Online experiences and the government: What to expect when they converge

17th Jan 2019
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The government has a clear vision laid out for the digital future of India and it aims to provide improved governance that leads to inclusive growth, better job opportunities, and access to basic services for all citizens.

With digital transformation taking over every sphere, it is no surprise that the government has taken it upon themselves to keep up. From standing in lines for hours to get one's voter ID or PAN card to applying for any of these documents online and receiving them at one's doorstep, the government has come a long way.

Like any other development this too has given rise to a crucial question: can the government further evolve the online/digital experience they extend to their citizens, and how? And, like any other answer, this one too remains multi-pronged.

Going back to where it all started

Though the government was one of the late entrants to the digital transformation narrative, they have now embraced the need for this transformation and are consistently working towards it. The first point of entry into digital transformation was with the introduction of online citizen-centric payment portals for state-owned facilities such as electricity, and water. This was followed by digitalisation of records, such as land records, e-procurement projects and public sector banks sites.

The start was not very smooth, especially given that employees were not used to or trained for the level of digital transformation, but everyone involved soon caught up, and how. With unique ID, electronic KYC, electronic signature, digital lockers, and Unified Payment Interface, among others, the present scenario presents a picture of effective and efficient digital services delivered to the citizens.

Where is the digital vision looking to move, and what can we expect?

Transformation of any kind is a constant process, and digital is no exception. The government has a clear vision laid out for the digital future of India and it aims to provide improved governance that leads to inclusive growth, better job opportunities, and access to basic services for all citizens.

While policy changes and implementation of those policies remain crucial to a truly digital nation, here's what we expect in terms of evolution in the digital transformation journey:

Smart cities:

Built on Business Process Management and Enterprise Content Management platforms and making ample use of IoT technologies, smart cities have often been hailed as the answer to most urbanisation woes. As urban areas that forward the goal of sustainable economic development and extend the high quality of life to citizens with efficient management of natural resources and participatory governance enhanced by efficient dissemination of information, smart cities are definitely one of the most promising avenues of digital transformation.

Bots powered by Artificial Intelligence:

Cognitive chatbots have the capability to eliminate a huge amount of paperwork and free up the bandwidth of white-collar workers to a huge extent. A voice-based bot powered by artificial intelligence could help facilitate access to government services, such as utility bill payments, provident fund balance and income tax filings for regional language speakers and those with lower-literacy backgrounds. They can also help create a more citizen-centric experience and the government is fast realising the potential AI-powered bots hold.

Mobility in e-governance:

When it comes to technology, a smartphone is something a major part of the population owns now. Mobile applications have the widest reach given the ease of access and user-friendly nature which comes with them. They also go a long way in boosting the efficiency of governance by limiting the amount of time citizen and government bodies spend on paperwork and other manual tasks that can be automated and mobilised. They help to deliver citizen-oriented services as well as increase citizen engagement, thereby making them the perfect ally in the journey towards digital transformation.

Analytics to forward governance:

Governments often hold massive amounts of information regarding citizens and data analytics could be the one tool that can help support and improve all e-governance initiatives. For a country with a huge population, analytics can be particularly helpful when it comes to decision-making backed by numbers and the right kind of data at the right time.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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