Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Government must be able to take quick timely and correct decisions. Availability of complete and detailed information about the issues involved, through analysis of the available information and assessment of the impact of the decisions form the basis of correct decisions. Information Technology has provided online access to all information about all matters or events, at any time and from any location. First step of e-governance is therefore establishment of infrastructure all over the country in such a way that all the information that is being generated in rural or urban areas is properly processed and stored in appropriate forms.

The stored information must also be updated periodically. Computerisation of the information at each village/town level in all government offices is there fore mandatory. This information must then be made available to the decision makers through Government Intranets, which are the networks spread all over the State. As an example one can quote the National Informatics Centres’ Network of Government of Kenya, which will aim to connects are district level and divisional level Government offices to Government Secretariats in the State capitals. The communication network used telephone lines as well as the VSAT (Very Small Aperture Satellite Terminals) based satellite communication system. Real time information records and their instantaneous processing makes the decisions process optimum.

Movement of Files: The second hurdle in good governance is the ‘movement of files’ from one table to another through umpteen number of functionaries. Computerisation of Government Offices eliminates the need of physical movement of the files since they are accessible to all the functionaries at the same time. Any person who has to process the file can make the appropriate entries and the next functionary in line will have the updated file on his PC instantaneously. A major advantage of this system is that the files cannot go under a big pile on the table or cannot do the vanishing trick. Another significant gain from the system is that whole process is transparent which makes the decision impartial.

Good Government must also be able to establish a good control over the entire machinery as well as over the various events, that take place in the society. e-Governance is a very powerful tool since it has the entire information network at its command through which it can receive information and transmit orders and commands to control. Very interestingly, there is a computer software called Geographical information System (GIS) which provides not only the geographical coordinates of each and every items like bridges, electrical transformers, wells, field boundaries etc. but also provides information about events that are taking place like coconut crop disease that is spreading over a particular field. An other example is that the financial management has now become very efficient because all the treasuries can be computerized and networked.

The Click of the Mouse: Service to citizens, contacts with the common man and collection of taxes and revenues is another fact of e-governance that has surpassed all expectations. A resident of a village does not have to travel to the chief/sub chief office or district place or state capital to get the revenue record of his farm or house. Getting birth certificates does not more imply long waits or tips to the functionary in the records office where he has to dig through one hundred years record to find out a proof of birth of his three year old child. All these records are archived on computers ad are available to anybody, anywhere with the ‘click’ of the mouse as they say. Many citizens phone bills in a conventional system. Payment of taxes to Government is dreaded by the citizens not because of the cumbersome process of the transactions.

The Kenya Government should open computerized counters called ‘Friends’ where one can pay taxes, dues etc. to various Government Departments and University fees etc. all under the same roof. In near future: ”Information Kiosks” should expected to replace the present (around “STD/ISD telephone booths(simu ya jamii)” and public call offices in Kenya. One will be able to walk in the boot “Infokiosk” situated almost next door and then pay taxes, electricity bills and collect birth/death certificates, land registration records, details of a government decision about the public distribution system for grains to people below poverty line.

Government Online: Following are some of the actions under implementation by Governments in Kenya. All Government information other than that having a bearing on security is made available to public. Under the District Information System, plan programme is being made widespread and databases updated online are made available to public. Courts Information System (COURTIS), Parliament Information System (PARLIS), Computerised Rural Information systems Programme (VRISP) are other examples of databases generated and made accessible.

Websites have been launched for most Government Departments and agencies. All Government departments should be asked to allocate 3 to 5 percent of their budgets for IT related activities including training of personnel. An Informational Project named “Government Online” has been formed by G-8 countries to plan and implement projects to promote IT in Governments. IT literacy should be stipulated as an essential requirement for all future government and public sector employment. Government of India has framed a national policy on Information Security, Privacy and data protection act for handling of Computerized data. Cyber laws have been framed and IT bill has been approved by the Parliament. The Government should gear up to become a SMART Government by declaring itself to be Simple, Moral Accountable, Responsive and Transparent.

In conclusion, Governance through e-media using IT technologies has enabled very efficient, transparent and fast decision-making process. The IT infrastructure has made direct participation of a common man in the Government matters with access to all the information he needs.e-Government is the ideal government system of the modern age.



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