Learner’s Submission: Bench-marking Tool – E-Government Development Index (EGDI)

14/10/2014

“The UN E-Government Survey is the flagship publication of the United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UNDESA), which is a published biennially starting from 2003 with an initial pilot publication in 2001. The latest publication for 2014 is themed: “E-Government of the Future We Want”.

The Survey assesses the progress of e-government development in all 193 Member States of the United Nations, as such, it is the only survey that comprehensively assesses such a wide scope of countries.

The Survey serves as a tool for decision-makers to identify their areas of strength and challenges in e-government and to guide e-government policies and strategies. The UN E-Government Survey provides a systematic assessment of the use of ICT to transform and reform the public sector by enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation.

UNDESA believes Member States’ e-government initiatives should be focused primarily on making progress in three core areas of e-government development, namely: provision of online services (Online Service Index OSI), telecommunication connectivity, Telecommunication Infrastructure Index, TII) and human capacity, Human Capital Index, HCI). Thus, through a composite index of the aforementioned e-government dimensions, an E-Government Development Index (EGDI) is generated that ranks all Member States.

The EGDI ranking is NOT designed to capture e-government development in an absolute sense, meaning, the ranking is not an affirmation that, for example; the top ranked country in the latest 2014 Survey, the Republic of South Korea[1], has attained the highest, ideal or “perfect” state of e-government development despite their consistent Number One status since the 6th Edition of the Survey (i.e. 2010, 2012, 2014), rather it is a comparison of Member States’ performance rating relative to one another for the period under review.

Indeed, a possible scenario is that, between now and the next ranking publication, Member States might continue to invest resources into various aspects of e-government development yet their ranking might remain the same, drop or move up, and this might be strictly dependent on the activity outputs and outcomes of programs being pursued by other nations.

Specifically, the EGDI is a weighted average of the three normalized scores of OSI, TII, and HCI.

  • Online Service Index (OSI): measures the online presence of government and the services provided to citizens online.
  • Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII): measures through several indicators the infrastructure through which citizens can have access to the government online services.
  • Human Capital Index (HCI): measures the educational base of citizens that will allow them to access the government services online.

Thus, it uses a simplified function statement which has remained essentially the same despite changes in some indicators. This is due to changes in the underlying technology that drives e-government initiatives and innovations in the field.

EGDI = (1/3 OSI + 1/3 TII +1/3 HCI)

Data for the assessment is sourced from UNDESA-DPADM, ITU and UNESCO-UNDP for OSI, TII and HCI respectively. Beyond this core areas of e-government, the report also analyses the progress of e-participation, whole of government approach to e-government and open data programs among Member States of the United Nations.

The UN E-Government Survey report (link to report: http://unpan3.un.org/egovkb/en-us/Reports/UN-E-Government-Survey-2014 ) is especially relevant for Governments, Intergovernmental institutions, International and regional organizations, Academia, research centres and schools of public administration, Private sector, Civil Society organizations and concerned citizens.

As an e-government analyst, I find the UN-EGDI to be a very useful benchmarking tool in the areas of measuring e-government development, capacity development measures, policy recommendations to decision makers and understanding the best practices around the world.” – Franklin Ziggah – Accra, Ghana


Learner’s Submission” Public Service Human Resource Management for India’s Sustainable Development”

09/10/2014

” Development performance of countries is heavily underpinned by the quality of public institutions. When public institutions perform well, it is primarily owing to the motivation, skills and integrity of the human capital and the quality of leadership. – From the World Public sector Report “Unlocking the Human Potential for Public sector Performance”, (p.v) UN/DESA, 2005.

India is the largest democratic country in the world. It is the seventh largest by area and second most populous country with roughly one-sixth of world’s population – of about 1.26 billion. India has many challenges such as poverty, illiteracy, corruption, rising crime, nasty politics etc.

Human resources are the individuals that make up the public service workforce. Often they are referred to as “human capital” because they are the greatest asset to the public service.  Human capital is not only people per se, but the collective sum of their attributes, life experience, knowledge, creativity, energy, and motivation they choose to invest in their work. It is imperative to develop and cultivate human capital in the public service to optimize its performance. Public service performance relies on the capacity of the individual servant.

