Legal and Policy Framework for ICT and e-Governance

The following provisions have laid down the legal and policy framework for ICT and e-governance. E-governance and its implementation is an important part of the polity and governance segment of the UPSC syllabus. In this article, you can read about the legal and policy framework for ICT and e-governance in India.

Report of the Working Group on Convergence anti E-governance 2002-07

Report of the Working Group on Convergence and E-governance proposed the need for administration to transfonn itself from a passive information and service provider to a platform/ forum for the active involvement of citizens. This Report primarily concerned itself with public investments. It could not visualise the extent of private initiative that could be expected to come forth in the convergence area or in e-commerce or allied segments. It felt the need to set up a central body for taking stock of the total IT picture in the country. This central body could be a ‘Council for E-governance’ or an adhere ‘Commission on Re-engineering Administrative Procedures for E- governa.nce.’ Another alternative it suggested was to set up a National Institute of Smart Governance.

Common Minimum Programme

The importance of e-governance has been recognised in the Common Minimum Programme of the IRA Government, which inter-alia states that e-governance will be promoted on a massive scale. It made a solemn pledge to the people of the country with a government that would be corruption fire, transparent and accountable; and an administration that would be responsible and responsive at all times.

National E-Governance Plan

Three important elements of the National E-Governance Plan, which form the core infrastructure for effective service delivery are- Data Centres, State Wide Area Networks and Common Service Centres. The 10-point agenda of the Department of Information Technology announced for growth of ICT in the country includes expeditious implementation of a ‘National E-Governance Plan to bring about transparency and citizen centric approach in administration.

Expert Committee

An expert committee had also been constituted, for the amendments in the IT Act 2000 to include the technological developments post IT Act 2000. The Expert Committee completed its deliberations arid submitted its report in August 2005. Now the Expert Committee’s recommendations have been put on the website of the Department of Information Technology for inviting public views and suggestions. The Committee, during its deliberations, analysed some of the relevant experiences and international best practices. The Committee, while formulating its recommendations, kept in view the twin objectives of: (i) using IT as a tool for socio-economic development and employment generation; and (ii) further consolidation of India’s position as a major global player in IT sector.

Right to Information Act 2005

The Right to Information Act 2005 confers on the citizens the right to:

  1. inspect works, documents and records of the government and its agencies;
  2. take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records;
  3. take certified samples of material; and
  4. obtain information in form of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode.

This has ensured a transparent and accountable government to the people. It has also established a two-way dialogue between the citizens and the government. It has enabled citizens to make well-informed decisions. Further, it is an important step towards tackling conniption and has ensured better monitoring of services provided by the government.

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