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


Learner’s Submission: Online Public Service in Southern India

16/09/2014

“I am from Kerala, a state in southern India. The Government of Kerala has established Kerala State Information Technology Mission (KSITM) to promote the e-Governance in the state. KSITM is also the nodal agency of Kerala State Information Technology department and function as a core autonomous body. Enormous e-Governance projects are operational at various levels of Kerala government departments to cater to all sections of society.

I have made use of many online services rendered by the state government and would like to mention about “Akshaya” program which I think is more relevant.

“Akshaya”, is a flagship rural e-governance programme conceived by the government of Kerala. This prestigious program of Kerala state was designed by the Kerala IT Mission in its first phase in 2003 in order to improve e-literacy in underserved areas.  The second phase of the program was designed to provide a platform for government to citizen services through public – private partnership. The entire project is implemented through three-tier Panchayat Raj Institutions and the District Panchayat of the respective districts is the overall coordinator. Committees for the implementation of this project are constituted at various levels i.e. State, District, Block, Municipality, Panchayat, and Ward levels.

The key objective of Akshaya programme is to provide Information and Communications Technology (ICT)  accessibility and services to the reach of the common man and, thus, to bridge the gap between the “Information Rich and the Information Poor” . This programme focus at three types of service delivery models towards achieving sustainability.

The first type of service delivery consists of five core services in the model of ‘Government to Citizens’ which includes (i) imparting training, (ii) disseminating information, (iii) enabling e-transactions, (iv) facilitating e-governance and (v) acts as a communication hub.

Second type of service delivery in Akshaya programme relates to industry/ business in the model of ‘Business to Consumers’. The multipurpose online community technology centre established under this programme, known as “e-kendras” enters in to tie-ups with various companies/business units to facilitate the services provided by them.

The final type of service delivery model is designed with social development perspective and provides space for social activities like children clubs, women self help groups, farmer groups, and unemployed youth forums. The e-kendras are also endeavoring ‘Citizens to Citizens’ services like establishing farmer’s community online network throughout the state of Kerala. This e-network provides access to information on market demand, prices, good agricultural practices, etc. This system also helps the farmers in selling their products directly to the prospective buyers without any intermediaries.

Out of the 33 million citizens in the state of Kerala, nearly 60 percent have been made use of the above services rendered through around 2000 Akshaya centers. It is pertinent to note that the Akshaya centers, run by private entrepreneurs who collectively earns 30 million Indian Rupee per month and generates employment for over 20,000 individuals.  Akshaya programme thus provide a major fillip in rural empowerment as well as in the economic development of the entire state.” - Joemon Joseph – Kerala


Learner’s Submission: Online Public Service in Bangladesh

23/08/2014

“Yes, I have used an online service in my country. My name is Javed Hussan and my country is Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a developing country of South East Asia. It has large populations with different problems like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, gender inequality and corruption. Corruption in the public service sector becomes a common phenomenon in this country. Bribe, nepotism, favoritism and red-tapism are regular activities of government service providers. The Public Administration of Bangladesh is not accountable, transparent, effective and efficient. The traditional administrative system is still alive in the field of service providing. As a result, People of Bangladesh are facing difficulties in time of getting services from the government offices. Use of computer and internet in Bangladesh is very popular and usages of these have increased rapidly recently. The current government is working to provide services to the people via online. To make the administration accountable, transparent, effective and efficient government takes some initiatives for establishing e-government.  Although, the government isn’t able to provide all services to people via online. Few services are providing via online now. Application for the passport of Bangladesh is one of the services which is providing via online. Someone can apply for a passport via online. He or she must fulfill the application form online. The applicant must pay the charge in person. Then he or she must bring it to the passport office for digital fingerprint, signature and photo taking. Police verification occurs before making the passport. When the work of passport making is finished, a sms send to the applicant mobile number to receive his or her passport. The applicant must go to the office where he did apply; it may be a regional passport office or central passport office. This is the process of getting a passport via online in Bangladesh. But it is not fully online based. Applicant can’t give his or her application charge via online, he has to go selected Banks in person or need to send someone to Banks for paying the money or charge. Then the applicant needs to go passport office for giving the finger print. Before giving the finger print an employee of a desk check the printed out application. If applicants don’t give bribe to him, he never let the applicant to go for finger print taking room at first time even everything okay. He wants to harass the applicants for the bribe. After finger print, police verification is essential. Every applicant has to give bribes to the police for the verification. This is mandatory still now. Applicant can’t receive his or her passport within the specific time, which is specified by the government. But who gives bribe him or she can get it within the time-frame or before ending the deadline. Some brokers are still working in the passport office because the application process is still traditional along with the online application system.

So, from the above discussion, it is clear to us that this service is not fully online based. Bangladesh government is trying to provide its services to the people via online. But its capacity and infrastructural current condition don’t support. Application of passport is one of the efforts of the government to provide services to the people via online. Although, it isn’t fully online based but it reduces the harassment of the people to some extent.” - Javed Hussan – Sylhet, Bangladesh


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