Strategic Human Resource Management is critical to the public sector’s success. The public sector will only perform well if its people work at their best. And if the public sector performs well, it is better able to implement the various development programmes of the country, thus contributing to regional and global development.

At present there is large scope for the people in public service for malpractices and corruption. Reports of large scale corruption of crores of rupees involving government servants, businesses, political leaders, ministers, judges etc. are often published in local and national media. India ranks 94th among 177 countries in corruption perception index, with a Score of 36/100, as per report of Transparency International (2013).

Current Challenges in Public Service HRM in India

In India, the implementation of sustainable development programmes is mostly regulated by public institutions. A public service with low capacity is not able to lift the country from poverty in the path of well-being for all. Indian public servants therefore carry the responsibility to develop strategies and policies that facilitate progress in the country’s social and economic development. For this reason, motivated and capable public servants are India’s most critical asset in sustaining progress and achieving development goals.

Human Resource Management: Unlocking human capital

With public servants as the important asset to India’s public service, their performance is instrumental for India’s sustainable development. Therefore, the management of India’s public servants must be grounded in principles such as:

  1. An able public service work force is the prerequisite for meeting India’s developmental aspirations of the people.
  2. Knowledge, know-how, skills and attitudes of public servants are at the center of public institutions’ performance.
  3. HR managers are key players in ensuring that the public service has the human resources it needs to succeed.

The capacity of India’s public service to achieve development goals has yet to be fully realized. An essential stepping stone in this regard is recognizing and embracing public service HRM as a critical management function. If used as a key management tool, HRM allows the public service to strategically align its workforce with the country’s development objectives. As such, HRM can become a value creator and make a bottom-line difference for the public sector.

Sustainable development: Strategic framework for HRM

To achieve development, the public service should be staffed by public servants with the capacity to design strategies for policy analysis, formulation, monitoring and evaluation. To attract, nurture and retain such civil servants, sound human resource strategies are needed. These HR strategies must be grounded in the development objectives at the national, regional and global level. Under the able leadership of Sh. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, India expects to excel in all spheres – services, manufacturing, infrastructure etc. in the next few years.” – Srihari Subudhi – New Delhi, India 


Learner’s Submission: What is the UN E-Government Survey

29/09/2014

“E-government can be the change agent to meet these challenges through online services, and by making governments more effective, efficient, transparent, accountable and inclusive.

  • The UN E-Government Survey is the only report in the world that assesses the e-government development status of the 193 UN Member States.
  • The Survey serves as a tool for decision-makers to identify their areas of strength and challenges in e-government and to guide e-government policies and strategies.
  • The UN E-Government Survey provides a systematic assessment of the use of ICT to transform and reform the public sector by enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation.
  • The UN e-government survey began in earnest in 2003 .a pilot was made in 2001

The core objective of this survey is benchmarking e-government development among UN Member States in order to “inform and improve the understanding of policy makers’ choices to shape their e-government programs” (UN 2004). This is done by measuring “the willingness and capacity of countries to use online and mobile technology in the execution of government functions” (UN 2010). Most recently, “to recognize the key role that e-government – and e-governance – can play in support of the establishment of effective institutional linkages necessary for sustainable development (UN 2012).

COMPONENTS OF SURVEY:

The UN E-Government Survey measures e-government development in all 193 UN Member States through the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) which contains three components (online service index, telecommunication infrastructure index, human capital index) which are weighted in equal manner.

GOAL OF THE SURVEY:

To provide incentives for capacity-building and to provide policy guidance and serve as in impartial reference on how to utilize ICTs to transform governments and to enable sustainable development.

The e-government development ranking of the 193 Member States provided in the Survey receives much attention, as is the case with any ranking, which leads to both positive and unintended consequences.

ADVANTAGES OF THE SURVEY:

  • Informed e-government policy decisions.
  • Barometer of e-government trends.
  • Progress in e-government developments.
  • Helps to draw attention from the media on the issues of e-government development.

USERS OF THE SURVEY:

  • Governments
  • Intergovernmental institutions
  • International and regional organizations
  • Academia, research centers and schools of public administration
  • Private sector
  • Civil society organizations
  • Citizens

The Survey is produced by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

The Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) publishes the UN E-Government Survey every two years.” - Prabhu Djeapragassam – Puducherry, India


Learner’s Submission: Whole-of-Government Approach in the Context of e-Government.

