Vigilance and E-Governance
Vigilance and E-Governance
Vigilance means watchfullness or to bring awareness. Vigilance came into existence mainly for the purpose of fighting corruption. Corruption involves misuse of power , money ,government property etc. Though corruption can’t be brought down to zero level, we can try to bring it as low as possible. This can be ensured by watchfulness, caution and vigilance. Or in other words it can be achieved by E-Governance. E-Governance is the use of various modern information and communication technologies such as internet, local area networks, mobile phones,etc. by the government to promote democracy and minimize the corruption level. Simply e-governance is electronic management and electronic controllership. Therefore vigilance and e-governance are required for ensuring corruptionless functioning of any private, public or government organisation. In order to achieve this purpose, govenment has implemented various online services under national e-governance plan like property registration, railway reservation, pensions, passport, visa , company affairs, land records, e-courts, etc.
Here we will discuss some of the examples and we will see how they are proven to be effective, not only for fighting against corruption but also for improving the efficiency, effectiveness and comfortness of public.
Online Delivery of Land Titles in Karnataka, India
Before the computerisation of The Department of Revenue in Karnataka, farmers had to seek the Village Accountant to get a copy of the Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crops(RTC), a document needed for many purposes such as obtaining bank loans. But there were unnecessary delays and harassments. Many were forced to pay bribes.
Land owners found it difficult to access the village accountant, as his duties entail traveling. The time taken by the village accountant to provide RTC ranged from 3 to 30 days depending upon the size off the bribe. A tyypical bribe for a certificate could range from Rs. 100 to Rs. 2000. If some details were to be written in an ambiguous fashion, out of selfish motives, the bribe could go upto rs. 10,000. Land records in the custody of village accountant were not open for public scrutiny. But after the computerisation of The Department of Revenue in Karnataka, for a fee of Rs. 5 , a printed copy of the RTC can be obtained online at computerised land record kiosks in 140 Taluk offices without any delay or bribe. The software incorporates the bio-logon metrics system, which authenticates the users with their fingerprint. A log is maintained of all transaction in a session. This makes an officer accountable for his decisions and actions. The government has also got plans to web-enable the database to make it available for the farmers to receive a copy of the land records locally through an internet kiosk. Although without a signature such a copy will only have an informative value.
This scheme is also useful for preventing lands-scam as all the data related to the land is in a common server.
Computerised Interstate Check Posts in Gujarat
Gujarat has an extensive road network, which carries a large volume of commercial traffic. Major highway systems link Delhi to Mumbai and provide the pricipal link to the Kandla sea port on Gujarat’s west coast. Gujarat’s 10 check posts are positioned at the border with three neighbouring Indian states. Nearly 25,000 transport vehicles enter daily through these check posts. most of the trucking companies aim to increase their earnings from each vehicle.
Often this has promoted transporters to load their trucks beyond permissible axle load, creating a serious safeety hazard. Without the computerisation, a suspect vehicle is flagged to stop , and then weighed on a weigh bridge located away from traffic. The legal penalty for overload is Rs. 2000 per ton. However most of such fines are illegaly negotiated. The problem of corruption was particulaly difficult to attack as the corrupt were backed by politicians. In the absence of any systematic inspection of vehicles, the transport companies also adopted various illegal practices.
Duplicate copies of a single registration book from the Regional Transport Office (RTO) have been used for many different vehicles, using fake license plates. With the computerisation, all check posts are monitored at a central location using video cameras installed at every check post cabin. The video cameras captures the registration number of all trucks approaching the check post. Image processing software converts the video image of the registration number to a digital form and the details of the truck are acessed from a central database.
An electronic weigh bridge measures the weight feeds it to the computer, which automatically issues a demand note for the fine. The use of computers and other electronic devices at the 10 remote interstate border check posts in gujarat, has reduced the corruption and significantly increased the state’s tax revenue.
Online Indian Railway Train Status and Reservation System:
Before the computerisation system it was very difficult to know the availability of train seat and reserving without paying money. Even sometimes passengers had to pay additional money inside the train.
But after computerisation, the availability of seats can be accessed by anyone through internet. Passengers can even book tickets online. It drastically reduced corruption. Also autoupgradation of passenger tickets increased the revenue to Indian railways and decreased the additional income(bribe) to TTE.
Work Progress Monitoring System:
This software is intensively used in all type of industry to monitor its work progress. This is not directly related with money corruption but it deals with monitoring corruption which includes delaying of projects which indirectly leads to increase the hidden cost of the company.
Thus by deploying both vigilance and e-governance, the level of corruption has been reduced substantially. But the biggest challenge in deploying e-governance is not technology but the change in management. Sudden Management change not only affects the culture but also affects the workflow and the workers. E-governance doesn’t mean proliferation of computer and other e-accessories, but is basically a political decision which calls for discipline and attitudinal change in officers and employees.