure, while 50 percent were partial failures and only 15 percent were successful.

"There are, however, an equal number of very sad statistics about the number of failed implementation in the US and Europe as well with respect to e-governance projects," Schware claimed.

Source: IANS
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