Challenges to e-governance and requirements for successful implementation

There are many challenges in implementing E-governance model in India as well as at global scale.

The actual challenge is how to develop and withstand successful e-governance projects and deliver state of the art e-services to inhabitants.

Unfortunately, it is not as easy to develop e-governance website in service delivery mechanism. Efficacious e-governance initiatives can never be taken in hurriedness. With reference to India, e-Governance should enable seamless access to information and seamless flow of information across the state and central government.

With reference to India, e-Governance should enable seamless access to information and seamless flow of information across the state and central government.

Security drawbacks

There are several security drawbacks of an E-Governance mechanism.

  1. Spoofing: In this practice, the attacker attempts to gain the access of the E-Governance system by using fallacious identity either by stealth or by using false IP address. Once the access is gained, the assailant abuses the E-Governance system by elevation of the privileges.
  2. Tampering of E-Governance system: As soon as the system is compromised and privileges are raised, the classified information of the E-Governance mechanism becomes very much susceptible to illegal adjustments.
  3. Repudiation: Even the attacker can mount refutation attack during the E-Governance transaction, which is the ability of the user to reject its performed transaction.
  4. Disclosure of E-Governance Information: In case of the compromised E-Governance system, the undesirable information disclosure can take place very easily.
  5. Denial of Service: In this technique, attacker can perform Denial of Service (DoS) attack by flooding the E-Governance server with request to consume all of its resources so as to crash down the mechanism.
  6. Elevation of privilege: Once an E-Governance system is compromised; the attacker pretending to be a low profile user attempts to escalate to the high profiles so as to access its privileges to initiate further damage to the system.
  7. Cyber Crimes: Advancement of science and technology increase the rate of the cybercrime. It is a threat to the transactions accomplished between the Government and its Citizenry within the E-Governance methodology.

Other challenges

  • Funding

Funding is the foremost issue in e-Governance initiatives. The projects that are part of the e-governance initiatives need to be funded either through the Government sector or through the private sector.

For the private sector to step into the funding activity their commercial interests needs to be ensured. The projects can be built either on BOO (Built Own Operate) or BOOT (Built Own Operate Transfer) basis.

Also the Government interest of Value Addition in services also needs to be taken care of while transferring the services to private sector. Advertising, sharing of Government information etc could be a few revenue generators for the Government.

  • Management of Change

The delivery of Government services through the electronic media including EDI, Internet and other IT based technologies would necessitate procedural and legal changes in the decision and delivery making processes.

It demands fundamental changes in Government decision management. The employees need to be delegated more authority. De- layering of the decision-making levels leads to re-engineering and appropriate sizing of the decision-making machinery.

These changes need not only be accepted by the Government and citizens but also be accepted by various interests groups like Employees unions. Under such circumstances bringing in a change will involve changing the mindsets of the people, and a complete Reengineering process needs to be carried out for the same.

This will involve training of the personnel at all levels, more so, at the lower rung of Government management organizations. There will also be a loss of vested interests and power amongst the legislature and the executive, which may lead, to resistance to change.

  • Privacy

The privacy of the citizen also needs to be ensured while addressing the issues. Whenever a citizen gets into any transaction with a Government agency, he shells out lot of personal information, which can be misused by the private sector. Thus, the citizen should be ensured that the information flow would pass through reliable channels and seamless network.

  • Authentication

Secured ways of transactions for the Government services are another issue of concern. The identity of citizens requesting services needs to be verified before they access or use the services .

Here digital signature will play an important role in delivery of such services. But the infrastructure needed to support them is very expensive and requires constant maintenance. Hence a pertinent need still survives, compelling the authorities to ensure the authenticity in their transactions thereby gaining absolute trust and confidence of the citizen.

  • Interoperability

A major design issue for integrated service delivery sites is, how to capture data in a Web-based form and transfer it to an agency’s systems for processing and sharing that information in a common format. Infact the interoperation of various state Governments, the various ministries within a state Government is a critical issue. Further how the various islands of automation will be brought together and built into one is another key issue of e-Governance.

  • Delivery of services

The ability of citizens to access these services is another major issue. Since the penetration of PCs and Internet is very low in the country, some framework needs to be worked out for delivery of the e-Services that would be accessible to the poorest of the poor.

What will be the Government’s network to deliver those services? Could we have something like a single stop shop of the Government? A proposed mechanism is delivery of the same through the Government Post Offices, for they already have the brick and mortar support and the most extensive network in the nation.

  • Standardization

Defining the standards for the various Government services is another issue that needs to be addressed. The standards need to be worked out not only for the technologies involved but also for issues like naming of websites to creating E-Mail addresses.

  • Technology Issues

A number of organizations, both in the Centre and the States, have taken commendable initiatives to develop hardware and software platforms to address the challenges offered by e-Governance. At the central level in particular, the C-DAC, CMC and a number of others are noteworthy.

The e-Governance initiative would have to address these Technology Issues/Objectives by identifying the appropriate hardware platforms and software application packages for cost-effective delivery of public services.

This knowledge repository should be widely available through appropriate Demo- Mechanisms. Offering a basket of these models to the State departments, both in the Center and the State, could be suitably customized as per location and work specific requirements.

  • Use of local language

The access of information must be permitted in the language most comfortable to the public user, generally the local language. There already exist technologies such as GIST and language software by which transliteration from English into other languages can be made.

Requirements for implementing successful e-governance across the nation are

  1. e-Governance framework across the nation with enough bandwidth to service a population of one billion.
  2. Connectivity framework for making the services to reach rural areas of the country or development of alternative means of services such as e-governance kiosks in regional languages.
  3. National Citizen Database which is the primary unit of data for all governance vertical and horizontal applications across the state and central governments.
  4. E-governance and interoperability standards for the exchange of secure information with non-repudiation, across the state and central government departments seamlessly.
  5. A secure delivery framework by means of virtual private network connecting across the state and central government departments.
  6. Datacenters in centre and states to handle the departmental workflow automation, collaboration, interaction, exchange of information with authentication.
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