Over the past few years digital governance, or e-governance, has become a buzzword in most big states. The central government as well as most state governments have been trying to digitise all services, create apps and offer a better, more transparent, and simpler customer experience, while cutting down on corruption, time delays and discretion enjoyed by officers and staff across government departments. Some states have been faster off the block than others, but each one of them has tried to take things forward in their own way. The Digital India initiative announced by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government in July 2015, and the current drive to move more services into the digital payments systems are all part of those efforts.
This is particularly useful as the country's access to Internet broadband - both through landline as well as through mobile Internet - has improved. But much more needs to be done, and many different efforts, which are now underway, need to come together as a comprehensive overall e-governance system and service.
In the opening section on Smarter Governance, R. Chandrashekhar, President, Nasscom, provides the overview of second generation e-governance initiatives. Then we look at interesting experiments taking place in different states and in different areas of governance, ranging from policing and city management to tax administration. We also look at the digital divide that needs to be bridged for all of India to benefit from smarter governance initiatives that depend so heavily on technology and the Internet.