This article gives the broad information of what is IT public Policy. A few years back an important bill that should be interest to all computer professionals and citizens alike was introduced in parliament. The Electronic Delivery of services Bill 2011(EDS 11) aims to ensure the transparency, efficient and accountability in the delivery of public services by making it mandatory for public agencies to provide those electronically. All citizen services such as providing various transaction form and application processing of licenses, certificates and the receipt and payment of money will be available in cyberspace. This will provide substantial convenience to public and help in the reduction of corruption. The ministry of information technology (IT) had posted a draft bill on web site in February and invited feedback.
The Lok Sabha secretariat had invited feedback by informing the general public through news media and by posting on its website. This is the regular practice followed by the ministries to seek public views. Unfortunately there was hardly any mention of the EDS Bill in CSI Communication. In case of IT Bills as compared to bills on subject like food security or investor protection where the affected stakeholders are scattered as individuals and there is no forum we have a forum of all computing professional in the country in the form of computer society of India (CSI) to prod, channelize, consolidates and refine views ad present to the government and parliament committee and thereby help in creation of very effective bills. In my view CSI play a much more active role in shaping public policies in IT domain and creating general awareness in India.
IT Bills- Role of Professional Society:
IT-based system are becoming ubiquitous with every part of business specially those touching customers. We become aware of their existence when something goes wrong else we just take those for granted. While the IT provides many opportunities for enhancing customer experience it needs government and regulatory support for introduction for public usage. Let’s take an example of EDS bill to examine what role of our professional community should play in influencing public policy and why this role is crucial for our professional society, public and the government.
SAILENT FEATURES OF THE ES BILL:
A bill mandate that all public bodies – the central government the state government and public authorities:
I. Provide all public services through electronic modes except those that cannot be delivered electronically
II. Announce schedule of implementation within 180 days of enactment of bill
III. Make electronic delivery of services a reality within 5 years from the enactment of the bill. The time limit may be extended by a further 3 years.
The bill calls for setting up of commission at central and state level with power of civil court for:
I. Monitoring the publication of services to be delivered electronically;
II. Monitoring the progress of the e-delivery of services;
III. Recommending the simplification of process and forms relating to the e-delivery of services;
IV. Punishing the defaulting officials.
The commissions will submit annual reports that will be tabled in parliament and the respective state Legislature assembly.
THE ROLE OF COMPUTING SOCIETY AND PROFESSIONALS:
The members of CSI are well informed of IT developments their potential and impact. Many of them are researchers in their own right. A few of them have played a visionary role in taking India IT industry to world recognized levels. CSI being a professional body of large pool of computational professional is not only well positioned but also has responsibility in authors view to play a major role in influencing government policies for leveraging IT. Here are some suggestions for consideration of CSI members and offices bearers.
POSITIONING OF CSI:
CSI should be positioned as a voice of computer professional for interaction with central and state government and its committees. CSI should champion causes of general public that gets impacted by adoption of IT. Whenever an IT expert is planned on a government committee, CSI should become the first point of contact to suggest names from its member database.
There should be a new group/committee created in CSI structure on “Pubic Policy”. It should deal with pubic issue and awareness on deployment on information technology from any quarter. It should be a focal point in CSI fro interaction with government and parliament subcommittee on IT policy matters.
These groups should take responsibility for:
- Prominently announcing relevant circulars from government in our main publication “CSI Communications “and on their website.
- Moderating discussion and for consolidating feedback from our committee and tabling before the government, parliament committee and other agencies and commissions.
- Planning public awareness programs.
- Proactively identifying issues and concerns of individual and society; help in forming a position on a particular subject.
- Support the CSI touch points at central and state level with background information on IT policy matters.
Finally deployment of information and communication technology (ICT) eliminates many evils and brings many conveniences to user. At the same time many new risks surface human touch and appreciation reduces and more fortunate ones avail services from their comfort zone. It may bring down transaction cost of delivery for an agency but total impact on environment about enforceability and supply support also need to be looked at.
Some category of professional like doctors and CAs requires certification or registration for practice. As a consequence, their professional bodies are very strong ad yield substantial influences in our country. CSI may not move to a similar position of authority in near future but large scale deployments of IT system demand that CSI and its members assume a active role in representing public interest ad concerns for successful adoption of IT in public life. At the same time implication and potential of fast and varied development in IT need to be understood from various perspectives by decision makers in government and elected bodies for providing good governance and best utilization of our national resources. They will benefit from informed views and status reports that CSI can provide. This is somehow short information of IT Public Policy.