E-Governance only for "the common man"?

Oh! I waited for almost three years to get this opportunity. Finally it arrived on 5th December 2008 during IGF, when i got a chance to attend the meeting with the Secretary of Information Technology of Government of India with APC team and other civil society organizations.



If you read the following link http://mit.gov.in/default.aspx?id=837 , where the e-governance document of government of India is published, I am sure you would notice the following paragraph:



"National eGov Plan Vision


Make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency & reliability of such services at affordable costs to realise the basic needs of the common man."



I knew it might not be intentional (although the language of policy documents indicates to a certain extent the mindset of those who are involved in their formulation) but the language gets translated in the implementation of e-governance schemes. In India, one can find gender gaps in the access and control of ICTs and gender differences in the use, perceptions and impacts of ICTs. Our ongoing gender evaluation with APC of E-Gram Suraj Scheme in Chhattisgarh documents some examples. However I believe with some small efforts e-governance can be made more useful for rural women.



So thanks to the Ministry of IT which organized this meeting with civil society organizations and thanks to APC which make it possible for me to take part in it, after three years I finally got a long awaited chance to bring the gender dimension of e-governance in India to the notice of the most appropriate people in the government. My comment was followed by a long discussion on gender dimensions of rural e-governance in India. Now I hope it will also lead to some changes.

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