24/09/2014

“To appreciate whole –of–Government and understand its ability the this approach can be defined as government organization start sharing objectives with other organizations and collaboratively perform decisions instead of taking unanimous  decisions.

Integration of services which results in reduction of time and resource utilization and thereby increasing the citizens trust in the government. Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government responses which reduces redundancy in process flow.

E-Government is the use of Information Communication Technology to enhance the performance of government services through E-Governance thereby reducing corruption and difficulties in providing the services by removing by any existing hurdles if any. Increasing the transparency in governance and gain trust of citizens on the government.

Listed below few advantages of adopting e-government:

  • Promote effective disaster management by going Green (use of paper is reduced in e-governance since digital data’s are being used). Hence if e-papers (pdf and word documents) is used requirement of paper gets reduced.
  • Increase transparency through e-tender, e-auction, e-procurement, e-registry which leads to corruption free process flow.
  • Provides better access and quality of services.
  • People of vulnerable situations will start to use government services easily leading to social inclusion.

Listed below Difficulties faced without e-governance in governments:

  • Long queues in government offices to obtain the services (eg to receive caste, income certificates verification and collection of these documents take huge time.)
  • Must travel long distances to avail services.

Steps to promote whole of government through e-government:

  • To develop citizen friendly portals and websites(if required multilingual also can be taken into account)
  • Provide Links to  various ministries and institutions
  • Promote use of e-services.
  • Provide citizen charter in government departmental websites.
  • Promotion of E-participation of the citizens is the basis of socially inclusive governance.

E-participation is electronic participation of citizens and the business community in e-government. The aim of e-participation initiatives should be to improve the citizen’s access to information and public services; and promote participation in public decision-making which impacts the well being of society, in general, and the individual, in particular.

The three main components of the E-participation is as follows

  • E-decision-by increasing the input of citizen in decision making through e-services.
  • E-consultation –for enhancing deliberative and participatory process.

E-information-increasing information seeking of citizens made online by making information available online through websites, portals and forums.” - Prabhu Djeapragassam – Puducherry, India


Learner’s Submission: Anti-Corruption Case Study – Georgia

23/09/2014

“Preamble

The situation in Georgia before 2004 worrisome, corruption permeated nearly every aspect of life in the country. The public sector gave room for corruption that negatively impacted on the entire economy. The Police, Tax authorities, Customs, aviation and many other sectors of the economy were corrupt. The new government started in January, 2004 with an empty treasury and failed state. This situation forces the new government to start a full-flagged anticorruption crusade to save the country from total collapse.

In the quest to rescue the country and to establish credibility the new government  focused on series of reforms in all the sectors of the economy with specific and early rescue of the patrol police to cub crimes and tax reform to salvage the country empty treasury. This led to the arrest and subsequent prosecution of criminals and corrupt officials of the previous government. The reforms sought to gain citizens trust through information and active participation.

The anticorruption reforms in Georgia were successful in involving the citizens to gain their trust in the following areas:

  • REACTIVE, PROACTIVE AND PREVENTATIVE ANTICORRUPTION REFORMS: The early approaches used in each of the reforms are reactive in nature, they include disengagement of 16,000 traffic police and replacing them with 2,300 new once in few month, arrest and subsequent prosecution of criminals and corrupt officials of the previous government, amnesty in tax collection, plea bargain arrangement to recoup looted public fund, prosecution of corrupt tax officials among others. On the other hand, the proactive approaches include, changing citizen’s mindset about criminals through communication of information on television portraying criminals are no more respected in the society and the need for credibility in government businesses. Others include proactive anticorruption awareness campaign on new policies. Recruitment of new staff and subsequent training in Customs, undercover Agents and tax authorities as well as declaration of income and assets of public officials on a dedicated website for public information are among the preventative approaches adopted in the reforms.
  • INFORMATION, CONSULTATION AND ACTIVE PARTICIPATION: Citizens in Georgia were involved in anticorruption reforms through information, consultation and active participation. They were informed about the zero tolerance for corruption at the early stage of the reforms, about the reactive measures taken against criminals and corrupt officials, changes in rules and regulations, policy and institutional changes through television news and official websites. On the other hand, citizens were involved through consultation such as right to report corrupt government officials, receiving petitions, investigation and prosecution of offenders. In addition, the Georgians were given rights to use mechanisms that allow them to hold those in power accountable through active participation to influence their elections/selection for government positions and participated actively in decision making process.
  • LEGAL REGULATION, POLICY, INSTITUTIONAL AND OPERATIONAL TOOLS: The anticorruption reforms in Georgia used legal framework that gave citizens rights to access information e.g assets declaration on a dedicated official website by public officials. They were also involved in consultation through right to petition public officials. In addition, they were allowed to participate in government by influencing the selection processes of government officials during the reforms. Also, policies that aid communication of information about the reforms on television news and telegraphs are put in place in order to guide consultation and participation of CSOs and NGOs in decision making.

