Opinion by Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS International: Global Visa outsource service providers

Due to the rise of global digitalisation, governments around the world are initiating steps to involve technology across administrative processes. This has led to the emergence of e-governance. In a democracy like India, ideally e-governance should enable seamless access to information across the state and central governments. However, implementing the same for over a billion people is a challenge.

Expectation versus Reality 

Citizens expect speedy service, courteous treatment, and quick redressal of grievances or applications in administration. Very apparently, the people are frustrated by the complexity in these services that requires them to visit multiple locations and execute multiple transactions to satisfy simple requests. They now feel the need for a round- the-clock service and seek rapid resolutions to their governmental problems.

There is a wide gap between the expectations of the citizens and their actual experience with the government. This gap can only be filled by drastic simplification of procedures and outsourced e-governance services to private players that can provide expert support. Worldwide, such partnerships are already in place for speedy and efficient functioning.

Punjab sets an example 

What people expect from a responsible government is a blend of cost-effective and time-bound services that follow a transparent policy with no third-party intrusion and a corruption-free work structure. Owing to the support and efforts by the Punjab state government, the dream project of e-governance in the state has been executed, setting an example for the rest of the country.

With 354 kendras (centres) offering more than 250 citizen services of various government departments that serve almost 66 per cent of the state’s population, the northern state has become an expert in the said domain. The centres have processed more than 17 million applications until date, which is an accomplishment and a sheer indication of the extent of faith that the people of Punjab have in these services.

In addition to being trustworthy e-governance service providers, these sewa kendras  (service centres) have benefitted the livelihood of thousands of people that work there. The workforce includes 25 per cent of women and also one per cent of specially abled individuals. With incessant progress and trust amongst the citizens of Punjab regarding good e-governance, it is expected that in the coming year, the entire population of the state will start visiting these centres for fulfilling their varied governmental requirements. The flourishing e-governance services in Punjab have surely set a standard for other Indian states.

Why outsource E-governance 

  • It provides better access to information and quality services for citizens. Implementation of this technology by outsourcing it to experts ensures the availability of timely and reliable information on various aspects of governance.
  • It enables simplicity, efficiency and accountability. Outsourcing results in the simplification of the functioning of the government, improved  decision-making abilities and increased efficiency across authorities, contributing to a more accountable governance.
  • It boosts the reach. Outsourcing helps in bringing government machinery to the doorsteps of the citizens. It reduces bureaucracy and enhances the quality of services in terms of time, content and accessibility through integrated service delivery platforms.