Several dimensions and factors influence the definition of e-governance or electronic governance. The word ―electronic‖ in the term e-governance implies technology driven governance. E-governance is the application of information and communication technology (ICT) for delivering government services, exchange of information communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between government-to-customer (G2C), government-to-business (G2B), government-to-government (G2G) as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government framework. Through e-governance, government services will be made available to citizens in a convenient, efficient and transparent manner. The three main target groups that can be distinguished in governance concepts are government, citizens and businesses/interest groups. In e-governance there are no distinct boundaries.
Generally four basic models are available – government-to-citizen (customer), government-to-employees, government-to-government and government-to-business.
Difference between E-Government and E-Governance
Both the terms are treated to be the same; however, there is some difference between the two. “E-government” is the use of the ICTs in public administration – combined with organizational change and new skills – to improve public services and democratic processes and to strengthen support to public. The problem in this definition to be congruence definition of e-governance is that there is no provision for governance of ICTs. As a matter of fact, the governance of ICTs requires most probably a substantial increase in regulation and policy-making capabilities, with all the expertise and opinion-shaping processes along the various social stakeholders of these concerns. So, the perspective of the e-governance is “the use of the technologies that both help governing and have to be governed”. The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) based e-governance projects are hugely successful in India. United Telecoms Limited known as UTL is a major player in India on PPP based e-governance projects. Each project had mammoth state wide area networks in these states.
E-governance is the future; many countries are looking forward to for a corruption-free government. E-government is one-way communication protocol whereas e-governance is two-way communication protocol. The essence of e-governance is to reach the beneficiary and ensure that the services intended to reach the desired individual has been met with. There should be an auto-response to support the essence of e-governance, whereby the Government realizes the efficacy of its governance. E-governance is by the governed, for the governed and of the governed.
Establishing the identity of the end beneficiary is a challenge in all citizen-centric services. Statistical information published by governments and world bodies does not always reveal the facts. The best form of e-governance cuts down on unwanted interference of too many layers while delivering governmental services. It depends on good infrastructural setup with the support of local processes and parameters for governments to reach their citizens or end beneficiaries. Budget for planning, development and growth can be derived from well laid out e-governance systems
Government to customer
The goal of Government to Customer (G2C) e-Governance to be offer a variety of ICT services to citizens in an efficient and economical manner, and to strengthen the relationship between government and citizens using technology.
There are several methods of Government to Customer e-Governance. Two-way communication allows citizens to instant message directly with public administrators, and cast remote electronic votes (electronic voting) and instant opinion voting. Transactions such as payment of services, such as city utilities, can be completed online or over the phone. Mundane services such as name or address changes, applying for services or grants, or transferring existing services are more convenient and no longer have to be completed face to face.
2C e-Governance is unbalanced across the globe as not everyone has Internet access and computing skills, but the United States, European Union, and Asia are ranked the top three in development.
The Federal Government of the United States has a broad framework of G2C technology to enhance citizen access to Government information and services. Benefits.Gov is an official US government website that informs citizens of benefits they are eligible for and provides information of how to apply assistance. US State Governments also engage in G2C interaction through the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Education, and others. As with e-Governance on the global level, G2C services vary from state to state. The Digital States Survey ranks states on social measures, digital democracy, e-commerce, taxation, and revenue. The 2012 report shows Michigan and Utah in the lead and Florida and Idaho with the lowest scores. Municipal governments in the United States also use Government to Customer technology to complete transactions and inform the public. Much like states, cities are awarded for innovative technology. Government Technology’s “Best of the Web 2012” named Louisville, KY, Arvada, CO, Raleigh, NC, Riverside, CA, and Austin, TX the top five G2C city portals.
European countries were ranked second among all geographic regions. The Single Point of Access for Citizens of Europe supports travel within Europe and e-Europe is a 1999 initiative supporting online government. Main focuses are to provide public information, allow customers to have access to basic public services, simplify online procedures, and promote electronic signatures.
Asia is ranked third in comparison, and there are diverse G2C programs between countries. Singapore‘s e-Citizen Portal is an organized single access point to government information and services. South Korea‘s Home Tax Service (HTS) provides citizens with 24/7 online service such as tax declaration. Taiwan has top ranking G2C technology including an online motor vehicle services system, which provides 21 applications and payment services to citizens.
A full switch to Government to Customer e-Governance will cost a large amount of money in development and implementation. In addition, Government agencies do not always engage citizens in the development of their e-Gov services or accept feedback. Customers identified the following barriers to Government to Customer e-Governance: not everyone has Internet access, especially in rural or low income areas; G2C technology can be problematic for citizens who lack computing skills. some G2C sites have technology requirements (such as browser requirements and plug-ins) that won‘t allow access to certain services, language barriers, the necessity for an e-mail address to access certain services, and a lack of privacy.
Government to employees
E-Governance to Employee partnership (G2E) is one of four main primary interactions in the delivery model of E-Governance. It is the relationship between online tools, sources, and articles that help employees maintain communication with the government and their own companies. E-Governance relationship with Employees allows new learning technology in one simple place as the computer. Documents can now be stored and shared with other colleagues online. E-governance makes it possible for employees to become paperless and makes it easy for employees to send important documents back and forth to colleagues all over the world instead of having to print out these records or fax G2E services also include software for maintaining personal information and records of employees. Some of the benefits of G2E expansion includes,
E-Payroll- maintaining the online sources to view paychecks, pay stubs, pay bills, and keep records for tax information-benefits- be able to look up what benefits an employee is receiving and what benefits they have a right to.
E-training- allows for new and current employees to regularly maintain the training they have through the development of new technology and to allow new employees to train and learn over new materials in one convenient location. E-learning is another way to keep employees informed on the important materials they need to know through the use of visuals, animation, videos, etc. It is usually a computer based learning tool, although not always. It is also a way for employees to learn at their own pace (distance learning).
Maintaining records of personal information- Allows the system to keep all records in one easy location to update with every single bit of information that is relevant to a personal file. Examples being social security numbers, tax information, current address, and other information.
e-governance in India
E-governance is a wonderful tool to bring transparency, accountability and whistle blowing in India. However, it has its own share of challenges that include administrative, legal and technological challenges. There may be instances where e-governance can itself be a source of corruption. Use of e-governance in India would also require an efficient mechanism to deal with e-waste. Absence of privacy and data protection laws has also created many hurdles before successful implementation of e-governance in India. However, the biggest hurdle before Indian e-governance initiatives comes from poor cyber security in India. According to techno legal experts, e-governance without cyber security is useless in India. In fact, that makes the critical infrastructure of India vulnerable to sophisticated cyber attacks. Absence of mandatory e-governance services in India is the main reason for apathy towards this crucial field.