Dec 10, 2008

India - Delhi, HP, TN top e-governed states

When it comes to e-governance, the states of Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi have emerged as the top 3 e-governed states of 2008-09. On the other hand, Karnataka, which is home to India's Silicon Valley along with Kerala have recorded the highest drop in eGov satisfaction according to a survey conducted by research agency IDC and IT publication Dataquest.

From being one among many government programs, e-governance has now become a top priority for the government. However, it still has a long way to go. The Union Budget for 2008-09 increased the allocation to the department of information technology by 12% to Rs 1,680 crore. The scheme for establishing 1 lakh Common Service Centers (CSCs) and setting up State Wide Area Networks (SWANs) across states is expected to be completed by mid-2009. "There are dozens of great pilots and some good live projects, but there's reinvention of the wheel. Central departments are duplicating work as they build multiple citizen databases—Census, Voter IDs, PAN records, Food and Civil Supplies—and wasting thousands of crores," said Prasanto K Roy, chief editor, Dataquest.

The results of the survey are based on an assessment of every state's IT vision, implementation and ease of use of services. It also took into account IT allocation for new projects in 2007-08, implementation of these projects, and user satisfaction among 3,150 citizens and businesses.

Though it still ranks among the top three, Delhi slipped two ranks from the position of No. 1 last year. Tamil Nadu led the business satisfaction score outperforming other states on most parameters like license and permits, financial assistance, incentives and grants, sales tax and municipal corporation. West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar were the worst 3 eGoverned states.

According to the report, the top performing states took a dip in rankings (like previous years), which means that retention of service quality and ease of interaction are vital for e-governance initiatives in certain states. "India's federal structure gives autonomy to the states, which are keen to guard their turf. But it turns into a challenge as states are distrustful of providing too much information transparency to central departments," added Roy.

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