“In this article, I have discussed the E-Governance initiatives of the Govt. of Odisha (India) and the emerging challenges in the E-Government Uptake.
What is e-Governance?
E-Governance is the application of information and communication technologies to transform the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of informational and transactional exchanges within the Government and between the Government (including Union, State, Local bodies etc.) and Citizens/businesses. The most common interactions in e-Governance is Government to Citizens (G2C), Citizen to Government (C2G), Government to Businesses (G2B) and Businesses to Government (B2G).
Odisha, formerly known as Orissa, with official web site www.odisha.gov.in, is an Indian state on the subcontinent’s eastern part, with 4.7 % of India’s landmass (8th largest state), 3.47 % of the India’s population (11th largest). Odisha is famous for its Puri (Shri Jagannath and Ratha Yatra), Konark and Temple City Bhubaneswar.
(Image-1, Odisha State Assembly, Bhubaneshwar; Image Source: http://www.pragativadi.com/)
Major E-Governance Initiatives of Govt. of Odisha, India
To keep pace with the increased importance of e-Governance at national level, Government of Odisha took major e-Governance initiatives in early 2000s. The state took statewide planned initiatives which included development of ICT policies, infrastructure and software development to transform citizen centric service delivery in the state. The vision of ICT policy of Government of Odisha was to develop IT/ITES/ESDM industries for inclusive growth and employment in the state of Odisha and leverage IT & ITES in governance to transform the state to a knowledge driven welfare society by improving the service delivery to the citizens.
e-District Project (http://edistrictorissa.gov.in/)
One of the biggest e-Governance projects in the state is the e-District project which has been implemented in all the 30 districts. The e-District Project involved integrated and seamless delivery of citizen services by district administration through automation of workflow, back-end digitization, integration and process redesigning across participating sections/departments for providing services in a most efficient manner to the citizens. This project enables the people to access following seven crucial certificates through the online systems.
- Issuance of Residence Certificate
- Issuance of Caste Certificate
- Legal Heir Certificate
- Issuance of SEBC Certificate
- Issuance of Solvency Certificate
- Issuance of Income Certificate
- Issuance of OBC Certificate
All these certificates issued under e-District project can be verified online with the Certificate Barcode No. which is printed on each certificate. The e-district odisha portal is available at http://edistrictorissa.gov.in/ in 3 languages – Odia (the native language of Odisha), Hindi and English.
Bhulekh (Land Record Web portal of Orissa) http://bhulekh.ori.nic.in/
Bhulekh provides online information on land records. It is an initiative taken up by Directorate of Land Records & Surveys, Government of Odisha. The system enables optimized maintenance of records and provides accurate copies of Records of Rights (ROR) to the landowners all across the state. The RoR Information for 171 Tehsils of Odisha is available online.
ITIMS (Integrated Transport Information Management System)
The department of Commerce & Transport has implemented Integrated Transport Information Management System” (ITIMS), for automation of its processes. The project has been implemented at major RTA offices and check gates and is being replicated at other offices. This project involves issuance of Driving License via ‘Saarathi’, Issue of registration and permits for Motor vehicles via ‘Vaahan’ and Collection of Motor Vehicle Taxes via ‘Check Gate Computerization’.
Emerging Challenges in the E-Government Uptake
What is e-Government Uptake?
E-Government Uptake is a key measure of the degree to which the e-government services provision is actually used by the end-users. E-government uptake by the citizens is “the percentage of individuals (aged 16–74) who have used the Internet to interact with public authorities”, as measured by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other major organizations.
Challenges in E-Government Uptake in Odisha, India
The actual use of E-Government initiatives by the end-users seems to be very less in the State of Odisha, though I could not find any study in this regard to confirm the exact figures on the“E-Government Uptake” in Odisha. Low level of E-Government Uptake in Odisha is due to the following challenges:
- Typical Government attitude of employees in the Government offices/departments.
- Corruption by Government officials, Ministers, Businesses etc. (high level of corruption leading failures of various large projects/initiatives).
- Low level of participation by the people in the policy formulation & implementation, leading to huge gap in what should-be and what is actually delivered.
- Involvement of Middlemen/Dalals/Mafias in Government service delivery, who intentionally delay project implementation or create gap between Government and Citizens so that they can benefit out of this gap.
- Lack of will power and vision by the political leaders (irrespective of political party).
- Improper co-ordination among various authorities/agencies implementing the projects.
- Lack of awareness among the people to avail various e-Governance services (demand side barrier)” - Srihari Subudhi – New Delhi, India