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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Infocomm Revolution - Hierarchy & Bureaucacy Busting!

Tom Evslin writes about VISP - It’s a Village ISP which besides "eGovernance",provides email, web browsing, and basic computer literacy training. A VISP owner Rani( there are obviously many like her), by charging for all these services grossed about $110 in her first month of operation.The most important point that Tom writes about is: "egovernance" works in this framework as the functioning is based on negotiated agreement which allows it to funnel complaints from VISPs directly to a high level in the various govt. departments and gives them the right to follow-up on a promise that all complaints will be addressed within two weeks.
eGovernance is a product, not a charitable service. VISP entrepreneurs make money (and pay back their loans) because people are willing to pay to get results. Their customers can also get and fill out forms online and peruse available government programs.Bureaucracy is hierarchy at its stultifying worst. Hierarchies used to be needed to move information. Now electronic communication allows hierarchies to be flattened. It’s a very hopeful sign that this is beginning to be true for the poorest of the poor as well as those of us who have a Blackberry for use when our computers are out of convenient reach.

Tom also writes about a conversation with a World Bank who said that use of village computer kiosks is helping to reduce the corruption which is often more than a 100% tax on people who can least afford it in the developing world. People wanting to start a business used to pay numerous small bribes – often just for the right to get through the door of a government office – in order to get the needed permits.A program which allowed the applications to be filed electronically at village kiosks bypassed the greedy hands in the middle. Tom concludes by writing, the requirement for the permits will eventually be lifted once it no longer supports a cottage industry of door keepers.
Categories : eGovernance, Bureacracy.

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