[ecis2016.org] Under the National e-Governance Plan in 2006, the government planned to introduce technology to improve the efficiency in the functioning of gram panchayats in India
In spite of the rapid urbanisation in India, nearly 70% of the country’s total population still resides in villages. This makes the role of gram panchayats, which lie at the lowest level of Panchayat Raj institutions, crucial, in terms of nation-building.
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What are gram panchayats?
Gram panchayats are the post-Independence establishments that plan, budget and execute all development works in India’s villages. Members of the gram panchayat, which is headed by a sarpanch, are elected for a tenure of five years.
What is e-panchayat?
Under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) in 2006, the government planned to introduce technology to improve efficiency in the functioning of gram panchayats in India. In 2018, the e-panchayat mission was launched by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, as a component of the Mission Mode Projects (MMP) to meet this objective. The project covers all aspects of gram panchayats, including planning, monitoring, implementation, budgeting, accounting, social audit and civil service delivery of issuance of certificates, licenses, etc.
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The objective of the e-panchayat mission is to enable panchayats to perform efficiently, through the extensive use of information and communication technology (ICT). Also, as the government endeavours to build a digitally-inclusive society, it is important that these grassroots institutions of public welfare make the best use of the technological tools available to them.
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Objectives of e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project
The e-panchayat programme aims at equipping rural India with updated information online and thus, enables gram panchayats to be computerised. For this purpose, the e-Panchayat MMP is aimed at automating internal work flow processes of approximately 2.45 lakh panchayats across India. This will cover approximately 30 lakh elected members and several lakh PRI functionaries. Under the e-Panchayat Mission, the government plans to use ICT for:
- Automation of internal workflow processes of panchayats.
- Improving delivery of services to citizens.
- Capacity building of panchayat representatives and officials.
- Social auditing.
- Transparency, accountability, efficiency and RTI compliance of panchayats.
- Improving governance of the local self-government by ensuring people’s participation in decision-making.
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Benefits of e-panchayat mission
In a state where the gram panchayat has been able to fully adopt the e panchayat modus operandi, all the data and information about gram panchayats could be easily accessed through the internet. In states like Andhra Pradesh and Goa, where the e panchayat programme has been implemented to some extent, citizens can avail of certain facilities online. These include issuance of birth and death certificates, property tax, pension benefits, subsidy benefits, e-health care, e-learning and e-agricultural extension services, etc.
States that have taken a lead in setting up e-panchayats
States including Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Goa have taken e-initiatives at the panchayat level.
What is Panchayat Enterprise Suite?
The Panchayat Enterprise Suite comprises 11 core common applications for e-governance of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
Who is the head of gram panchayat?
The head of a gram panchayat is its sarpanch.
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