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IT and RTI are Already Brewing Clean Governance

The biggest reason for leakages and manipulation of the system are the operational related to large numbers coupled with the general apathy for community well being. The general apathy is a cultural problem [ref blogpost Survival vs Service] and would need the re-conditioning of the society’s psyche and would be dependent upon a state of financial and/or spiritual affluence for a prolonged period of time. On the other hand, the operational bottlenecks have a solution round the corner.

Interestingly [fortunately too] while the general apathy for community puts the self above the society by a large distance – the making the individuals/groups involved with commissions and omissions justifying their acts irrespective of financial need; the same individuals/groups are eager to create to social mechanisms [wherever possible] which enables posterity to gain. A bureaucrat or a minister will be happy to implement a heavily funded project [with the satisfaction of making a healthy cut] even if this project will itself scuttle attempts of such misdemeanor by future functionaries in similar roles. Its like this, the mandate for a large state wide implementation government e-procurement capacity building project may be given with kickbacks exchanging hands. However the very implementation of an e-procurement project will ensure transparency in procurement process once and for all.

e-Governance has the potential to bring about fundamental changes in social psyche by giving a better experience to the masses. It can change th the way our day to day life runs.
It has the power to restore teachers to primary schools, doctors to community health centers, good use of free medicines and funds for study materials and school buildings. There have been multiple communities [read countries] in the history of mankind [including in the modern times] who have changed gears as regards social prosperity with easier and cheaper access to high quality education and health for the masses.

That is the beauty of e-governance. Examples of improved efficacy in governance through e-governance are, - it can
• minimize leakages in Public Distribution System;
• increase transparency / reduce the possibilities of arbitrariness in government procurement process. Hence will both reduce the acts of rent seeking – read inclination to bribe – and increase quality of delivery by vendors as they realize they will not have the invisible hand of God to protect for bad quality delivery
• reduce the interface of the ubiquitous middle-men or touts claiming access to key functionaries and mis-leading gullible masses. The opportunity to mis-lead and the credibility of the claims to garner a favour will be questioned.
• minimize loss of money to exchequer by enabling an on-line / interconnected systems of different departments interfacing with corporate [IT, EPF, ESI, Central Excise, Sales Tax etc], by easy tracking inconsistencies in disclosures and automatic penal action against the same

Different states are at differing levels of maturity of e-governance systems, but they are there to stay. The systems will get continually fine-tuned based on ground level feedbacks and even some initiatives may need to be scrapped and re-done. But, the show will go on. The trajectory has certainly been set. In about 10 years implementation of e-governance will reach a certain about of ubiquity all over the country and impart a fair amount of standardization to services and service levels and in turn provide hygiene levels of certainty to the citizens on many hygiene G2C services.

That, in my opinion, will be a major factor which may enable India to leap-frog. India, unlike China, cannot be made effective and prosperous through enforced iron hand discipline. Considering the historical, cultural, social, political and legal structures – the discipline and the desire has to come from within. That will be better achieved through walking the path from ‘Survival to Service’ step by step.

The other new dimension in governance, which has started to change the face of the country is The Right To Information Act. This again has the power to empower the aggressed and give a certain amount of fear to the people in a position to make willful mistakes. It is easy to visualize that we will see some landmark judgements, based on RTI findings, in the next decade or so. These judgements will form as an exemplary deterrents for those who fear public humiliation and distress due to stripping or power, prestige and accumulated wealth. Again India, unlike dictatorial rules, cannot have public flogging / hangings. However RTI and the hyper active [many times irresponsibly though] media will provide people a surrogate deterrent for toe-ing the line.

There are good reasons to be optimistic about e-Gov and RTI. Let us give them a chance to change us.

Nov 30, 2010


  1. amazing insight!
    when is the book coming?

  2. thanks for the encourgement sanghs.....posting a few more today...whassup with ya..

  3. btw..which book were u talking of..;)


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