Emerging technologies are transforming the way people are working and living, and have untapped potential to revolutionize governance. Good governance is the cornerstone of every government and administrative agency. However, citizens are failing to give it due attention owing to a lack of policy awareness and bureaucratic complexity. In the traditional governance model, accessing a government facility involves days’ worth of follow-ups, paperwork, and technical limitations. These issues can be addressed through SMART governance.
SMART governance helps governments create a digital community involving its governing bodies, citizens, and businesses to streamline information sharing, service accessibility, and grievance redressal.
In this article, we understand what SMART governance is and the role it plays in building a Smart City.
SMART Governance is the application of technology to innovate, facilitate and support the planning and implementation of democratic processes and governance. This concept enables government bodies to deliver services efficiently through a sustainable and transparent approach. It is touted as the next big revolution in the national transformation after the agriculture and industrial revolutions.
In essence, SMART Governance is described as a governance model that is Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent.
Simple: Simplifying rules and processes issued by the government through emerging technologies such as ICTs (Information Communication Technologies).
Moral: Introducing ethical and moral values within the political and administrative ecosystem by removing human biases, errors, and illegal activities like corruption.
Accountable: Holding public functionaries and offices accountable for the civic services provided through an effective performance management system.
Responsive: Streamlining communication and collaboration across government bodies to accelerate service delivery through a highly responsive workflow.
Transparent: Making the entire ecosystem transparent by enforcing rule of law and making administrative agencies responsible through actions like releasing government documents to the public domain.
Government bodies are required to make critical decisions on a daily basis, which affect the lives of all its citizens. With SMART governance, administrators can access, process, and analyze citizen data to produce policy insights. With an inflow of data from vehicle sensors, traffic cameras, and power and water meters, government departments can identify key areas of urban planning, public amenities, and transport.
With a robust data management mechanism, you can collect a high influx of data from multiple sources and transform it to power your value-creation and decision-making machinery.
Generating extensive reports identifying relevant metrics helps governments measure administration performance, grievance redressal TAT, and so on. SMART governance empowers agencies to analyze patterns of public expenditure on different sectors of the economy, tracking relevant sustainable development goals, reviewing trends of cropped areas, usage of public services like water, power, waste management and transportation, and civic safety measures. Further, administrators can view and remediate right from a comprehensive, single-window dashboard.
With SMART governance, administrators can offer on-demand services customized for the specific needs of individuals and businesses. In this age of personalization and instant gratification, real-time provisioning is crucial to delight citizens and increase their engagement with administrative agencies. The interaction between the government and its citizens is important for better governance and quality of life. Big data frameworks and real-time feedback systems can be utilized to improve citizen engagement by involving them in policy decision-making and disbursal of welfare programs.
In a traditional governmental setup, you have multiple departments working for the same end goal – citizen service. Yet, the siloed operations of the government functionaries are leading to delayed services and dissatisfaction among citizens. SMART governance solves this problem by bringing every department and administration arm under one digital platform. By implementing an Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC), the collaboration and communication between the departments can be improved significantly. It is possible due to the free flow of information between departments, collective ownership, and process transparency.
The evident socio-economic divide leading to digital illiteracy in society poses a serious challenge for the implementation of SMART governance. Although the penetration of smartphones and the affordable rate of the internet have made things better, ease of use and smooth user journey and experience will break the barrier.
SMART governance will need a considerable investment to begin operations. It includes building the hardware and software infrastructure, securing the systems, hiring and training a workforce, and educating people. However, in the long-term, the ROI makes it up for all the costs.
Lack of trust, attention, and interest in local administration among citizens is yet another barrier to SMART governance. It falls on the governing agencies to initiate awareness campaigns to increase citizen participation leading to an empowered citizenry and better services.
Citizen engagement is one of the core tenets of SMART governance. ICT facilitates real-time interaction between individuals and governing authorities transforming the delivery of information and services. Its immense potential in building an information-based ecosystem powering citizen-conversational services.
Social media is an exceptional medium for governing agencies to reach out to citizens as almost 70 – 80% of them have their presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Further, they receive genuine and real-time feedback on the issues they’re facing through social listening i.e. through keeping a track of the conversations around governance. Maintaining a healthy social media presence makes government bodies user-friendly and easily approachable.
IoT implementation helps administrators remotely control facilities like street lights, waste disposal management, and the water supply chain. By setting up sensors across the city for different services and collecting data at a centralized control center and disbursing the services accordingly. However, the IoT governance model should be transparent and collaborative with shared responsibility between the agencies and citizens.
SMART Governance enables governments to achieve enhanced governance, social inclusion, citizen engagement, and economic growth. However, there are a few key steps that should precede before implementing the technology-led governance such as educating citizens, training authorities, setting up goals, strategizing service deliveries, and linking it with policy making.
PruTech is an industry leader in building a roadmap, designing solutions, and implementing SMART Governance. Our expertise in emerging technologies like Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and IoT helps us in deploying solutions laying good governance principles. PruTech’s Solutions help administrators advance their service delivery mechanism through actionable data.