e-Governance: Institutional Framework for Coordination and Sharing of Information

The ARC  is of the view that the responsibility for effective and efficient development, procurement and use of information technology and resources as well as the management and planning of information technology and e-Governance programmes should vest with individual government agencies at the Union and State levels. In addition, there would be need to put in place an institutional mechanism in respect of those initiatives where integration of multiple databases and sharing of information between agencies is required because ad hoc collaboration and poor coordination could lead not only to inordinate delays in implementation of programmes but also their total failure. Also, since many e-Governance projects presently under implementation or being envisaged have commonalities both within and across States right down to the local self government levels, it would be very useful to create an institutional repository of best practices and innovation in all States/UTs. Sharing of such information could greatly encourage easy replication of such best practices and save valuable time and effort in avoiding those projects which have inherent defects and have failed. Government of India and a majority of State Governments have created Departments of IT, however, there is need for clear distinction of the duties and responsibilities between the respective DIT and the other Ministries/Organisations. DITs should undertake those tasks that cannot be efficiently executed by other departments. It could also run or manage certain common services and common infrastructure. Development and implementation of solutions should however be left to the line departments. In order to bring clarity, the following tasks may be entrusted to the respective DITs: 1) Conducting an e-preparedness audit for each organisation 2) Enforcing standardization 3) Assisting in co-ordination when e-Governance projects transcend an organisation’s functional domain 4) Facilitating capacity building by linking the user departments and the training institutes (including academic and private sector institutions) 5) Carring out evaluation of e-Governance projects 6) Acting as a repository of best practices and encourage horizontal replication in case of successful projects 7) Helping in selecting/developing the technological solution. The Second Schedule to the Government of India Allocation of Business Rules, 1961 allocates inter alia the following business matters, in case of the Department of Information Technology: “(3) Assistance to other departments in the promotion of e-Governance, E-Commerce, E-Medicine, E-Infrastructure etc.” The business allocated to DIT may be made more elaborate in case of e-Governance so as to include the tasks mentioned above. Thus, the IT Departments at the Union and State Government levels should function as coordinating agencies for providing technological support, linkages and networking and overall functioning of projects which have inter-agency involvement at different levels.

What Must Be Done

a. The Departments of Information Technology at the Union and State Government levels should provide institutional support to other departments and organizations in implementation of e-Governance projects identified and conceptualized by them. The DIT should focus on the following: 1. Conducting an e-preparedness audit for each organization 2. Enforcing standardization 3. Assisting in co-ordination when e-Governance projects transcend an organisation’s functional domain 4. Carrying out evaluation of e-Governance projects 5. Acting as a repository of best practices and encouraging horizontal replication of successful projects 6. Helping in selection of technological solutions. b. The Second Schedule to the Government of India Allocation of Business Rules, 1961 may be suitably amended to incorporate these elements with regard to the subject matter of ‘e-Governance’.