Abstract - The Information Society 22(1)

Impact and Sustainability of E-Government Services in Developing Countries: Lessons Learned from Tamil Nadu, India

Rajendra Kumar and Michael L. Best

We find that the presence of village Internet facilities, offering government to citizen services, is positively associated with the rate at which the villagers obtain some of these services. In a study of a rural Internet project in India, we identify a positive correlation for two such Internet services: obtaining birth certificates for children and applications for old age pensions. Both these government services are of considerable social and economic value to the citizens. Villagers report that the Internet based services saved them time, money, and effort compared with obtaining the services directly from the government office. We also find that these services can reduce corruption in the delivery of these services. After over one year of successful operation, however, the e-government program was not able to maintain the necessary level of local political and administrative support to remain institutionally viable. As government officers shifted from the region, or grew to find the program a threat, the e-government services faltered. We argue that this failure was due to a variety of Critical Failure Factors. We end with a simple sustainability failure model. In summary, we propose that the e-government program failed to be politically and institutionally sustainable due to people, management, cultural, and structural factors.


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