30 Jun 2010

Why e-governance won't work

No organisation can function the way it is supposed to when the 'job responsibilities' and 'job skills' of functions don't match the actual work they are doing. Government in most democracies are a case-in-point.

The prevalent understanding of e-governance only serves to perpetuate an absurd situation.

I'll explain.

In a democracy...

- Whose job eligibility is based almost solely on his / her ability to relate to the common-citizen? Ample people skills, oodles of personal charm and charisma are essential for success. Technical knowledge and academic qualification are, perhaps rightly, not critical factors.

- Whose key job responsibility is it, to deal with any issues that the common-citizen may have?

- Who is appointed directly by, and obliged to report directly to the common-citizen?

And now let us consider...

- Whose job eligibility is based almost solely on his / her technical knowledge and academic qualification? People skill is not a prerequisite. And thankfully, charisma is not a criterion for career advancement.

- Who is (technically) appointed by, and therefore obliged to report to the 'state apparatus' (or government)?

The popularly propagated myth is that the public is obliged to deal with the bureaucracy, which is actually in the service of the state (or government). And it is also taken for granted that elected representatives, whose sole responsibility is to serve the public, will be unavailable to the common-citizen after they are appointed.

E-governance will never work as long as it is meant only to enable public interaction with the bureaucracy.

E-governance may help improve efficiency of the government apparatus - but in it's current form, it does nothing for democracy. Nothing. Nil. Nada. Null. Naught. Zero. Zilch. Zip.

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