Can E-government curb corruption?
We live in a world where almost everything is literally within the palm of our hands. Digital advancement has reached its peak during the 21st century. Technology and Artificial Intelligence are already a part of our everyday lives. For example, Siri and Alexa are becoming a very common name that we hear in almost every household. With the development of digital technology, many innovations related to Government works and plans have also been created during the recent years.
It has provided a huge change and also helped a lot of people to finish Government related works efficiently in comfort. But the question is can all these innovations and transforming Government plans
and policies into digital form help in curbing corruption or maybe help in ending the evil practice of corruption once and for all ?
We all know corruption is not a new word. It has been prevailing ever since the start of society. Corruption is a very huge problem present that has caused a huge negative impact on society. Especially among the political sectors and Government. Most of the time it feels like corruption goes hand in hand with politics.
E- government has come up with new ideas and new ways to make Government policies more efficient and transparent to the citizens. Its goal is to make every things done by the Government to be visible to the people so that it can ensure no corruption or misuse of power for one’s profit.
The E-government has built up many strategies to prevent corruption like building accountability for access of information through the internet.
It also introduces transparency in all its decisions, actions, performances, rules and all kinds of data. It also helps to create a more direct contact between the Government and its citizens.
There are a few ways to prevent corruption. Education, changing the Government process, increasing transparency and professional accountability and also by increasing direct contact between the Government and citizens.
As we can see, the features of E-government are the same with the strategies for preventing corruption.
E-government is not just about emails and websites or pages. It is about making the relationship between the Government and the citizens closer. To provide access of information to the citizens and to make efficient use of resources and time. It also aims to reduce differences among people.
Many incentives have been taken up during the recent years like the Lokvani which is a private-public partnership project at Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh which was launched in November, 2005. It is a 2Gc interface that helps solve the problem of citizens.
It has dramatically improved the proficiency, transparency and accountability of bank-office processes to resolve the complaints of the citizens. And people no longer need to travel to the Government offices.
Another e-government incentive is the Bhoomi in Karnataka where land records are computerised. It has helped many farmers to check their land records easily without the need to bribe accountants who before the implementation of Bhoomi had control over the land records. Interstate Computerized Check posts have also been introduced in Gujarat. It has helped in tightening inspection checks of trucks and vehicles and also checking validity of documents.
Among all these new incentives taken by the Government the CVC or Chief Vigilance Commission is the most innovative and important one. The CVC is a website made by the Government for the purpose of checking corruption and also to control corruption. This website was launched by Commissioner Mr. N Vittal after it was made a statutory body in 1988 by the Supreme Court. This website was launched to share the information of corruption with the general public.
All these incentives and measures taken by the Government with the help of digital or e-government has created quite an impact. The E-government has helped to keep a check on corruption but this does not mean that it can entirely stop it. Corruption is something that will always prevail no matter what steps are taken as long as there is greed and want for something more. Corruption is a serious problem that the whole world can never ignore.
Even though the Government takes up many incentives and steps to bring more transparency and accountability, it is also important for the citizens to have a responsibility to see to it that the country or State is clear and
Awareness is very necessary and the media also has an important role in creating awareness and educating people about e-government and also about how corruption is an evil practice that needs to be abolished for a peaceful and just society.
The writer is a BA Political Science student of Madras Christian College, Chennai