Spending on e-governance in India rises rapidly

Spending on e-governance in India rises rapidly

Monday, 08 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: With more state governments vying with one other to embrace IT to enhance efficiency and interface with citizens, the investment on e-governance projects has seen a steady rise in the past few years.

Spending on e-governance has gone up by an impressive 25 percent annually from around 15 billion in 2002 to an estimated 22 billion this year, says a survey conducted by IT sector research firm Skoch Consultancy.

Significantly, the survey revealed that e-governance had also helped in reducing corruption in areas like land records and customs clearances for exports and imports.

"While the spending on e-governance is posting a 23 percent increase year-on-year, the overall figure is still very low and the number of sites still far and few," said the latest survey report made available to IANS.

"Given the fact that these projects are delivering so well, there is a need to substantially hike this spending."

The survey report said it had been several years since the first e-governance project began in India and the number of such initiatives had increased rapidly since then.

"E-governance projects in India are no longer just a fancy idea nor are they merely a source of big orders for hardware or software vendors. They are now an integral part of any serious governance effort," it said.

"For all the concerns about a large illiterate population, which has hardly any familiarity with computers, the country appears to have taken to e-governance remarkably well."

On the importance of e-governance in India, the Skoch report said on an average, the survey sample reported a score of 8.1 out of 10 for the decline in corruption as a result of 21 e-governance projects.

"What's heartening is that for various land record projects, where bribes are rampant, the scores on the decline in corruption after implementing e-governance projects were pretty good as well," said the consultancy firm.

Uttaranchal's land records project scored seven out of 10 on the corruption parameter while Andhra Pradesh's e-governance project for land records scored eight.

"Evidence suggests that even if elected governments don't work, e-governments certainly do. From a situation where railway tickets sold in the black, computerised reservation has meant this is not at all possible today," it said.

"Similarly, while the customs department was known for both its corruption as well as delays, online filing and clearances have resulted in a situation where over 95 percent of all paperwork is now filed over the Internet.

"The number of processing stages have been cut from 18 to six for paperwork for imports and from 15 to five in the case of exports."

The survey said there were several assessment schemes in various stages of planning or implementation for e-governance projects and to suggest strategies for scaling them up.

"In a country that has large tracts without electricity, and even larger ones without regular electricity supplies, and pretty bad infrastructure like roads, what's especially encouraging is the quality of most e-governance projects."
Source: IANS
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