Governance and Right To Information

Governance in INDIA


The essence of good governance is based on the premise that the laws and procedures are transparent, clearly defined & understood by those governed and the implementation is both quick and smooth. To this effect, the governance in a developing country is a challenge, because a majority of the governed (citizens) are educationally & socio-economically challenged. More so, in developing countries, where the governments are formed through democratic means, the challenge of governance is much larger as the governors themselves are at times not very clear on various rules and procedures as ‘Governance‘ per say is a dynamic process, that cannot be handled through static rules and procedures. Further, at times, the rules and procedures, though explicitly defined in the constitution or statutes, by themselves become hindrances in the path of governance due to lack of transparency and procedural clarities.

Hence, the solution to the foresaid lies in the providing a mechanism that is quick, interactive and provides a clear repository of rules and regulations, which extend help in decision making for both the governors and the governed.

The mechanism can be easily defined as e governance, that has the benefit of providing clear cut, transparent, interactive, easy to implement and just solutions (in dynamic mode) in the quickest possible time frame.

However, it is easier said than done, because in a developing country the access to basic amenities as food, water, clothing , shelter , basic education and health take the immediate planning priorities of the governors , that always move from ‘one crisis to another – Emergency Hospital Room situations‘ without having time to plan strategies to link the issues in a holistic perspective and address the root cause of the problems .

The Governors (policy & decision makers) need to be made aware on possibilities that are presented now with the advancement of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) that can collect, collate and analyze data from various sources among different sectors to view the economy holistically and support decision making processes in a transparent way.

E Governance can happen, provided the capacity building of both the governors and the governed take place on utilizing the ICT to the optimum capabilities. The ICT can facilitate the process of governance, provided at the grass root levels, the data are collected & collated in the standardized structural formats (Automated data collection & Collation Systems), converted into tangible Management Information Systems (MIS) from which the Decision Support Systems (DSS) can be evolved.

DSS can help in supporting the sustainable development across the developing countries, as it would clearly differentiate between the solutions that are required by the unserved and the underserved and the affluent class. More so, the digital divide can be closed, provided a clear understanding of the needs for an e Governance mechanism & infrastructure is understood. This would include a detailed understanding of the governance issues and processes at various levels of economy in different economic sectors across many classes.

Once, a clear understanding of the e governance infrastructure need & process is established, ‘Tool Kits’ suiting the requirements of various stakeholders (Urban and Rural) can be developed that can include the various ‘Modules’ to advance public sector reforms and facilitate the planning processes. The Knowledge Maps and e-government Toolkits of Urban and Rural stakeholders should thus be planned and prepared in two distinct and separate but possibly overlapping Modules.



ALL Governance in INDIA needs NRTI Act 2005 implemented effectively and properly to follow:

RTIA Which means Responsibility, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability

`Right to Information Act will empower common people’. An inalienable right has been conferred on citizens.

The legislative intent is clear; we are entitled to know how our money is spent. The onus is on us to make the Act work.

In effect, therefore, the right conferred on the citizen is an exhaustive one. It allows him to assess and examine every government decision, to study the reasons recorded by the government for taking a particular step, and to utilise information so gathered to ensure that government acts in a transparent and just manner.

Indeed, the preamble to the Act puts it well when it says, “democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information” and adds these “are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold Governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed”.



The eGovINDIA Consortium consists of institutions and individuals of national and international repute having considerable experience and track record in the areas required for eGovernance. The key Consortium members understand Indian context, on going reforms in India and in other countries such as South Africa, etc, and worked with and other international development agencies.



The eGovINDIA Consortium have thoughtfully designed the team to include practitioners, technical people, administrators in the government (Indian Administrative Service (IAS)) and the private sector, researchers and trainers and reform champions of repute to meet the objectives of any work in the area eGovernance. 



The eGovINDIA Consortium team consists of individuals with experience in ICTs and e-governance in both Urban and Rural areas.


The eGovINDIA Consortium TEAM


Dr T B Dinesh

Dinesh has a PhD. in Computer Science from University of Iowa, and he has been in academia, research and industry in the USA and the Netherlands. He has worked on object-oriented programming, generation of software from specifications, and structuring information for its multi-faceted use on the Internet. Dinesh co-created Pantoto and co-founded Servelots Infotech because he was excited at the possibility that various communities can manage their community knowledge and develop effective online networks that encourage participation. He believes that Pantoto could be a significant tool for providing this for diverse communities like schools, apartment complexes, NGO’s, SME’s, government offices and online community managed databases.


