Government-to-Citizen (abbreviated G2C) is the communication link between a government and private individuals or residents. Such G2C communication most often refers to that which takes place through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), but can also include direct mail and media campaigns. G2C can take place at the federal, state, and local levels. G2C stands in contrast to G2B, or Government-to-Business networks.
The e-governance initiatives in India face the twin challenges of automating the government departments and taking the on-line services to the common man. While there are standard approaches available for the former, the later needs innovations to suit the Indian needs. Luckily there are several projects underway in different parts of the country that can give us some insights on the development of G2C delivery models in rural areas. In this paper we have analyzed eight successful IT projects in the rural areas, namely: Gyandoot, e-Chaupal, Inagriline, Dairy Portal TARAhaat, Warana, SARI and CyberGrameen. The lessons and implications for future developments are presented in the article.
India cannot afford to copy the western models of e-governance as it has more than three fourth the population living in rural areas where every second person happens to be an illiterate. According to the 2001 census1 742 million people live in rural areas and 362 million are literate. The sheer numbers and the lack of infrastructure in rural areas pose greater problems in the implementation of e-governance projects. The tele-density2 in rural India stands at 0.4 while the all India figure is 5 per hundred people as compared to the world average of 16. An approximate assessment of the requirement of financial resources for implementation of e-Governance at the State and central government level using the western models yields an astronomical figure of Rs 40,000 crores3. However we cannot do away with e-governance nor afford to neglect the rural masses. We need to use our imagination to develop innovative solutions that are more appropriate for our country and its people.
The Dhar district in central India state of Madhya Pradesh has a population of 1.7 million; 60% live below the poverty line. The goal of the Gyandoot project has been to establish community-owned, technologically innovative and sustainable information kiosks in a poverty-stricken, tribal dominated rural area of Madhya Pradesh. The Gyandoot project was launched on January 1, 2000 with the installation of a low cost rural Intranet covering 20 village information kiosks in five Blocks of the district. Later, 11 more kiosks were set up.
Kiosks have been established in the village Panchayat buildings. Information kiosks have dial-up connectivity through local exchanges on optical fibre or UHF links. The server hub is a Remote Access Server housed in the computer room in the District Panchayat. User fees are charged at the kiosks for the services provided. Local rural youth act as entrepreneurs, running these information kiosks along commercial lines.