Design of E-Governance Projects for Accountability: The Indian Context
CPRafrica 2012/CPRsouth7 Conference, Port Louis, Mauritius, September 5-7, 2012
12 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 6, 2012
The policy framework of the Indian government aims at establishing transparency and accountability in the service delivery processes of various ICT-enabled e-governance projects (NIAR, n.d.). Accountability in the governance context requires institutionalizing and internalizing the norms of accountability (Malena et al., 2004). E-governance is meant to encompass many forms of public accountability for citizen empowerment. The need for public accountability is based on the idea that citizens share a ‘social contract’ with the state. The concept of social accountability has seen increased acceptance among the government and public institutions in India at the state and central level (NIAR, n.d.).
But how is social accountability built into the design of these ICT projects? The paper, using the design approach of ‘located accountability’ proposed by Suchman (2002), attempts to explore whether and how the objective of social accountability is/can be built into the design of e-governance projects. Social accountability involves generating accountability through citizen participation in planning and design. The paper attempts to find convergence between social accountability and the located accountability discourse of design based on the contextual particularities. The paper analyses the Indian e-governance project ‘Bhoomi’ using secondary data sources and prior studies to understand the nuances of accountability and design, and the level of convergence between the objective of social accountability and the adopted design. At the end, the paper provides alternative design approaches for Bhoomi using the premise of ‘located accountability’.
Keywords: e-governance, accountability, policy framework, design strategy
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