[Solved] “The emergence of Fourth Industrial Revolution (Digital Revolution) has initiated e-Governance as an integral part of government”. Discuss. (UPSC GS -2 Mains 2020)

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to industrialize production. The Second employed electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now the Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century.

  • It is characterized by a blending of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres
  • Fourth digital revolution- It focuses on revolution of digital technologies (upgraded version of Third Industrial Revolution)
  • The fourth industrial revolution can enhance e-governance in Indian. E-governance deals with digitization of government services so that people can avail them more conveniently.
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution includes development of new digital technologies that has improved functioning of society. Components include Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Machine Learning etc that have been a recent phenomenon.

Role of fourth industrial revolution in improving e-governance

  • Easier access to services
    Through digital revolution and technology improvement, access to government services has become easier. Latest technology such as cloud computing have improved connectivity issues that had been plaguing digital governance.
  • Better policy measures
    New technology such as Big Data, Data Mining etc has capacity to identify useful aspects from large dataset. This will allow policy makers to make clear distinction between what is useful for the future. This ensures better policy measures.
  • Faster resolution of grievances
    Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies have helped in evolution of new grievance resolution techniques such as bots. This has led to faster reduction in public issues.
  • Transparency
    Technology growth has created new opportunities for improving transparency in governance. This includes monitoring misgovernance such as corruption or favouritism.

Advantages of e-governance initiatives in India:

  • With large scale demographic constraints, digitization can help mass scale policies like Skill India, Start Up India, Atal Innovation Mission reach a larger number of people.
  • It will enhance citizen centric administration with greater accountability and transparency.
  • Will help in evaluation of policies through digital records.

Concerns associated with digital revolution

  • Lack of human resource
    There is shortage of people able to handle such technology. Without proper training or understanding, the technology may not give the desired benefits.
  • Information leakage
    Technology and digitisation is a two edged sword. While it can improve governance mechanism, it is also vulnerable to leakage. This is a concern that needs to be addressed.

Other challenges

Challenges in e-governance:

  • Lack of infrastructure.
  • Lack of awareness among people.
  • Lack of internet facilities.
  • High economic costs.
  • Issues of security and privacy.
  • Digital divide.

Bharat Net and optical fibre network can boost digital infrastructure in rural areas.

Meghraj- GI Cloud  focuses on this initiative to accelerate the delivery of e-services in the country while optimizing ICT spending of the Government.

e-Kranti is an essential pillar for digitisation with the goal of the vision of “Transforming e-Governance for Transforming Governance”.

As the digital world is vital to facilitate the reach of physical and biological worlds, e-Governance has become an integral part of the government, which is quite evident in the Mumbai Declaration on e-Governance whose ten-fold goal takes forward the roadmap for e-Governance defined in the Shillong Declaration of 2019 and centers around improving public service delivery exhausting digital platforms, particularly concerning health, agriculture, education and land, and using emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Machine Learning to disseminate successful e-governance solutions to ensure the maximum number of citizens the ability to impact their families, communities and the institutions and organizations they are associated within a positive way and with certainty.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) in India. The centre would aim to bring together the government and business leaders to pilot emerging technology policies. Government along with other stakeholders should cooperate effectively to use this opportunity to enhance e-governance under the umbrella of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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