E-governance in India: its impacts on relations among citizens, politicians and

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Offline Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker

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E-governance in India: its impacts on relations among citizens, politicians and public servants

In all societies, the formation of public governance is largely dependent on its
contextual parameters, including social structure, economic condition, political
atmosphere, cultural pattern and technological trend. The nature of governance
often changes depending on the intensity and speed of transition in some of these
surrounding factors. In the current age, one of the most significant contextual
phenomena affecting public governance is the revolution in information and
communication technology (ict).1 Internationally, this revolution in ict has
facilitated the globalization of the economy, business, finance and culture
(Berleur, 1997; Heeks, 1999). Today ict constitutes the fastest growing component
of the global economy and the revenue generated by the interactive
information industry may have reached $3.5 trillion (Hariharan, 1999). Internally,
within each society, the conventional forms of communication (print media,
motion pictures, radio, telephones, records) are increasingly being replaced with
digital and wireless technologies such as cellular telephones, satellites, electronic
mail and, above all, the internet (Gudaitis, 2001). However, the most influential
dimension of this revolution is the worldwide proliferation of access to the internet.
It is observed that the number of internet hosts increased from 100,000 in
1988 to over 36 million in 1998; and the number of internet users rose from 26
million in 1995 to 143 million in mid-1998, and it might reach 700 million by the
end of 2001 (UNDP, 1999; Norris, 2000). This contextual phenomenon, which
has changed the nature of the workforce, human relations and public expectations,
represents a considerable challenge to the state to adjust its public governance
(Centre on Governance, 1999a, b).
In response to this transition in the context of governance, in almost every
country, the state has taken the necessary initiatives to restructure political and
administrative institutions by adopting ict in order to enhance electronic interaction
and service delivery (Menzel, 1998; Galbi, 2001). Today public servants
are encouraged and trained to be familiar with the tools and languages of ict
Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of Development Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University