E-Government Transformation in Maharashtra, India

The scalar transformation of e-government implementation models in the state of Maharashtra, India, took place exactly as West pictures as billboard, partial service delivery and Portal stage (with major focus on service delivery). The e-government initiative took its shape during late nineties with my employer being appointed as the Apex consultant to the state government to implement all its e-government initiatives including G2G and G2C interactions.

The initial focus was bringing improvements within the government systems (building transversal systems as Shark puts it) and creating intra-department WAN network (satellite based). So the initial focus on implementing e-government initiatives was to build the base for the administrative back office systems to improve existing bureaucratic processes and how departments interacted between themselves to improve their efficiency. During this stage, the initial billboard based, citizen facing website was published which included static information about government, its official and their contacts, major announcements, major government resolutions (GRs), tenders and other relevant information – all downloadable as html/pdf/doc format.

During the time period from 2002-2006, saw a combined era of service delivery and portal stage where the internal transversal systems were integrated with the new e-government portal and more citizen involvement and service delivery was implemented. For example the Document Journey Management System (DJMS, which now manages inter and intra-department work flow) was integrated to the portal so that citizens can directly make avail of particular services and post their feedbacks and grievances. The information posted on the website is delivered to the DJMS system at the same instant via XML data exchange and the department official is notified of the change in document status and seeks for action in the document journey to the next level of hierarchy.

I would say that the socio-political and cultural aspects of the state have a great impact on the level of transformation that occurred throughout the period of 7-8 years until its current state. The major positive impacts were from government grants to support renewed IT infrastructure and opening of separate IT department for state headquartered at Churchgate, Mumbai. The IT department had separate IT secretary, Under Secretary and Director to just look after IT. Their goal was to make Maharashtra the leader in e-governance within the country and at the same time utilize state of the art technology to link government with citizens. Political power and ability to shape technology usage is high, but is rather competing with other states to ponder innovative technologies. This competition has played a major role in creating specific benchmarks and level of competency in e-government expertise across the states and there is constant support from central government for all IT initiatives.