- The National e-Governance Plan of India has set ambitious goals, including the eradication of corruption.
- Prime Minister’s assertion that “e-Governance is economical governance” underscores its potential to combat corruption.
Extent of reduction in corruption:
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT):
- DBT eliminates intermediaries, reducing opportunities for coercive corruption.
- Example: In the case of welfare programs, DBT directly transfers funds to beneficiaries, eliminating middlemen and ensuring that funds reach the intended recipients.
Mandatory Digital Payments (GST):
- The requirement for digital payments, such as under the Goods and Services Tax (GST), minimizes interactions between the public and officials.
- Example: The shift to digital tax payments reduces the need for in-person dealings with tax authorities, reducing the scope for corrupt practices.
Reduction of Inspector Raj (eBiz):
- eBiz allows companies and firms to complete legal formalities electronically, reducing opportunities for bribery.
- Example: Electronic tax compliance and document submission reduce the need for businesses to engage with corrupt officials to navigate bureaucratic processes.
- A cashless economy disrupts the ecosystem conducive to corruption.
- Example: Electronic transactions leave digital trails, making it harder for corrupt actors to engage in illicit financial activities without detection.
- GeM enhances transparency in public procurement.
- Example: GeM’s online platform for government procurement ensures competitive pricing and reduces the scope for corruption in government contracts.
Nepotism in Sale of Natural Resources:
- E-auctions for the allocation of natural resources, like the 2G spectrum, reduce the likelihood of nepotism.
- Example: Transparent e-auctions ensure that valuable resources are allocated to the highest bidder, reducing opportunities for corruption.
Low Financial and Digital Literacy:
- Limited financial and digital literacy may lead people to rely on intermediaries, perpetuating corruption.
- Example: People lacking digital skills may still need assistance from corrupt officials or middlemen to access their DBT benefits.
Illicit Wealth Beyond Cash:
- Corruption isn’t limited to cash transactions; illicit wealth can take various forms.
- Example: Corrupt practices may involve non-monetary assets or complex financial instruments that fall outside the scope of e-Governance.
Uneven Adoption of Cashless Economy:
- The cashless economy isn’t universally prevalent, particularly in rural areas and among micro and small enterprises.
- Example: Rural areas may still heavily rely on cash transactions due to limited digital infrastructure and awareness.
Limited Digital Infrastructure:
- Uneven digital infrastructure hinders the widespread adoption of e-Governance.
- Example: Internet penetration rates vary across regions, with some areas having limited access to digital services.
- E-Governance holds immense potential to promote ethical governance and reduce corruption in India.
- However, addressing challenges like low digital literacy, the diversity of corrupt practices, uneven adoption of cashless systems, and limited digital infrastructure is crucial to fully harness this potential.
- E-Governance stands as a gateway to ushering in a more transparent and incorruptible era of governance in India.