Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play a key role in development & Economic growth of Rural India. Political, Cultural, Socio-economic Developmental & Behavioral decisions today rests on the ability to access, gather, analyze and utilize Information and Knowledge. ICT is the conduits that transmit information and knowledge to individual to widen their choices for Economic and social empowerment. In near future people will be carrying a handheld computer connected to the Web to get the information about the World at their fingertips. Government of India is having an ambitious objective of transforming the citizen-government interaction at all levels to by the electronic mode (e-Governance) by 2020.
A successful ICT application in e-Governance giving one-stop solutions for rural community is the need of the hour. ICT is crafted to enable the Electronic Governance through wireless communication, thus it’s integrally interlinked and knitted.
India is a country of villages and to improve and sustain the overall prosperity, growth and development in the global competitive regime, National E-governance plan (NEGP) seeks to lay the foundation with various projects, starting from the grass-root levels, and provide impetus for long-term e-governance within the country. In this direction rural e-Governance applications implemented in the recent few years have been demonstrating the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the concerned areas of rural development. Indeed, some of the schemes introduced in rural India have improved the government services immensely.
Instances like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Warana Project in Maharashtra, Online Income Tax, Online Central Excise, Unique ID and E-office has accelerated growth of respective areas and contributing to country’s economic development. Similarly, at state level the various rural E-governance projects such as SETU Project in Maharashtra etc, projects that have been providing excellent services and saving time and money of people as well as of government and are contributing their might to the socio-economic development of rural India. Being ICT a significant instrument in E-Governance and Rural Development, appropriate infrastructure/design is mandatory for proper functioning as follows:-
• As designed of citizen centric services, and dependable service delivery mechanisms.
• Selection of appropriate (dependable, maintainable, cost effective) technologies for rural connectivity, and information processing solutions.
• As designed of cost effective delivery stations (kiosks) to build new services.
• Demonstration of transparency and efficiency to remove distrust and build confidence among the citizens on functioning of service delivery mechanisms.
• Invite private participation to reduce the burden on the central servicing agency, bring in the expertise, enhance the speed of implementation, and offer better value proposition to the citizens.
The term e-governance focuses on the use of new ICTs by governments as applied to the full range of government functions. Thus e-governance is the application of information and communication technology for delivering government services, exchange of information, communication, transactions, integration, various stand-alone systems, and services between government and citizens, government and business as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government frame work. The government being the service provider it is important to motivate the employees for delivering the services through ICT. E-governance seek to achieve Efficiency, Transparency, and Citizen’s Participation. Enabling E-governance through ICT contributes to Good Governance, Trust and Accountability, Citizen’s Awareness, and empowerment, Citizen’s Welfare, Democracy, Nation’s Economic growth. ICT is the biggest enabler of change and process reforms fade in face of what ICT has achieved in few years.
E-governance services through ICT refer to transactional services that involve local, state or national government. ICTs acts in speeding up the flow of information and knowledge between government and citizens and transforming the way in which governments and citizens interact. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) the challenge for all countries is to create and develop a system of governance that promotes supports and sustains human development. Governments in many parts of the world have made huge ICT investments aimed at improving governance processes.
In the present century, the advancements in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are changing the various components of human life. The changes in the ICTs have brought a positive impact in the process of public service delivery and socio-economic structure of communities.
In India, e-Governance applications in the recent past have demonstrated their positive impact in minimizing the processing costs, increase transparency and support economic development by income generating ventures, increase in agricultural production, and improvements in health and education sectors, all of which promote the overall quality of life of rural people. ICT contributes in providing the transactional services for the rural people with the benefit of time and cost savings in obtaining the public services with efficiency and effectiveness and it also examines changes in agricultural productivity and improved quality of life due to the ICT services. In addition to the above AEPS, GPS etc. are pivotal in ICT services.
The rural ICT applications attempt to offer the services of central agencies (like district administration, cooperative union, and state and central government departments) to the citizens at their village door steps. These applications utilize the ICT in offering improved and affordable connectivity and processing solutions. Several Government-Citizen (G-C) e-Government pilot projects have attempted to adopt these technologies to improve the reach, enhance the base, minimize the processing costs, increase transparency, and reduce the cycle times to half.
A large number of rural E-Government applications, developed as pilot projects, were aimed at offering easy access to citizen services and improved processing of government-to-citizen transactions. The idea that the primary and the sheer object of ICT in e-governance and rural development is individual’s motivation to collective mobilization for an integrated rural development.