We’ve heard a lot about governance, it’s time to talk about e-governance. In India, the past couple of decades have seen a paradigm shift in government’s attitude towards ensuring effective delivery of services to the people. The central locus of e-governance rests on making public service delivery citizen-centric where people don’t have to stand in queues for accessing their rights because all the information is just one click far away from them now.
Making the relevant information online regarding government proceedings on public matters such as budget, social development schemes, recruitment application for pan card, jobs, schools, MNREGA status and progress report on various important matters gives the people freedom to be informed of the current public matters.
Madhya Pradesh government has done a commendable job in making this happen by starting a MPOnline portal also known as MPOnline Information for Citizen Empowerment as a step towards ensuring transparency and accountability. The GoMP in collaboration with the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) designed and developed the MPOnline portal to enable citizens to access government services more effectively.
The MPOnline portal integrates key government departments such as the municipality, Forest, Administrative, Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Police departments, etc to bring in transparency and accountability in the functioning and delivery of services to the people. Every possible information is now available on the portal.
But, E-governance is not just about making websites, it’ lot more than that. Digital Literacy is one of the key elements of establishing an efficient model of e-governance because unless the citizens are literate enough to access the information provided to them, this model of e-governance would be of no use. It plays an important role in bridging the gap between common people and e-governance.
Samarthan Centre for Development Support with the support of Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India works in this area in order to enhance the access of social development benefits to the poor in rural Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh through the medium of on-line portals of the Government. Uptill now, it has been successful in setting up 8 Kiosk centres in four districts i.e. Sehore and Panna in Madhya Pradesh and Kanker and Rajnangaon in Chattisgarh. Each of these centres have been set up in the 8 Gram Panchayats which are well connected to most of the villages. One information kiosk has been setup at a cluster of 5 villages where the Kiosk is equipped with computer and internet facility, on the other hand one information mitra has been appointed from each village who is responsible for providing information to their people on the relevant schemes.
Both Kiosk manager and the information mitras belong to their respective villages and are well aware of the problems faced by the people in their villages. They have also been trained to work on computers and make use of the MPOnline portal for various matters. Monthly meetings are held where the information mitras and kiosk manager meet and share about their experience of working as well as continuous exchange of information takes place between the two parties.
It is important to note here that the road connectivity of most of these villages to the urban areas is very poor. Communication gap due to hierarchical divide between the Gram Panchayat Secretary and the villagers is another reason responsible for the ineffective implementation of the social development schemes made for the rural poor. In such a scenario, our Information mitras act not only as a mediator between the Panchayat and the people but also are the well informed ones in their village.
Samarthan’s motive here lies in the capacity building of the youth of the village by sensitizing them about the government schemes and enhancing digital literacy among them. This further, results in strengthening and ensuring the sustainability of the e-governance model (promoted by Madhya Pradesh Government) for the purpose of rural development.
“It’s time we realise the need of an efficient e-governance model to strengthen our public institutions and thereby, enhance the transparency and accountability of our government.”