India will redefine governance using technology: Dr. Charru Malhotra, IIPA

At the tenth edition of ChannelWorld Premier 100 Awards and Symposium 2018 in Gurugram, Dr. Charru Malhotra from IIPA spoke on how tech can solve the challenges in the e-governance space.

Speaking at the Channel World Premier 100 awards for 2018, Dr. Charru Malhotra, Associate Professor (e-Governance) at the Indian Institute of Public Administration shared with the channel partners the challenges in the e-governance space and what role technology can play to make it more efficient.


Watch the extended version: Redefining Governance for 2030: Dr. Charru Malhotra, IIPA

In the session titled "Redefining Governance for 2030," Dr. Malhotra insisted that there is a strong need to re-imagine governance scenarios so that the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 can be achieved. Having scanned the e-governance situation across all of India, Dr. Malhotra concludes that e-Governance has still not reached to most parts of the country due to lack of infrastructure, including electricity and internet connectivity and the situation is made worse by socio-political concerns. 

Role of technology in improving e-governance

While highlighting the importance of new-age technologies in solving critical issues at the grass root level, Dr. Malhotra stated that due to bureaucratic issues and red-tapism, the technology has not reached everywhere. Dr. Malhotra also said that data provided for e-governance must not be monetized as it is for the public good.

"Technology of the day is no longer science fiction of the day. IoT, Analytics, 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning are helping improve governance in some way or the other. Machine learning on data collected through IoT sensors is being used to make soil health cards and predicting natural disasters. The process has already started but there are still a myriad of controversies, glitches and understandable flaws,” said Dr. Malhotra.  

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Bureaucratic efficiency needed for good e-governance.

There must be focus on Green IT and recycling e-waste.

AI algorithms should be designed with a human-centric approach.

Great future opportunities in smart cities/villages which will act as self-sufficient clusters.

Challenges ahead for e-governance

One of the major challenges stated by Dr. Malhotra is the rising volume of e-waste being produced across the globe. Plethora of e-waste from space junk to polluted land and water resources, says that as technology evolves e-waste generated due to obsolete components will have to be recycled and reused. In addition, Dr. Malhotra stressed on the need to focus on alternate renewable sources of energy and communication technologies and move away from absolute dependence on the prevailing infrastructure.

“We must focus on moving towards green technology while envisaging new systems of governance. It’s time we wake up and start recycling and reusing tech components that are no longer in use. Are we thinking about alternate forms of communication and energy like community radio, Fiber-to-Home (FTH), renewable forms of energy like solar panels and gobar gas plants?” 

AI with a human-centric approach

According to Dr. Malhotra, artificial intelligence is already playing a critical role in making both private and public organizations efficient. But, there is still a need where AI algorithms are written in a way that make AI more sympathetic than merely logical. In that way, its application would make governance highly efficient. 

Watch the entire session here:

Artificial intelligence seemed unrealistic in the past and people thought that AI was an algorithm realm that was never going to culminate in reality. Today, can you imagine a global business scenario or knowledge management where AI components like data analytics, predictive analytics, and machine learning are not being used? But human characteristics are needed to be ingrained into machines running on AI.”

“We are soon looking at a new kind of digital hegemony which is neither democracy nor autocracy but whoever owns the data is the master of the world. It is a datacracy"

Dr. Charru Malhotra

Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Public Administration

Future opportunities in e-governance

By showing the value of data in solving the future challenges, Dr. Malhotra stated that the world is moving away from democracy and going to be datacracy. She further stated that the future vision of an idealistic governance involves self-regulating clusters of cities and villages using technology to solve its issues.

"We are soon looking at a new kind of digital hegemony which is neither democracy nor autocracy but whoever owns the data is the master of the world. It is a datacracy," said Dr. Malhotra.

“There will be self-sufficient smart cities/villages, self-regulating clusters in multi-stakeholder collaborations to resolve governance issues. The focus should be on security, welfare, digital IDs, ethics and environment where technology plays the role of an enabler and facilitator for the aspirations of citizens,” added Dr. Malhotra.