The good news: it took about eight years for India to hit 1 billion in e-governance transactions and just 55 days to go to 2 billion.
The bad news: complete online delivery of services, by the government’s own estimates, is still about a decade away.
The ticker on the website that counts transactions done electronically by citizens with government entities has changed gears.
In October ’13, this ticker on etaal.gov.in, which aggregates all e-transactions from 1,500 government and allied websites, hit a landmark: one billion. It had taken eight long and painstaking years.
On December 26, in just 55 days, it doubled that count.
More and more Indians are using the Internet to, for example, pay water bills, file income-tax returns, query the government using RTI (Right to Information Act), inquire about barley prices in a village market or validity of a piece of land for commercial use.
The ticker suggests progress. It is a significant achievement and attests to the fact that e-transformation of India is on its way.”
But several experts, while acknowledging the advances, question the scale, sweep and speed of that transformation.
Part of that distance is about including more government services, reaching more parts of the country, bringing more citizens on board, and retraining the bureaucracy to re-imagine service delivery. Part of it is about what really is true e-governance.
The Indian government sees completely online delivery of services at least a decade away, partly because of the low penetration of the Internet and the small user base.
For those without Internet access, the government is setting up e-districts, which involves citizens walking into government centres and availing of e-governance services.
“These will reduce visits and improve quality of service for things like death and birth certificates, land, income, domicile, nativity certificates, payment of taxes, challans and utility bills,”
With India stepping up on e-governance, expats will find it less cumbersome to pay utility bills, taxes, application for PAN Card etc. They will have a more hands on approach for the same. As of now they have to depend on management companies like ours to assist them with all such payments.