From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 2- Role of intermediaries in governance
The article highlights the important role played by the intermediaries in connecting the citizens with the government.
Addressing the connect between government and citizens
- By exploring how digitally excluded communities engage with governance we understand that humans are significant in brokering trust between governments and citizens.
- This is true even for the ‘Digital India’.
- However, only a few States have built a cadre of individuals for last mile governance.
- Andhra Pradesh, for instance, rolled out a ward secretariat programme with over 16,000 ward secretaries and volunteers for delivering government services at citizens’ doorstep.
Understanding the role played by intermediaries
- Intermediaries help citizens overcome barriers to awareness of availability of digital services and rights from the state and ability.
- Intermediaries support individuals by placing complaints, directing them to the right authorities, and following up.
- Intermediaries are crucial offline architectures that enable the state to do its work better.
- Community-based organisations and NGOs see their work as allied to their core work.
- Various types and forms of intermediation emerge based on regional, social, cultural and economic contexts.
- Equally, it is essential to pay attention to the varying incentives of intermediaries and not romanticise the benefits.
- We need to see intermediaries as crucial to the realisation of governance outcomes.
- India has formalised intermediation in traditional markets such as mutual funds from which we can learn.
- In these areas, formal governance mechanisms, structured capacity building, widespread awareness campaigns, and process re-engineering enabled growth and usage.
- At a broader level, increasing digitisation of governance across domains including healthcare, financial inclusion, justice and social services should be considered.
By acknowledging the role of intermediaries and supporting them, we will be able to support the process of responsible, responsive and data-driven governance across domains.