Building Capacity

World over, capacity building has been conceptualized and is
understood well with respect to the developmental sector. This is generally in
terms of enablement, technology, manpower, training and human resource
development, etc. Many capacity building initiatives exist under the areas
covered by certain UN agencies, international organizations and NGOs. However,
the conceptualization of capacity building with respect to e-Governance is still
in its nascent stage. Thereby, posing a huge challenge towards identifying
suitable imperatives. Most of the nations have gone far in the area of
e-Governance as they had a reasonable level of readiness.

Indian environment poses considerable challenges because of its
geographic, cultural, social and economic diversity. Implementation experience
shows that it is generally easier to incept new processes and systems rather
than transform the existing systems that have become part of the set-up. India
has had a legacy of processes and systems existing since long before

The National e-Governance Plan of Government of India is the
greatest ever ICT enabled governance initiative since independence. It is an
ambitious program that has the potential to transform the whole experience of
citizen service delivery. With mission mode projects spreading across states,
UTs and line ministries, the scale and scope of activities planned have thrilled
even the international community and they are immensely impressed and interested
in this whole initiative.

The function of capacity building is about development of
sustainable capacities within a system to align itself towards identified goals
and achieve the same in efficient and effective manner. Indian states have shown
a keen interest in this initiative and have developed their e-Governance

e-Governance roadmap is a blueprint for the e-Governance vision
of a state and depicts the status of e-Governance in a state, framework for
identifying and prioritizing e-Governance projects, existing and proposed
infrastructure, implementations/applications, institutional structure, capacity
building & resource options, etc. This helps in prioritizing the various
intended initiatives based on factors such as service value analysis, citizen
interface, development priority, revenue generating potential, departmental
e-readiness, etc.

There is a need to dedicate full-time resources to conceptualize
and implement e-Governance programs, develop competencies and keep pace with
technological advancements, and establish mechanism for monitoring and review.
At the apex level, capacities are required for policy formulation and committing
resources. At the program development and program management level, capacities
are required for preparing roadmaps, frameworks guidelines, prioritization,
monitoring, collaboration, etc. Similarly, at the project development and
management, capacities are required for project conceptualization, process
management, monitoring, etc. The capacity building guidelines take cognizance of
this fact, which is duly addressed in these guidelines, as shown in figure. The
institutional structures are envisaged to be created: SeMT-State e-Governance
Mission Team to provide technical support and decision making for driving
e-Governance, and PeMTs-Project e-Governance Mission Teams for the project

Capacity building is a prominent precursor towards the
implementation of e-Governance in India. It is about transforming the
rudimentary systems and rejuvenating them through various mechanisms. Primarily,
the capacity building would address the need of technical manpower for
facilitating and driving the e-Governance in states.

Levels at which
institutional framework and capacity building is needed

Source: Guidelines for
Capacity Building and institutional framework under NeGP

Capacity building activities will also endeavor to give suitable
training inputs and content development for various identified areas, such as
e-Governance project evaluation/audit, outsourcing management, vendor
management, e-Governance policy framework, IT Acts, policies and regulations,
government process re-engineering, knowledge management, publicity and
awareness/PR skills, PPP modeling, etc.

Exposure to international best practices is also a very
important component of capacity building as this helps in assimilating the
successful processes and learning into the ongoing e-Governance initiatives.
Therefore, emphasizing the need of a proper knowledge sharing, interaction and
knowledge transfer via various media like specialized workshops, orientation
sessions, multimedia and the Internet.

The greatest challenge of culminating a pool of technically
trained manpower can also be met by incepting certain formal training programs
in academic institutions. There is also a need to evolve e-Governance as a
formal academic discipline, which has a blend of public administration, process
re-engineering, management and technology.

e-Governance initiated across the nation will bring greater
efficiency and effectiveness in the systems, and will have many direct and
indirect benefits to society at large. The e-Governance initiative in India is a
commendable movement that has the potential to enable diverse functions within
and outside the government, taking the stakeholder experience to new heights,
transforming the nation and bringing prosperity.

Dr Dhrupad Mathur,
The author is senior consultant, National e-Governance Plan, India

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