E-Government, efficiency, accountability and transparency – it looks like we want to put electronic watchdogs behind everyone and everything. Is this what we really want? Perhaps not. These should perhaps be outcomes of real democracy, which we aspire to (well eventually anyway).
E-Government can be a vehicle for achieving this. Efficiency, accountability and transparency are not new issues. These have existed much before e-Government came onto the scene. What has really changed then? E-Government is increasingly becoming a tool to address these issues.
Efficiency – we all understand how IT allows faster communication, computation, storage and retrieval which leads to greater efficiency in any transaction.
How about transparency and accountability. E-government enables greater participation of citizens in policy and decision making, which was nearly impossible in the past. Participation enables greater understanding between Government and people and also between people and people. It also helps in creating a sense of responsibility and the Government becomes a true representative of the peoples’ aspirations and will. This is greater transparency and accountability.
Nice thoughts. Lets move to reality now. Towards this larger vision, we need to take smaller steps. Some of these steps would include providing access, information dissemination systems including web portals, CDs, etc. etc. I would like to specifically mention “Community Portals” which will play a major role in community participation in Government. The emphasis is on making available the right information at the right time….