His vision is that information technology has to reach the common non IT-savvy person, to enable them to not only create indigenous information but also provide tools to help them help their communities. For this, Dinesh firmly believes that Free and Open Source Software is the way to make IT cost effective, to make it reach to the non IT savvy person. For him the collaborative and participatory approach of Pantoto is the model that will bring more transparency and accountability in government as well as social organizations.


Dinesh is currently the technical director of Servelots and a trustee of Janastu and the continuing visionary behind Pantoto. Additionally Dinesh is an active participant in

  • Bangalore Chapter of Charity Focus, a large global volunteer group.
  • Indicorps, promoting local volunteering and international fellowships
  • Document Management for NGOs and activism groups
  • Executive member of GSS (Gram Swaraj Samhiti)
  • FLOSS training consortium.
  • ICT projects with Infosys, IITB, IIM, IRMA, Engineering colleges and government offices.

C. Umashankar IAS

Service: Indian Administrative Service (IAS) – TamilNadu Cadre (1990)

Current Position: Commissioner for Disciplinary

Proceedings, Salem, TamilNadu.

Guest lecturer for Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore on 1) e-governance training program for senior officers of Government of India and 2) Reinventing

government – Post Graduate Diploma program.

Guest Lecturer for National Productivity Council, New Delhi on Transformation of administration using e-governance.

Qualification: B.Com., (1984)

Additional Qualification: Designing and implementing multiple e-governance ERP’s at field level and State headquarters level with effect from February 1999 onwards. e-mail ID:,

Experience in e-governance and Information Technology

The following ERP’s / e-governance software packages were designed by me and developed by a team of Programmers under my supervision:

  • ERP for Taluk office administration where land records, land revenue and financial accounting, issue of various certificates, social welfare schemes such as National Old Age Pension scheme, Distress Relief Scheme and Accident Relief Scheme, Patta Pass Book scheme etc. (VB6/DB2) – design, validation and implementation (1999-2000)
  • ERP for District Rural Development Agency with linkage to its constituent offices. (VB6/DB2) – All centrally sponsored rural development schemes and State sponsored schemes – design, validation and implementation. (2000)
  • Design, validation and implementation of Block Automation Software with linkage to DRDA server. All Centrally sponsored rural development schemes, State sponsored schemes, Noon mean scheme, HRD admin and Panchayat monitoring Software (2000)
  • Regional Transport Office (RTO) – public interface software in Tiruvarur Collectorate (1999). This software successfully manages the receipt of application for all classes of licenses (learner and well as permanent driving licenses), registration of vehicles etc. PPP model.
  • ERP for Universities and Educational institutions. This includes Admission & administration Examination administration, Financial accounting, scholarship, library, hostel administration, campus medical dispensary administration, vehicle workshop administration, CRM etc. (J2EE/DB2/Postgresql for Linux Also VB6/DB2)
  • Core banking software for Agriculture co-operative banks. (VB6/DB2) – 1999-2000
  • ERP for Local body automation (Town Panchayat).This includes HRD, Financial accounting, purchase and stores, automated tax computation and online grievance handling. (VB6/DB2) – 1999-2000
  • HRD software for Government offices titled OFFICE MANAGER. (J2EE/Postgresql 8.0 for Linux; VB6/DB2) – 1999
  • ERP for Police Station administration. (VB6/DB2) – 2000
  • Design and implementation of Optical Mark Reader based computerization of Fair Price shops at Tiruvarur. (Successfully implemented in 55 Fair Price shops) – (VB6/DB2) – 1999-2000
  • Design and validation of Paperless office cum document management solution for Government and large private organizations. (J2EE/Postgresql 7.4 for Linux) – 2000, 2003.
  • Design for GIS based application for capturing Field Measurement Books (maps) of villages. (SICAD-OPEN – GIS software / DB2) – Implementation in Kodavasal Taluk of Tiruvarur district. 1997, 1999-2000.
  • Design and validation of software for building question bank and generating various types of questions for use by large scale recruitment agencies, colleges, schools etc. (VB6)
  • Design and validation of HR management solution with budget and financial accounting linkage for Orissa Government titled PROSPER (PROcess based PERsonnel automation System), using open source technology (linux/postgresql). – 2004
  • Design and validation of ERP for manufacturing and Service Industry under Postgresql / Linux / Tomcat environment.

Accomplishments so far:

      The first e-district was conceived and implemented in Tiruvarur when I served as District Collector there during 1999-2001. The district had been rated as 20 years ahead of rest of India by a leading newspaper “Times of India”.

