Villages log on to escape bribery

We have not only inherited English language from the British Raj but also “corruption“. We have learned to live with the system. Unfortunately there are many who are deprived of benefits and services from the Government because they cannot afford to “grease” the officials. It is very frustrating when you cannot get a birth certificate or a death certificate without being harassed.

We are proud of our technology brain power in India. Karnataka is one of the leading software exporters in India (Rs 50,000 crore in 2006-07). But the sad part is we have never used our skillset to improve the life of a “common” man. Hopefully the trend will change with the penetration of internet in villages. Karnataka Govt has done a good job in egovernance. Many villagers have benefited by this noble effort. I am sure there is a long way to go but we should applaud the initiation of egovernance. According to the article in TimesOnline,

– India now has 36 dollar billionaires (12 more than Japan), an estimated 100,000 dollar millionaires, and homegrown companies that are gobbling up foreign competitors, including their British forebears. But the bureaucracy remains frozen in time, its greed and obsession with paperwork denying India the basic infrastructure, public services and foreign investment.

– 800 internet telecentres have been set up by Karnataka since October 2006 to provide public services online in villages.

– For the first time 37 million villagers can now use telecentres – staffed by young computer science graduates – to obtain official documents like driving licences, birth and death certificates, and land records.

– In July 2007, the Supreme Court launched an e-court project to connect all courts via the internet that it says will relieve a backlog of 30 million cases. Under another e-governance scheme, 75 per cent of all income tax returns were filed online in July.

The above development is not a good thing for all politicians. Few politicians have already determined these projects will never succeed. Usually politicians are always wrong, let us hope this time too they are wrong.

Update: In India, Will Corruption Slow Growth or Will Growth Slow Corruption?

Now that India is playing an ever larger role in the world economy, the issue of corruption, in both the private and public sectors, is coming into sharper focus. Two scenarios are possible: As India’s multinational corporations develop both economic and political muscle, they may act as a broom, sweeping corruption from the economic sphere. On the other hand, entrenched practices may prove the stronger force, and corruption could end up being a significant brake on India’s economic rise.

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