October 2017
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ICT implementation in India is happening in bits and pieces

For effective implementation of e-Governance in Urban Services, it is essential for these initiatives to mature to a stage where in its users can carry out transactions and use the service leading to wide-ranging benefits

For effective implementation of e-Governance in Urban Services, it is essential for these initiatives to mature to a stage where in its users can carry out transactions and use the service leading to wide-ranging benefits

ICTpost Governance Bureau

Good governance rests on the pillars of information and its accessibility for both the decision-makers and the people.

The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) launched by Government of India has induced a wave of automation in procedures in government departments. IT implementation has found a place on agenda of almost every department. One of the key aspects missing in all the work so far is the reach of these initiatives to the common man, who is the customer for the services. The provision of citizen centric service through e-Governance shall lead to involvement of citizens in developmental works in their surrounding as well as the end user satisfaction. In addition, the city administration shall be able to better manage the services with the help of statistics generated and new revenue channel.

IT solutions
The urban areas in India account for 27.8 % of the population. About one-third of urban India lives in metropolitan cities. The number of such cities in India has increased from 23 in 1991 to 35 in 2001. Urbanisation is associated with increased incomes, improved health, higher literacy and improved quality of life. In the recent past we have seen rise in urbanisation trends with the onset of shift of Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) to tier II cities which fall in the list of million plus cities.  The city administrations need to step-up the plans to use Information Technology via e-Governance initiatives aiming for the provision of the urban services to the growing number of potential urban customers.

Stages in e-Governance initiatives
e-Governance initiatives go through three distinct phases of implementation. These stages are:
1.    Provision of Static Information: This stage is where an urban local body/government department has a website of its own. Citizens can access information, seek procedural details about city services, however they cannot interact with any of the process within Urban Local Body (ULB)/ department
2.    Capability for Transactional Services: This stage is where users can carry out transactions online.
3.    Creating Online Communities: At this stage, ULB website provides interoperability with various organisations within urban area.
Majority of current e-Governance initiatives fall under the first stage.

Customer Requirements

For a user of urban services in India, there are some basic requirements which are “Critical to Quality” (CTQs) for the service under consideration. These essentially are the “Voice of Customer” (VOCs). In the context of the current subject where the final aim is to deliver an improved urban service, the improvement measures, need to be based on end user requirements. The solutions need to be complimentary for the user requirements which come out from such VOCs. Some of the VOCs for the subject under consideration from the customer viewpoint are as follows:
•    No clarity of the setup of Civic authority (Municipal Corporations)
•    Poor information availability on initiatives
•    Lack of clarity on procedures
•    Time consuming processes lead to ignorance
•    Lack of accountability of officials
•    Too many agencies and overlap of work
•    Interdependencies/ document exchange

Need for framework
ICT implementation in Urban India is happening in bits and pieces. Though ICT has found place on the agenda of all the departments, however, an integrated approach to its roll-out and effective sharing of ICT infrastructure to economise the initiatives is required.

For effective implementation of e-Governance in Urban Services, it is essential for these initiatives to mature to a stage where in its users can carry out transactions and use the service leading to wide-ranging benefits.  A centralised data repository shall result in faster transactions and reduction of non value added work for the customer of the service. A single process framework covering all the service providers shall facilitate this. An IT solution covering the processes shall aid to bring out the required transparency in compliance of the processes.

Mapping urban services  
The e-Governance initiatives in the different departments are carried out independent of each other. As such the benefits of the initiatives are not visible to the citizens who are the customers to the service. In addition to this, the city administration has very limited control over it. These processes need to be defined and implemented across the service provider departments in order to bridge the inter-dependencies and facilitate a smooth work flow. This current challenge is the lack of co-ordination of work within same implementation area resulting in rework, failure of a service. editor@ictpost.com

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