The Government of Kerala is committed to equitable development. It is committed to making efficient public services available to all citizens and to ensuring that public institutions are responsive to people’s needs in a modern, technologically advanced world. Information and communication technology is essential to meeting these commitments.
Kerala has sturdy historical foundations on which to build its e-governance structure. It has strong institutions of local government and people’s participation in administration and development. The IT policy of the State, announced by the Government of Kerala in 2017, envisages a knowledge-powered digital society and the overall social and economic empowerment of all citizens. Young people in Kerala are educated, employable, and responsive to modern technology.
The Government of India’s Digital India policy, with which the Government of Kerala is in broad agreement, has three major components. These are: (1) to create digital infrastructure for citizen access as well as industrial and commercial purposes; (2) to provide services for citizens and businesses from online and mobile platforms and (3) to ensure the digital empowerment of people by building digital literacy and sharing government performance data in open platforms.
The recent experience of pandemic management has also contributed to our understanding of the future course of e-governance.
The session on e-governance at the conference will consider five themes.
- Citizen access to services. This continues to be the most challenging issue, especially in the context of increased requirements in terms of bandwidth and demand for quality service. Citizen access concerns not only the availability of physical infrastructure, but also the access that all sections of society have to digital services. The pandemic showed up, for instance, certain urgent requirements when education and a part of the health services have to move online. We need to understand cost-effective technological options for improving access to services.
- Informed government decision support systems. Most e-governance applications today are discrete and transactional in nature. The potential of IT technology to enable collaboration among various departments and coordination of policy has not fully been realised.
- Administration of technology systems: Technologies in this field change constantly, as do the requirements of the people who use e-governance services. There are also increasing issues of data privacy and cyber security. The administrative structure of e-governance needs special attention.
- Citizen participation and empowerment. This is an important objective of the 2017 IT policy of the Government of Kerala. The experience of the floods and pandemic indicate the need for technology that helps coordinate and focus public action from above and form below. We shall consider global best practices in this regard in order to design and implement a system appropriate to Kerala.
- Policy environment and regulations. In recent years, many new Acts and regulations with respect to data security, privacy, and use have been introduced at the national level. These regulations have implications for the functioning of government as a whole and for individual departments. Statelevel policy must continuously monitor the policy environment and current regulations and legal requirements.
Kerala State Planning Board.
Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram KERALA 695 004