Modi’s Digital India campaign lands India in the UN’s E-Government rankings

By Prarthana Mitra

Scaling 22 places in 4 years to 96th rank, India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has managed to break into the top 100 of United Nations E-Government Index (EGDI).

The comprehensive survey released once in two years, assesses among others, government development at the national level based on telecommunications infrastructure, human capital, and national online presence. It maps how digital technologies and innovations are changing the public sector and people’s lives for the better.

The 2018 edition focused on ‘Gearing E-Government to Support Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies’ and was launched on July 19.

Breaking down what it means in terms of ready governance

The EGDI takes into account the weighted average of three normalized indices – the Telecommunications Infrastructure Index (TII) based on data provided by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Human Capital Index (HCI) based on data provided by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and finally, the Online Service Index (OSI) tabulated from an independent survey questionnaire by UNDESA to assess the nation’s online presence.

Among the 193 United Nations member states, India ranks in top 15 in the e-participation sub-index with a score of 0.9551, but has performed poorly in the Telecommunication Infrastructure Index with a score of 0.20091.

On Human Capital Index, India has scored a mere 0.6627, which is way below the world average.

Slow but noticeable growth in Asia

According to the EGDI report, the number of countries providing online services using emails, SMS/RSS feed updates, mobile Apps and downloadable forms has been increasing in all sectors. Although the progress in e-government development in the Americas and Asia is slow, it is noticeable, noted the report. Two-thirds of countries in Asia (31 out of 47) have above the world average EGDI score of 0.55. Bangladesh, Turkey, Iran, Oman, and Indonesia have also risen on the table by several places.

There survey also observed a positive correlation between the country’s income level and its e-government ranking in most cases. This is pertinent in India’s case, which India first broke into top 100 ranks in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index in October 2017, and became the sixth wealthiest nation in the world this May.

Wikipedia describes EGDI as the composite index for the government’s willingness and capacity to use the tools of e-governance. With an overall score of 0.5484, India has managed to jump 11 ranks from 107 in 2016, in the list topped by Denmark (0.9150) followed by Australia, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom. However, the success of Modi’s “Digital India” campaign - a cornerstone of his government’s poll premise – remains shrouded by controversial instruments such as the Aadhar system.

Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius


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