Contributors: Lalit Singh, Ibrahim Malik,Sagar Kumar, Raghav Natarajan
E-Governance refers to the conveyance and delivery of government’s reforms, information and services using information and communication technology. It has various models, some examples of which are Wider Dissemination, Critical Flow, Interactive Service, Comparative Analysis and E-Advocacy. It promotes populism by providing people with quicker and better access to their government’s actions and decisions. Governance basically consists of three elements: the way of working of the government, sharing of information between the government and various sectors of the population, and the delivery of services to these sectors. By introducing ICT into governance, we increase efficiency and productivity by reducing the time and resources it takes to relay information from the government to the public, and vice versa. Nowadays a lot of services are provided online, and that increases the general welfare of the population by regulating systems more efficiently. For the citizens, the government provides numerous services, like banking, courts, police etc. and controls the tax-collecting authorities. All of these services are now using ICT to reach the citizens who work in various fields. E-Governance is a bridge of trust between the government and its people, as it secures the citizens’ information in foolproof ways, with the help of technology. To analyze the models of E-Governance, we will first take a look at the Wider Dissemination Model:
This model basically broadcasts information to the wider public domain. The information includes government laws, notices, information about officials, plans and budget of the government, judicial decisions and government tenders. It aims to increase the empowerment of people and to make them more well-informed of their government’s situation and plans.
In Malaysia, for example, hydrology data is being transferred in real time from District DID (JPS) to the Shah Alam Hydrology unit. This data is used to warn the nearby community of any (flash) floods via short message services, simplifying government agency flood rescue operations. However, when broadcasting information, it is important to know which ‘pieces of information’ are of value and priority. Hence we have the critical flow model, which helps in understanding the value of a particular information set. For example, it helps us understand where this information could be obtained from and how the information could be used strategically. Moreover, it also explains who the best target group for such information are. Although the Comparative Analysis Model is not much used, it is still very useful. It compares two or multiple cases of bad and good governance in order to analyze what makes bad governance bad and vice versa. For example, if for one governance society with some amount of money can build ten hospitals then why does another governance society only build five with the same amount of money.
In some of the countries the internet and communication technologies have been used to build the strong issue base Allies to complement action in the real world. For example, in India in 2011, a social activist named Anna Hazare started a campaign against corruption by government officials. A large number of people signed his anti corruption campaign by signing up an online petition to make his campaign successful. The governments in most of the developed countries have started providing their services to the citizens using online platforms. Some examples include: application for driving license, payment of government taxes, custom duties, license fees, land and ministry certificates, filing grievance and queries. In Nepal, there is a government agency called “Hello Sarkar” which files the complaint from public received through the free calling numbers 1111 and some similar agencies are providing their services in different countries.
With the recent patterns of development it is clear that sooner or later more and more countries will extended their services via E-governance. However, different countries have their own priorities in the development of E-governance. For instance, USA’s E-Government is more focused on a market-oriented government reform process to maintain national competitiveness and to realize the democracy and enhance the satisfaction in the citizens. The main purpose of use of E-government in UK is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and responsiveness of the administrative process. In India and Nepal it is used mainly to open up government processes and enable greater public access. The populist claim that with the increase in the communication capacity information spreads amongst the citizens quickly and this will decrease the traditional political intermediaries. Acts like hacking of government websites and leakage of confidential information are the majors risks. Therefore, before extending government services via online platforms, it is essential to make sure those risk factors are considered and checked.
The Populist claim believes that internet development has increased communication capacity and has had no increased citizen influence. The Populist claim also states that the idea of an “informed citizen” is impossible as it relies on omnicompetent individuals and the media to propagate a representative government and diplomacy. However, the Community Building claim states that increasing communication capacity through the Internet helps build communities. Their claim is based on a citizen-to-citizen communication rather than citizen-to-government. Through Accelerated Pluralism, citizens would be able to use the internet to have a one-to-one interaction with the government, as well as be able to attend a virtual public sphere, something that seems to be missing in today’s politics.
The 2016 United Kingdom Referendum, when “Brexit” happened, has been claimed as an act of Populism. This movement encouraged many other countries to cause their own referendums. Other social movements, such as The Arab Spring and Black Lives Matter happened through Accelerated Pluralism, where people could participate through social media, a cheap and easy mode of communication.