Democracy is not just about conducting fair elections. It is also not just about the governance of the local government. Democracy thrives only when citizens can establish two-way communication with the government, i.e. there should always be an open channel of feedback in response to government actions. This feedback and delivery mechanism work together towards strengthening the idea of democracy. Global progress, indigenous innovation and adoption of digital technologies for wider social and e-governance have acted as catalysts in the process of strengthening our democracy.
Democracy and digital influence
Ideally, a digital-enabled democracy would have to help society to be efficient and in their views on governance. Democracy needs the ability to have an open debate without fear, with civility and no fear. A democratic debate requires citizens to participate in it, which in turn makes them more aware of their surroundings.
Democracy is about free choices, not a system free of choices.
Performance of public institutions and public awareness of them are important for the development of democracy. Globally, substantial research and civil society voices have raised concerns about unequal political participation.
This is where digital inclusion can enhance social participation to political participation. By using technology, governments and political parties can be transparent, accountable and inclusive.
The Indian government over the years has been the biggest champion for digital inclusion in various sectors – public domain, business use cases, banking and financial services, governance, judiciary, etc. The results are still under observation with varying degrees of success. So far. It aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
The Digital India Mission is focused on three objectives:
(1) To provide digital infrastructure as a source of utility to every citizen.
(2) Governance and services on demand.
(3) To look after the “digital empowerment of every citizen.”
Information and communication technology (ICT) is facilitating the dissemination and discussion of information about political issues, wider democratic participation by individuals and groups, and greater transparency and accountability in democratic institutions and processes, and in ways that benefit citizens. Providing service from
e-governance and judiciary
The objective of incorporating e-governance in the government is to be more efficient in various aspects. Whether it means reducing costs by reducing paper clutter, staffing costs, or by communicating with private citizens or public government. The Right to Information is an Act of the Parliament of India, “to provide for establishing practical governance of the right to information for citizens”. Other initiatives like e-passport, e-voter identity card, SWMITA (Survey of Village Population and Mapping with Improvised).
Crime and Criminal Tracking Network systems are also available that help in the capture and trial of criminals. Digitization majorly helps in speedy disposal of cases and delivery of justice by judiciary which is an important pillar of democracy. Another step in this direction is “e-Courts Mission” Mission Mode Project (MMP) concept of technology. with a view to transform the Indian judiciary.
The project was developed following the report submitted by the e-Committee under the Supreme Court on the National Policy and Action Plan on the Implementation of Information Communication Tools in the Indian Judiciary. It can also help the judiciary to reduce the backlog of cases, leading to timely delivery of justice.
health and wellness
Health is the responsibility of the government. With the help of digitization in the health sector, people can check the availability of doctors and medicines and register online for the same. So now people do not have to wait in long queues for their turn and hence it becomes easier for the government to generate data for future policies.
Education and Digitization
The role of the state is to educate its citizens. “Right to education” is now a part of Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. It states that children in the age group of 6 to 14 years should be educated by the state. India is one of the 135 countries making it a fundamental right. The reason for literacy is education. Literacy is the product of education.
Digitization promotes education in the sense that it allows a large amount of information and books to be readily available on the Internet. It promotes a participatory democracy. This leads to effective and informed voting.
JAM (short for Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity refers to the Government of India’s initiative to link Jan Dhan accounts, mobile numbers and Aadhaar cards of Indians to prevent leakage of government subsidies. The use of technology in this trilogy has played a key role in ensuring truly inclusive growth and translated into public participation. It is a remarkable example of technology in strengthening democracy by giving every eligible citizen a platform to participate in the process of nation building.
E-Democracy: An Emerging Idea
Electronic democracy offers new opportunities for increased public engagement and participation in democratic institutions and democratic processes. In this way, it helps in empowering civil society and improving policy-making processes.
The strength of e-democracy lies in its ability to facilitate both bottom-up and top-down initiatives, and its growth can contribute to a redefinition of political priorities and a change in the way our local and global communities are governed.