- Category: Digital Governance Models
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Comparative Analysis Model is one of the least-used but a high potential e-governance model for developing countries. The model can be used to empower people by comparing cases of bad governance with those of good governance and identifying specific aspects of bad governance, the reasons and people behind them, and how the situation can be improved.
The model is based on using immense capacity of ICT and social media tools to explore given information sets with comparable information available in the public or private domain. For instance, if a given amount of money can build 5 primary schools in District 'A' in a country, then why does the same amount of money build only 2 schools in District 'B'? Could this be because of corruption of officials and contractors involved, or siphoning of money for other things? The outcomes are strategic learnings and empowerment, and can lay the basis for possible action, eg: filing of right to information (RTI) to find where the money went.
Essentially, the model continuously assimilates “best practices” in different areas of governance and uses them as benchmark to evaluate other governance practices. It then uses the result to advocate positive changes or to influence 'public' opinion on existing governance practices. The comparison could be made over a time scale to get a snapshot of the past and the present situation or could be used to compare the effectiveness of an intervention by comparing two similar situations.
The strength of this model lies in the infinite capacity of digital networks to store varied information and retrieve and transmit it instantly across all geographical and hierarchical barriers.
This model could be applied in the following possible ways:
- To learn from past policies and actions and derive learning lessons for future policy-making.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of the current policies and identify key learnings in terms of strengths and flaws in the policies.
- To effectively establish conditions of Precedence, especially in the case of Judicial or legal decision-making (example for resolving patent-related disputes, public goods ownership rights), and use it to influence/ advocate future decision-making.
- To enable informed decision-making at all levels by enhancing the background knowledge and also providing a rationale for action.
- To evaluate the performance and track-record of a particular decision-maker/ decision-making body.
Global: Human Development Indicators
The Human Development Report of UNDP makes use of archived Statistical information pertaining to literacy, health, national income etc. as a benchmark to assess the progress made by different countries with regards to their Human Development Index and suggests policy recommendations based on that.
Many countries now also prepare national level indicators to compare progress made in different states in a country.
India: Comparative Learning from Disasters
In the wake of earthquake in Kutch in India (January 2001), there was a lot of comparative learning relating to disaster management drawn from a high intensity earthquake which shook Latur in India in 1993. The extensive information available on internet on both these earthquakes open up vast scope of comparison by all segments of the society.
A presentation by Mr. Praveen Singh Pardesi- Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Maharashtra cadre and currently Joint Secretary to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, India)
Comparison of different Disasters can make people realise that damages to life and property incurred are not just a factor of intensity of the disaster but also dependent on the preparedness of the Government machinery and conducive government policies to handle that disaster.
Developing countries could very effectively use this comparative model as ICT opens their access to the global and local knowledge products at a relatively low -cost. The model is very much based on the existing sets of information but requires the ability to analyse and bring out strong arguments which could then be used to catalyze existing efforts towards self governance.
There is a vast scope of application of this model for judicial advocacy as landmark/key judgments of the past could be used as precedence for influencing future decision- making. Further, watch-guard organizations and monitor-groups can use this model to continuously track the governance past record and performance and compare with different information sets.
The model however becomes ineffective in absence of a strong civil society interest and public memory which is essential to force decision-makers to improve existing governance practices.