Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Roles And Applications of ICT ( Information & Communication Technology)

Significance Of ICT in Governance:

1) Enhances the quality and delivery of Public services

2) Enhances the quality of citizen-government interface

3) Enables people's participation in governance, and

4) Provides greater access and outreach so as to include the disadvantaged in governance

  • Information Browsing - Remote Access Systems to information databases on personal computers and via the internet have grown exponentially in the last few years. World Wide Web browsers allow a user to quickly access a wide variety of information sources which are both in audio and video (multimedia) format but they are still very less in number. But the paradox here is that though there is more and more multimedia data available on the internet but our ability to pick up what is available is limited.

  • Electronic Publishing and Dissemination: Access to online databases,electronic resources,online information transactions and digitised services have revolutionized the way information is disseminate. Therefore there is unfettered access to reliable information to academicians,researchers,practitioners and policy makers alike from any part of the world.

  • Modelling and Simulation: This helps in developing a level of understanding of the interaction of the parts of a system, and of the system as a whole which further helps in improving systems' capacities in delivering services. Huge database are required that are managed through various ICTs and a pattern is derived based on certain parameters that give shape to models. Simulation generally refers to a computerized version of the model,which is run over time to study the implications of the defined interactions and are iterative in their development. A model is then simulated and then learnings from the same are used to revise the model and iterations continue till an adequate level of understanding is developed. ICTs have enabled the related processes to handle complex situations.

  • Online Business and Government Transactions: Land records have been made available by many state governments. Birth and Death certificates can be procured without physically visiting the government offices. Telephone bills can be paid over the internet saving crucial time in the process. Paying income tax or property tax is no longer a cumbersome process thanks to ICT.  Thus service delivery and governance is improved considerably and also generates huge resources in savings by reducing operating inefficiencies,redundant spending and excessive paperwork.

  • Electronic Conferences ( Meetings and Discussions): Meetings and Conferences provide arenas for dissemination of information and immediate presentation of new results and cutting edge research but the costs associated with it like traveling reduces its potential audience thus restricting its benefits. Also time constraints imposed by them often conflict with duties. Thus Electronic Conferences can offer many of the same features of traditional conferences that serves the purpose, which is exchange of new results. The Internet provides a robust environment for providing and presenting information,allowing extensive use of text,graphics and multimedia along with low cost and lack of travel time and other restrictions are banished like time and place on the audience that are imposed by traditional conferences and meetings.

 The various applications of ICTs that are used are:
  1. Data Base - Relational Data Base Management Systems, Knowledge Base Expert Systems;
  2. Decision Support Systems
  3. Geographic Information Systems - Data Capture, Data Integration,Data Modelling; and
  4. Management Information Systems
  • Data Base : It is a information set with a regular structure which is usually but not necessarily stored in some machine-readable format accessed by a computer. It comes in wide varieties, from simple tables stored in a single file to very large databases with millions of records stored in rooms full of disk drives or other peripheral electronic storage devices.

  • Relational Data Base Management Systems (RDBMS): Databases can be compiled using RDBMS so that it is possible to subject the database to queries for more informed decision making. It is also possible to interface such an RDBMS to a GIS of the area that will act as a front-end so that scenario analysis result can be simulated to see the options on the GIS. Such systems can also support forecasting and predictive models,especially if time series data sets are available for such areas and communities. Databases should be properly archived for specific purposes retrieval through well designed query interfaces form a very valuable resource. 

  • Knowledge Base Expert Systems: This focuses on  systems that use knowledge based techniques to support human decision-making,learning and action. The quality of support given and the manner of its presentation are important issues with such systems. Its primary goal is to make expertise available to decision makers and technicians to enable them to respond swiftly with effective and efficient solutions to problems. Computers loaded with in-depth knowledge of specific subjects can help in accessing information to solve a problem. The same can assist supervisors and managers with situation assessment and long range planning. These help in enhanced productivity of business,administration,science, engineering,military,etc. 

  • Decision Support Systems: DSS are systems that facilitate,expand or enhance a manager's ability to work with one or more kinds of knowledge. A properly designed DSS is an interactive software based system intended to help decision makers compile useful information from raw data,documents,personal knowledge,and/or models to identify and solve problems and make decisions.

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS): It is a computer system capable of integrating,storing,editing,analysing,and displaying geographically referenced information. It is a smart map tool that allows users to create interactive queries(user created searches),analyse spatial information and edit data.

  • Management Information Systems: This topic has already been covered extensively in an earlier post of this Blog. Refer -

  1. Qualitative & Quantitative comprehensive information on departmental websites,especially in the local/regional languages. Internet and websites are used to disseminate information pertaining to various policies and programmes of the govt. Govt. departments host notifications and various Acts promulgated from time to time on the web to make the people aware. It has even reached out to people in the remote & disadvantaged areas where there is no access to libraries,newspapers,etc.
  2. Rural services relating to Land records are provided.
  3. Police services concerning FIR registration and lost & found matters.
  4. Social services relating to pension schemes,schemes for elderly & widowed,schemes for physically challenged, licenses, motor vehicle registration,ration cards,birth and death certificates,domicile,caste/tribe,etc.
  5. Public information regarding employment exchange registration,employment opportunities,examination results,hospital beds availability,railway time tables,airline time tables,govt. notifications,govt. forms,govt. schemes,etc.
  6. Agricultural information on seeds,pesticides,fertilisers,crop disease,weather forecast,market price,etc.
  7. Utility payments of electricity,water,telephone,etc.
  8. Commercial services pertaining to taxation and return filing
  9. Public grievance matters pertaining to civic amenities such as electricity,water,telephone,ration card,sanitation,public transport,etc.
Andhra Pradesh govt. and Delhi Govt.  is providing public services through the single window and one-stop shop namely e-seva kendras and city civic centres and Kerala govt. is providing the FRIENDS shops to the people who can visit these shops and got all public information and services mentioned above.

Thus such ICT efforts help in the Govt. and Citizens maximum interaction and also since it is all online and computerised therefore there is no delay and maximum transparency,accountability and efficiency.