Institutions responsible in each sector were mandated to provide access to information about new reforms and changes communicated to the citizens. New institutional arrangements to address issues bordering on appeals process and disputes resolution that includes members from civil society organisations are steps toward strengthening the accountability framework and give room for citizens consultation and active participation. This gave the citizens formal presence in decision making forums.

However, operating tools such as toll-free numbers and adverts are provided to allow citizens access to information on the reforms activities. Opinion polls, workshops, draft policies and public hearings were conducted at different levels of implementation in order to provide avenues for citizens consultations and active participation by being presence at such forums and participate in decision making.

CONTEXTUAL FACTORS TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT BY REFORMERS IN ORDER TO GAIN THE TRUST OF CITIZENS: In order to gain the trust of citizens the reformers have to put certain factors into consideration. These include; strong political will, establishment of early credibility, launching frontal assault on the criminals and corrupt officials, limiting direct contact with customers in the administration of taxes and customs, adopting  unconventional methods in financing early reforms and increased incentives for police and tax officials. Other factors as observed from the case study include, close monitoring of the reforms implementation, tailoring international experience learned from other countries of the world to local conditions and  harnessing technology in the implementation of reforms e.g use of computers to check if a driver has a license. Effective use communications strategies in order to gain the trust of the citizens for the success of the reforms by the government and involving  citizens in decision making are some of the major promising factors. ” - Murtala Bello Kankanu – Kaduna, Nigeria


Learner’s Submission: Case Study of Georgia on Anti-Corruption

19/09/2014

“OVERVIEW OF GEORGIA’S ANTI-CORRUPTION REFORMS IN CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT

Georgia has witnessed remarkable achievement since the implementation of anti-corruption reforms “Rose Revolution” in November 2003. The reforms tailored towards improving service delivery to the citizenry in order to restore public confidence. These measures influenced the passage of new anti-corruption laws and adoption of an all-inclusive anti-corruption strategy and action plan in 2005, as well as endorsing a zero-tolerance policy. The strategy included institutional reforms, corruption prevention, open business environment, ratification and implementation of the international anti-corruption conventions and policies, enlisting and fostering the support of the public in the fight against corruption.

This article provide synopsis of the success of Georgia’s anti-corruption reforms in involving citizens and gaining their trust and the approaches adopted in combating the vicious cycle of corruption.

The country recorded great success in anti-corruption reforms by reducing staggering corruption indices to be barest minimum. Crime rates have dropped, customs and boarder systems were transformed, tax system regulated, accountability in the public service has been strengthened, service culture has been developed and public trust and confidence restored.

REACTIVE, PREVENTATIVE AND PROACTIVE APPROACHES

The reforms were reactive, proactive and preventative in nature. The reactive approach was the first part of the reforms which ensures that corrupt persons were investigated, prosecuted and punished. It affected many corrupt officials in the previous government of President Shevardnadze and closely associated business leaders. Between 2003 and 2010, about 1000 public officials have been charged with corruption offences in Georgia.

The preventative measures focused on the complete overhaul of the institutional systems, such as the police force, customs administration, university system, power sector, tax and payment structure, simplification of procedures and licensing businesses. To prevent corruption from taking place in public institutions, corrupt officials were sacked and new staff hired and trained.

