E-Government Development Index (EGDI) explained.

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 E-Government Development Index (EGDI)

  • With an EGDI index score of 0.5669, India is just above the world average of 0.55.
    • The Asian leader in e-government, South Korea, scored 0.9010 (marginally behind world leader Denmark’s 0.9150).
    • India’s score is also shy of Iran (0.6083).
  • In the SAARC region, Sri Lanka is ahead of India.
  • India does rank very high in one sub-index. It moved up 12 places in the E-Participation Index (EPI), from 27 in 2016 to 15 in 2018.
  • It measures countries use of information and communications technologies to deliver public services.
  • The index captures the scope and quality of online services, status of telecommunication infrastructure and existing human capacity.
  • The UN has been conducting the survey since 2001 to spread digital government throughout the world and to achieve sustainable development goals by 2030.
  • The survey is conducted every 2 years by Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariatwith the assistance of International Telecommunication Union and Institute for Statistics of UNESCO.
  • It is the only global report that assesses the e­- government development status of the 193 UN Member States.

How it is measured?

  • The UN has used a scale of 0 to 1 on the following indexes-online service delivery, telecommunication infrastructure and human capital- to consider overall situation in a country and prepare the E-Government Development Index.
  • The EPI looks at issues like e-information, e-consultation and e-decision making to arrive at a score.
  • India’s high ranking does signify two things:
    • that the government is making more information available online
    • that more people are in a position to access that information, and also electronically participate in policy formation and decision-making.
  • A good example of this was when the government first mooted its ‘smart cities’ initiative, when citizens were able to actively participate with ideas on what kind of initiatives their city should adopt and how these initiatives should be designed and implemented.

World Ranking

  • Denmark has topped the E-Government Index with a score of 0.915 while Somalia has been in last place with a score of 0.0566.
  • Sri Lanka is on 94th place, India on 96th , Maldives on 97th , Nepal on 117th , Bhutan 126th , Pakistan 148th , Myanmar 157th and Afghanistan on 177th place in the index among South Asian countries.
  • Denmark, Finland and South Korea is leading the E-Participation Index with a score of 1 while North Korea is on the last position scoring 0.
  • Bangladesh has significantly moved forward on the E-Government Development Index of the United Nations due to the development in information-communication technology sector over the last few years.

Significance

  • It serves as a tool for countries to learn from each other, identify areas of strength and challenges in e-­government and shape their policies and strategies in this area.
  • It is also aimed at facilitating discussions of intergovernmental bodies, including the United Nations General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, on issues related to government and development and to the critical role of ICT in development.
  • The reason the UN compiles this index and urges member countries to focus on e-government initiatives is that there is a clear link between greater e-governance and easier public access to government services and a reduction in poverty and inequality.

Flawed implementation of Schemes in India

  • One of the biggest reasons our poverty alleviation measures have failed to achieve the desired impact (apart from corruption and leakage) is inefficient targeting, and lack of information with the intended beneficiariesabout plans and schemes meant to assist them.
  • In areas like public health and land records, the progress has stopped with putting up some downloadable forms online.
    • Many government departments still insist on physical forms and signatures, despite the near universalization of an identity instrument like Aadhaar, which allows simple and foolproof authentication.
  • The cause of e-governance in India, actual progress has been slow.

Conclusion

  • Knowledge is power, but access to knowledge is another kind of power. This is where digital can be a great disruptor.
  • With the India Stack (Aadhaar, UPI, etc. aimed at ensuring presence-less, cashless and paperless service delivery), and the ongoing mobile and broadband revolution, India can become a world leader in e-governance.

 

 

 

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