THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Kiran Bedi, Parminder Jeet Singh, and Sandeep Srivastava. Governance @ Net: New Governance Opportunities for India. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2001. 374 pages. Paperback. Indian Rs 295.00.
Considering that India faces an acute shortage of electricity, has a poor telephone network, an extremely low level of human development, and an even lower rate of computer ownership (4.5 per thousand), it is premature to fantasise about the benefits of electronic government. Fantasising, however, is precisely what the three authors of Governance @ Net: New Governance Opportunities for India engage in. The argument is that by incorporating computer technology into governance structures the entire system can be made more efficient. It is pointed out, correctly, that India’s main problem lies with allocating resources efficiently. Government initiatives in social welfare and food distribution do not touch their targets in an effective or meaningful manner. People have to go through various ordeals when paying bills, posting income tax returns, and registering complaints.