The proactive measures strengthened the public bodies through designing and adopting long-term preventive and sanitary policies which tackled the enabling environment for corruption and improved public trust. This therefore, improves government performance; reduce corruption-prone areas in public bodies, and entrenched effective service delivery to the citizens. Public enlightenment, citizenry review through research and participation were also considered for recording success in the reforms.

CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT

Citizens were involved through information, consultation and active participation. The government realized the need to enlist citizens and foster their support, thus public enlightenment and public access to information on the reforms were the key factors that contributed immensely in actualizing the reforms, especially in government effort to streamline and eliminate unnecessary procedures, where junior level staff often gives feedback and suggestions on the ways to improve service delivery.

The citizens participated in the 24-hour hotline to submit their complaints or report corruption offences, and video cameras were all-over to give citizens proof of violation or evidence of the offence committed either by police, public official or even the citizen.

LEGAL FRAMEWORK

Anti-corruption legislations were promulgated and new measures put in place to punish offenders and provide stricter policies to eliminate corruption in the public system. The government established laws and order to make the citizens think differently, destroy the respect toward the criminal, and demonstrate the authority of formal legal institutions over weak/informal ones.

The government studied and borrowed the Italian anti-mafia model and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act of the United States to establish its new criminal code and amendments in 2004 which was instrumental in instituting the reforms against criminals and corrupt persons. The government also approved the Tax Amnesty Legislation in 2004 that allowed taxpayers to declare all unreported assets before the end of 2005 with the exception of government officials.

Another new legislation which enabled the authorities to confiscate money and property from illicit follows and introduce the plea bargain come into effect through the New Zealand law on harassment and criminal association and the British Conspiracy Law designed to fight criminal organizations.

The laws were quickly adopted in order to strengthen the zero-tolerance policy. They were subsequently reviewed and revised to clear areas of ambiguities and close all gaps of manipulations by criminals.

CONTEXTUAL FACTORS TO GAIN CITIZEN TRUST

The reformers viewed that corruption permeated virtually all facets of life in Georgia. People pay bribes (against their will) to obtain most of the public services; therefore strong measures must be taken to drastically reduce the prevalence of corruption in the country, and also gaining public support is instrumental. Thus, the reformers debated the approach to reforms in a series of meetings and concluded that the reforms could not be gradual or in parts.

To gain public trust and confidence all corrupt criminals in public service were sacked and tried, new anti-corruption legislations were passed and promulgated, and citizens were informed and allowed to participate in the reforms process.” - Abbas Inuwa – Kaduna, Nigeria


Learner’s Submission: Social Media Channels Used by Government of India

17/09/2014

“Social media started gaining momentum since virtual communities started to grow more and more users of all age group, different ethnic background, even people with physical disabilities are using social media  it can be said as even social media has gathered people as never before. In our country (INDIA) some government agencies are making their presence felt on social media .during the general election to loksabha 2014.people were being educated through SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation ) programme. for which several facebook pages was opened .awareness for first time voters and other voters was being covered using this programme . This was the first time in the history of Indian election voters were educated through social media.

Several short films was hosted in youtube on need to vote and to check voters name, address, constituency, polling booth details and awareness on vote and election was made.

Live webcasting of polling in puducherry parliamentary constituency was made available in YouTube [1].

Beyond the social media channels like facebook ,youtube,twitter,googleplus and google hangout are being used.

After the advent of internet the no of users accessing the internet has grown gradually not only the urban users rural users of internet have started spending time in the social media is in rise. Hence use of social media to get attention of the mass population is being the top priority for data dissemination.

To quote further the Delhi traffic police has a facebook page [2] which has received around 1.8 lakh likes. public messages like wearing of helmet ,don’t drink and drive, follow traffic rules  are being insisted. also a mobile application .also lodging of report for lost of document in delhi can be made through web and mobile.

The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), a project funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) was first conceived in 1999 to pave the way for introducing multimedia and web technology to enhance learning of basic science and engineering concepts. NPTEL provides E-learning through online Web and Video courses in Engineering, Science and humanities streams. The mission of NPTEL is to enhance the quality of Engineering education in the country by providing free online courseware. Several video lectures of this NPTEL is available in YouTube.” - Prabhu Djeapragassam – Puducherry, India


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