First Data & ICICI Merchant Services’ Nitish Asthana discusses how electronic payment can be leveraged as part of e-government programs to improve services to citizens across the country, report Business Wire India-ANI.
E-Governance is a comparatively recent phenomenon, but within a short period of time, the Indian Government has embarked on a program that makes it easier for people to access information and avail public information online.
Considerable progress has been made in the online provision of government information to citizens. It is becoming more common for this information to be organized around people’s needs, rather than around administrative structures, making it more accessible and useful for citizens.
The services where e-payments have made significant progress are utilities (electricity, water and gas), rail transportation, education, taxes and municipal dues. Several government organizations have started to make a range of documents and forms available online.
These can be viewed online and/or printed offline, with some applications allowing for online submission of forms. Consumers experience tangible benefits by paying for services online. They no longer have to visit multiple government offices or stand in queue to pay their bills or seek information. Rather, this very convenience has led to rapid adoption of online payment modes.
The government benefits from making available consumer-centric services online. This ensures that the necessary process controls are not compromised, productivity and efficiency are increased, and customer service levels are improved.
The sheer volume of transactions that can be handled electronically will increasingly allow the government to focus on other development issues and on improving the quality of service. It also helps the government increase its revenues for services that are paid for.
Handling large amounts of cash is known to increase pilferage and fraud, which are both reduced by electronic payments. Less cash not only means reduced costs, but using electronic payments also keeps manual intervention to a minimum.