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First E-collectorate in Bihar

  • 30 Nov 2022
  • 5 min read

For Mains: Red Tape and its consequences

Why in News?

Saharsa became the first district in Bihar to be declared paperless (e-office) with an aim to end the Great Indian Red Tape.

What is an e-Office Initiative?

  • E-Office is a Mission-Mode project as part of e-Governance Initiatives.
  • The e-office initiative goes back to 2009, but the towering piles of paperwork were–and still are–a hurdle too high to cross.
    • Idukki in Kerala became paperless in 2012 and Hyderabad in 2016.
  • It aims to significantly improve the operational efficiency of Government Ministries and Departments through improvement in the workflow mechanism and office procedure manuals.

What is Red Tape?

  • It is a derisive term for excessive regulation or rigid conformity to formal rules that is considered redundant or bureaucratic and hinders or prevents action or decision-making.
  • It is usually applied to the government but can also be applied to other organisations like corporations.
  • It generally includes the filling out of seemingly unnecessary paperwork, obtaining of unnecessary licenses, having multiple people or committees approve a decision and various low-level rules that make conducting one’s affairs slower and/or more difficult.

What are the Consequences of Red Tapism?

  • Increased Cost of Doing Business:
    • In addition to time and money spent filling out forms, red tape reduces productivity and innovation in businesses.
    • Small businesses are particularly burdened by this and may discourage people from starting up a new business.
  • Poor Governance:
    • Because of red tape, contracts are not enforced consistently, and administration is delayed, resulting in delayed justice, especially for the poor. The burden of red tape requirements prevents many to enjoy their rights due to delayed governance and delayed distribution of welfare measures.
  • Citizen Dissatisfaction:
    • The delays caused by government processing and the costs associated with them remain a source of dissatisfaction among citizens. Red Tapism leads to a sense of loss of trust in the government's process most of the time, leaving citizens with unresolved problems.
  • Delay in Scheme Implementation:
    • Each new government scheme is met with red tape that eventually kills the larger objective for which it was launched.
    • Lack of proper monitoring, delayed release of funds, etc., are common associated issues connected to Red Tapism.
  • Corruption:
    • According to a World Bank study, corruption increases with increasing red tape.
    • By complicating the normal flow of businesses, bureaucracy breeds corruption and lowers growth.

What is the Need to End Red Tape?

  • Bring Efficiency:
    • Digitisation can help in bringing efficiency, transparency and accountability.
  • Increased Employee Productivity:
    • It has increased employee productivity and reduced the number of workers required to process one file since files are processed within a day.
    • In the government system, it is said that the faster a file moves, the faster a policy will be implemented.
  • Bring Accountability:
    • The online system has also brought in more accountability and staff members cannot sit on files for days on end.
  • A Step towards Good Governance:
    • Technology is the first step towards good governance and a corruption-free system.
    • The more technology we implement, the easier our service delivery will be to the public.

Way Forward

  • With a bottom-up approach of planning through separate urban-rural level socio-economic databases, there is a need for a holistic and Integrated approach from government ministries that includes identifying, evaluating, formulating, implementing and redressing data driven policies to meet the needs of the population at the earliest.
  • E-Governance needs to transform all levels of Government, but the focus should be on local governments since local governments are the closest to citizens, and constitute for many, the main interface with government.
  • Special attention should be given to improve digital infrastructure especially in rural areas along with better internet connectivity.
    • E-Governance through regional languages is appreciable for nations like India where people from several linguistic backgrounds are the participants.

Source: IE

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