Designing a truly digital government

By Golok Kumar Simli, Head-Technology, Passport Seva Program
Golok Kumar Simli

Golok Kumar Simli

To become truly digital, government departments need to move beyond the obvious, come out of silos, and adopt an integrated, collaborative approach. Passport Seva is one government program that is setting an example of a true digital enterprise

Be it a private company, a public sector organization, a government department, or even an individual, we all use digital technology in some form or the other. Today, we stand at an age where technology is being increasingly used to fuel innovation and move beyond traditional processes. That said, still many enterprise community and government departments are stuck up within silos on account of leveraging Information and Communication Technology in the conventional way.


To become truly digital, especially in the case of government departments, one has to move beyond the obvious, come out of silos, and adopt an integrated, collaborative approach. This would naturally push us to adopt revolutionary technologies, like mobile, cloud, etc, which would enable anytime, anywhere and device independent access.

When it comes to deriving collective intelligence plus predictive analysis across business functions, we need to adopt another form of digital explosion—big data and analytics. Further, we must gather data and information emanating from social media to get insights into consumer sentiments, especially Generation Y. In addition, we need to tackle the latest buzz, Internet of Things.

However, the more we move towards these opportunities, the more will be the risk of attracting new threats. Hence, digital overhauling requires careful security analysis.

In essence, a ‘digital way’ of going ahead would result into inclusiveness and empowerment. To elaborate, we are heading for: Silos to integrated to collaborative way; governance to eGovernance to mGovernance; digitization to digital India; technology procurement to automation to technology explosion; and improvement to inclusiveness to empowerment. The best part is that all of them will evolve around a digital platform which is shared, replicable, agile and dynamic.


The following are the key areas where digital disruption and its explosion could play a major role:-

# Citizen Services: Cost-effective and anywhere, anytime access to public services to be availed by the citizens with real time 24 x 7 availability of information, as well as paperless and ensured service delivery.

# Social Development: Digital way of looking at the benefits for the masses in form of their inclusiveness, empowerment, and bridging the digital divide.

# National Security: Digital journey can help build an integrated law enforcement system, which will hugely benefit the security agencies.

#Taxation and Revenue Forecasting: Integration of revenue, taxation, GST, and financial management on a single digital platform would ensure effective tax administration and fiscal discipline.

# Healthcare Administration: Increased reach and accessibility to affordable healthcare and medical services by offering various diagnostic and clinical services, effective and proactive monitoring of quality health services and its deficiencies.

# Common Public Infrastructure: Digital can help in effective utilization of the core ICT platform created by the Government of India such as datacenters, National Fiber Optic Network, National Knowledge Network, and State Wide Area Network.

# Ensuring Entitlements: Adaption of a true digital enterprise in government departments would ensure subsidies and entitlements to citizens at their locality, which will be location independent. In essence, the benefits would follow the citizens as per their entitlement and not vice versa.

# Disaster Management: In case of any disaster or natural hazard, an early warning incident
response system including development of knowledge portals for information discrimination
may be defined. When it comes to digital way of looking within the government departments, the priority areas should be improving transparency and accountability, ensuring increased
reach and accessibility, providing an integrated security system, and enhancing change management.


It is purely safe to say that Passport Seva is setting an example of a true digital enterprise. Passport Seva Program provides anytime, anywhere accessibility through 24×7 citizen portal. The program has increased the reach and provides one visit assured service delivery in the form of Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs).

The success of the program can be gauged from the fact that it serves nearly 50,000 citizens daily.In summary, I am not visualizing miles away, when I say that digital will not only help us in inclusive growth but would also facilitate in eradicating silos in the areas of health, education, homeland security, finance,etc.

– The author is Principal Consultant & Head-Technology,Passport Seva Program, Ministry of External Affairs, GoI

One response to “Designing a truly digital government”

  1. VBP says:

    Very well researched article and very informative. Using this info Private Sector and Service Providers can pitch in and make business proposals to plan and execute for digital reforms in each of the Sectors.

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