Keynote 3 - ICEDEG 2024

Fostering E-Participation to Contribute to Sustainable Development Goals: Does Rurality Matter!


Globally, the use of digital technologies has been pervasive. The supply and use of digital services have grown phenomenally due to the prolific growth of digital technology infrastructure and innovations in digital services, including social media and networks. Governments are increasingly keeping pace with innovative digital technologies as part of their policies and are pursuing digital government strategies to be more citizen-centric and demand-driven. Gone are those days when the digital divide was an issue to address by many countries, and today, we recognize prolific growth in digital opportunities. Tele density, usability, and usefulness of digital technologies and digital services are no more challenging in digital service delivery. Internet penetration is growing rapidly with the availability of various broadband options across the wire and wireless spectrum. However, there is a debate in the space of ICT for the development and critical contributions of digital technologies to meet SDGs. Ranking based on SDGs and digital government indices provides useful insights into the efforts and outcomes to be commensurate. The complexity grows when many countries grapple with challenges related to rurality, peri-urban, and rural-urban continuum. It entails carefully considering the indices for e-participation to broad base the evaluation approach. It is argued that digital technologies need to usher in digital transformation. However, for effective use of digital transformation, which may be a digital push strategy for policymakers, it is desirable to see if such a push is transformed to pull effects at all levels of society. It is also argued that there is a life beyond municipalities, and each dimension of SDG needs e-participation. The sub-indices of the e-participation index have a scope related to each goal/sub-goal of the SDGs. While doing so, it is necessary to underscore the opportunities and challenges that rurality would particularly forge with the already complex process of measuring e-participation.  A few use cases will be presented for deliberation to support this argument. 


Prof. Harekrishna Misra (Ph.D., Information Systems) has around 40 years of experience in the industry (Industrial Automation, Signalling, and Control) and academia in IT infrastructure management, database management, communication systems, and networks. His current research interests include software engineering (process modeling), e-governance, ICT for Development, information systems management in development organizations, e-business for rural enterprises, and ICT-enabled value chains in rural enterprises. He has widely published in nationally and internationally reputed and referred journals. He has been on the editorial board of two international journals as well. He has also participated in technical and program committees and presented papers at national and international refereed academic conferences. His works have been awarded as best papers in various conferences. In the past, he has been a member and Chairperson of the advisory committee of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (GoI). He was also Chair Professor, Verghese Kurien Centre of Excellence at the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA). He is a member of the Academic Advisory Council, VAMNICOM, Pune, India, an academic Institute for Cooperative Management Education under the Ministry of Cooperation, GoI. He is also chairperson and board of governors of Sahaj Retail Limited, Kolkata, India, channeling e-government services in India. He is also a member of the Expert Committee that formulates the National Cooperation Policy, GoI. He is an Associate Editor of Springer's International Journal of System Assurance Engineering and Management. 



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24 - 26 June 2024
Lucerne, Switzerland

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