      Tiruvarur achieved over 85% paperless automation level in all its seven Taluk offices during my Collectorship and continues to maintain the lead over rest of India. Manually written registers in conventional Taluk services have been done away with. In their place system generated registers are being used. The transition commenced on May 16th 1999 when the National OAP (Old Age Pension) software was formally commissioned by the former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu Mr.M.Karunanidhi. The process reached full circle with the commissioning of annual audit of village accounts – Jamabanthi software during February 2000.

      The Taluk offices use an ERP specifically designed to cater to their requirement. The ERP titled, Taluk Automation Software has modules for HRD, Land record administration, National Old Age Pension scheme, Distress and Accident Relief Scheme administration, Agricultural Laborers’ insurance scheme, Community certificate issue, income and solvency certificate issue, birth and death registration and issue of certificates etc. These packages were developed with bilingual data entry interface. It also has bilingual front end toggling facility.

      The district uses the award winning disaster recovery tool named SUPERCOP. The Government of India gave away merit citation award during November 2003 for the write up on the disaster recovery software used in Tiruvarur district.

      In the rural development scenario, Tiruvarur piloted India in automating all the activities of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) which is the nodal agency for rural development at the district level. The DRDAs were inter linked to all the 10 Block offices spread over the district which are its direct executing agencies. The ERP titled Valarum Ooragam (Rural Development) has scheme (project) handling, Finance, HRD, technical estimate preparation and social welfare scheme automation modules. There is hardly any other matter that had been left out from the Rural Development ERP. This was accompanied by a comprehensive ERP for handling projects, financial accounting, noon meal scheme, HRD admin, social welfare schemes such as marriage assistance scheme, etc.

Founder member and moderator of India e-gov group on Yahoo.  

The eGovINDIA group had been formed by experts in the field of e-governance all over India and abroad to discuss, share and promote e-governance in India. As on date this is the most vigorous group in India which focuses fully on implementing true e-governance solutions in India.

Books published so far:

E-governance – the success story of Tiruvarur , the road covered and the road ahead –April 2001.

Articles/papers written/published:

The nuts and bolts of e-governance – Oct 2000.

Land Records Systems revisited: A technical paper on how to capture map details of lowest village land record maps – Field Measurement Book (FMB) using GIS. Paper published GIS@Development, October, 2003 issue.

e-Governance: The key players

Published in the e-gov Magazine:

Awards received:

  1. Selected by THE WEEK, a leading English magazine in India as the Man of the Next Millennium (who has the potential to change the face of India during the next millennium) from among all the bureaucrats in India. This selection came on the eve of their Millennium edition during the year 2000.
  2. ESCAP – a wing of the UN chose me to represent Tiruvarur in an exhibition cum Seminar that was held in Bangkok to show case Tiruvarur e-governance successes.
  3. The government of India awarded merit citation award for the paper written on the Disaster recovery tool used in Tiruvarur. The award was handed over to me on 13th November 2003 at Chennai by the Deputy Prime Minister of India.

  Sapana Rawat
Title : Senior Associate


A master in Computer Science, Sapana joined Servelots and Janastu in
Dec 2004 after having worked with the MNC’s worldwide. She is interested in bringing ICT closer to the voluntary organizations and the local government. There is a great need and demand of IT services in such organizations, and Sapana feels that Pantoto can meet some of these needs and demands. Sapana also want Pantoto to be improvised so that it changes with times.



V. M. Kumaraswamy MBA, is in business since 1971. BE from Bangalore University. He has Business and Financial Management consulting business in USA and INDIA. He has taken steps to help Social Causes and to reach rural masses of INDIA.

Owner and moderator of India’s largest e-governance yahoo-group under the title eGovINDIA.
You can reach this group at


e-Gov INDIA is a group dedicated to promoting true e-governance in India, consisting of members from all walks of life from within INDIA and the World over. Many State Ministers and senior bureaucrats of India are members of this group. We do have lawyers, social activists, freelance writers and journalists in the group. The group is meant for serious activists only. Casual members are not allowed to join the group. The group is also moderated by an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer.  As on date, the group has nearly 3199 members.


      The focus of the group is true e-governance and use of open source technology in e-governance. The members of this forum have a passion to see a truly e-governed India, resulting in transparency and easy access to government services by the common man, notably the depressed class people (so called untouchables), women and people living in far flung and difficult areas of India.

True e-Governance with focus on Transparency, Integrity, gender equity, women empowerment, Processes, Security, Accountability, empowerment of rural masses and Accessibility.

e-governance: “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that empowers the Government, its citizens including the Government employees, weaker sections, women, people living in far flung and difficult areas and the business houses to transact businesses with government and its agencies online 24/7 “


eGovINDIA group for TRUE eGovernance in INDIA.



6 Responses to “About”

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