Improving E-governance

In the last one decade or so, we have seen a tremendous growth of technology permeating into every aspect of our lives. Further there has been vast improvement in the area of computer and mobile technology. All this has helped in improving work output and efficiency as never seen before. Given the advantages that technology can provide, much more effort is needed to co-opt technology into our governance. Although there is ample opportunity to do this, somehow, there is reluctance on the part of our State bureaucracy to go for this technology makeover. The reasons are not too hard to find. The government sector continues to resist change and would prefer to function on the old system of secrecy, red tape and exclusivity. There is no desire on the part of the bureaucracy and also the lack of political will of our Ministers to promote a transparent, accountable and open government. It is not to say that our bureaucrats and politicians are not tech savvy. In fact in their outward persona, all of them are very tech conscious. However as far as their thinking goes, they prefer to cling on to the old mindset of secrecy and exclusivity. Take for instance the presentation of various departments as evident from a visit to the Nagaland Government website. What one will notice as you surf through the plethora of links is the half baked effort of the authorities. Most of the department websites/links are there in name only. Recently, a directive came from the Central government, asking that the respective websites of the State government departments should be improved upon. The technology and the funds for upgrading the government websites is not lacking. What is lacking is the will to change. Nagaland government has a long way to go in the area of tech driven governance. While it is good that the Information Technology & Communication Department in Nagaland has been taking initiatives to organize and conduct e-governance workshops, more needs to be done in this area.
Unlike our State, the advancement in the field of technology and governance is evident everywhere. For instance, in a unique move, the Central Vigilance Commission has launched an exclusive website for people to upload videos, audios and lodge complaints exposing acts of corruption in government departments. Vig-Eye (an acronym for vigilance eye), provides a more user-friendly platform for interface between the CVC and the citizens who may have suffered at the hands of corrupt officials and who want to disclose information about such illegal activities. The technology includes a simplified process of filing complaints besides giving online access to information. As can be seen the world over, where fighting graft and improving governance remains a priority, people are adopting various strategies to use technology towards an information based governance system where there is transparency and accountability. While the Nagaland government’s web portal is a start, the quality of information has to be improved upon. It is suggested here that the different departments must include the government policies and programmes in greater detail besides the need to keep information updated. In fact the State government besides highlighting government programmes through Road Shows can also for the long term focus attention on using technology (e-governance). This could be a better and less expensive way to deliver services to its citizens using the benefits of Information Technology.