In a recent survey, Tamil Nadu leads as India’s best e-governed state for 2008-09, followed by Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh.
Karnataka, India’s IT hotspot, is down nine places at 16. Kerala, India’s topper in literacy, is at 18, falling 13 places. West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar are at the bottom.
Some criteria used for ranking are ‘IT vision’, project execution and allocation, and user satisfaction. Does e-governance depend on the quality of political leadership? Given its moves against red tape, it isn’t surprising Tamil Nadu tops business satisfaction.
Andhra’s rulers took the pro-IT cue from the previous Chandrababu Naidu regime. With Andhra overtaking Karnataka, the result shows. Conversely, Left-ruled West Bengal’s gains in computerisation have eroded, despite its high IT spending.
Have technophobic government employees’ unions played a role?
For a globalising country in an information-driven age, the IT revolution is enabling in many ways. E-governance doesn’t merely promote administrative efficiency via computerised operations and data storage. It is a means of making government responsive, transparent, accessible and business-friendly. Above all, it is an essential tool for deepening participatory democracy.