eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Components of MISSION MODE e-governance approach – Dataquest Panel discussion summary dated 1st March 06

Posted by egovindia on May 29, 2006

Components of MISSION MODE e-governance approach – Dataquest Panel discussion summary dated 1st March 06


Dear all,
We have been hearing about Mission mode e-governance projects.
The word mission signifies a lot of things.
Are these aspects happen in the  mission mode projects of Government of India and the States?
Dataquest had invited me to take part in a panel discussion on national e-gov action plan implementation. I spoke on only one aspect, viz., mission mode e-gov: what is it?
I am appending below the opinion aired by me during the panel discussion (using an open source software laptop)

Mission mode e-governance – What is it?

The mission of mission mode e-gov:

Empowering the citizens and other stake holders with better, efficient, corrupt free and transparent public services.

Different strategies for Central Government and State Government e-gov projects.

The clientèle of Central government is different from the States. Central Government's interaction with the cutting edge is too minimal. Implementation of central Government e-gov projects is comparatively easier due to the largely affluent nature of the clientèle.

The States have the largest coverage of citizen centric public services, including services to the most needy such a the SC/ST, people below the poverty line, women and other backward classes. More mission mode e-governance projects are needed under the States. Involvement of the States as well as their pro active leadership is too vital a parameter for the success of State specific e-governance projects.

State Governments are the most important partners and also stake holders in such initiatives vis a vis the Central Government which has been spearheading the e-gov movement from the top at present.

Components of mission:

It signifies a missionary approach

Just like the way Mother Teresa worked for the people SELFLESSLY.

Components of a missionary approach:

It presupposes the presence of missionaries who are ready to work SELFLESSLY.

It is voluntary in nature. Nominated persons don't suit here.

No scope for profit motto.

Leading from the front.

Ability to shed ego

Willingness to consult/listen to all segments of the stake holders in an open and transparent manner.

Ability to move with the stake holders, notably the common man.

Missionaries in Government for e-gov:

In the government, mission mode means the presence of missionary like officials at all levels starting from the IAS cadre to the Village officers.

These missionaries are called CHAMPIONS.

Champions from within – Who and How?

Conscious effort to identify the true champion products.

Bureaucrats, by definition are not fit to champion any initiative. There is a meagre percentage of bureaucrats who were missionaries but had joined the civil services. Those missionaries among the bureaucrats who had not shed their original self are fit to lead any mission mode project, including e-governance. This definition is applicable for bureaucracy at all levels, starting from the IAS cadre to the Village officer level.

The champions have to VOLUNTARILY submit for the mission. Nominated persons can never champion any true pro people cause.

Champions from within – the role of National Informatics Centre (NIC)

NIC which had successfully implemented the country's most successful e-gov project, viz., the BHOOMI is yet to be utilised by the rest of the nation for such fruitful and citizen centric initiatives. Even Karnataka is yet to move beyond the BHOOMI with the assistance of NIC.

NIC, with its presence in all the districts of India for the past 20 years is a largely under utilised giant. The Champions need to be sensitised about the presence of this resource for a mission mode approach.

Champions from outside:

  1. Civil Society Partners as champions
    Already this has been happening. Unless the Government leads with its own champions, the role of civil society partners cannot be fully utilised.

  2. Politicians as champions: Politicians and people's representatives form an important stake holders in the implementation of e-governance, especially mission mode e-governance. A conscious effort has to be made to bring out the champions among the politicians/ people's representatives.

  3. Private corporate as champions: Companies such as IBM, Oracle, Microsoft etc., have been championing e-governance for sometime. These corporate bodies have successfully moved the sleeping giant to realise the importance of e-governance. This had come at a huge investment from these corporate bodies. Their profit motive vs. the citizen satisfaction have be harmonised while keeping in view that the Government does not abdicate its role in favour of any corporate body, including any Government company.

  4. The media as champion for mission mode e-governance: Media has a great role in championing true e-governance initiatives including mission mode e-gov initiatives. The media has the ability to inform the largest stake holders, that is the citizens, about the e-gov activities.

  5. Pressure groups such as egovINDIA or India-egov Yahoo groups: The e-groups have a greater role in moulding the mission mode projects as long as there is a real champion in the helm of affairs in Government. For example, the Chief RTI Commissioner interacts with the citizens directly through the e-gov groups. The e-groups provide a direct view point of the stake holders, notably the common man.

EMPOWRING the champions from within:

This is the most crucial area for a mission mode approach. The champions who had been identified on “voluntary” basis need to be protected. The first protection one expects is security of tenure. The other areas are as follows:

  • Milestones for achievement are to be fixed in advance – use of MoU methodology preferred.

  • Operational freedom, including financial freedom.

  • Authority has to go along with operational freedom. (In government, the lower bureaucracy co-operates only when a person in authority leads. This includes disciplining authority)

  • Protection from victimisation.

Empowering the champions from outside:

Missionary approach pre supposes the death of ego. This also presupposes that the “missionary” considers all the champions from outside as important “partners” in the delivery of the mission goals.

The champions from outside can be empowered mostly through open and transparent way of implementation of e-gov action plan. Every iota of information has to be published online. There is no scope for terms such as “proprietary and confidential” in any document or communication from the e-governance desk.

The second method is to initiate extensive and intensive field studies involving the champions from outside. Debates are a part of the process.

An active follow up mechanism is to be commissioned to enable these champions to communicate their views and get feedback from the e-gov missions almost in an online fashion.


A mission mode approach presupposes 24/7 open channel of communication with all the stake holders.

It is like the death of bureaucratic style in place of Mother Teresa style.

Open source or cross platform applications or proprietary applications to be promoted. A healthy and open debate is also in order.

C.Umashankar IAS., (TamilNadu Cadre)
e-governance expert.


Ph: 91-44-52054443


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