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

18/03/2015

“Whole-of-government approach is when government agencies and organizations share objectives across organizational boundaries, as opposed to working solely within an organization. A government is a system of interdependent subsystems that pursues interrelated goals generated from a common mission and vision that is often intended to guide a given society into prosperity through continuous improvement of social, economic and political welfare. This generates the need for the establishment of a framework that ensures unity of purpose and goals amongst the stakeholders that act as pillars in the development of such a society. The involvement of all the interested parties in decision making calls for establishment of appropriate mechanisms that accommodated all the parties without discrimination or exclusion. In order to achieve such a state of inclusiveness, it’s of great benefit for a given government to embrace the use of information and communication technologies to address the vast interest of all the stakeholders so as to ensure that there is not only free access to government programs and project but also ensure that there is availability of information relating to short term, midterm and long term plans that a given government seeks to undertake in the allocation, utilization of all the resources and that there are well outlined processes and procedures that allow all the parties that may be affected directly or indirectly by such plan to participate in formulating them. In order to attain such status, it is important for any government to use whole of government approach which is one of the trends in e-government. One of the benefits of whole of government approach is that it facilitates increase in the effectiveness of government responses as well as improved efficiency by reduction of processes and procedures in program management. Apart from that, there is better service delivery by integrating services and thereby saving time and resources. Moreover, there is increase in public value by promoting collaboration and coordination with private sector and civil society. In order to promote the whole of government, the existing government should ensure that there exists user friendly portals as well as websites, existence of links to other ministries and institutions, ensure that search results remain in government sites and also there is well defined sections such as e-services, and social media. This will facilitate social cohesion as well as improve inclusiveness in decision making.

Explanation of UN E-Government Survey

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 the e-government and to guide e-government policies and strategies. Moreover, the survey provides a systematic assessment of the use of ICT to transform and reform the public sector by enhancing efficient, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation. The survey is produced by the division for public administration and development management (DPADM) of UN department of economic and social welfare (DESA). DESA publishes the UN e-government survey every two years. The survey began in 2003 with pilot in 2001. The survey is prepared by a DPADM team based at the UN headquarters in New York, USA, with support of researchers around the world. Over 95 researchers took part in the 2014 survey. DPADM survey team won the 2013 UN ‘online volunteering award’ for its collaboration with researchers around the world where the use of hash tag #UN go survey for the 2014 edition of the survey reached more than 3.6 million people.

The ultimate goal of the survey is to provide incentives for capacity building and also to provide policy guidance and serve as in impartial reference on how to utilize ICTs to transform governments and to enable sustainable development. It is from this background that the survey is used as a benchmark tool to measure e-government development and for capacity development, policy recommendations and good practices around the world. E-Government is the use of ICT and its application by the government for the provision of information and public services to the people. The use of e-government enables sustained development through greater efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery, better access and quality of services, enhanced citizen participation, increase transparency through open data and accountability as well as enhances economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. The surveymeasures e-government development in all 193 UN Member States through the E-Government Development Index. This development index focuses on three components which include; online service index, the telecommunication Infrastructure Index and finally human capital Index.

Online service index is based upon four stages model starting with emergency presence, enhanced presence, transactionalpresence, and the connected presence. Human capital index has four indicators among them is the expected year of schooling, mean year of schooling, adult literacy as well as enrollment ratio.

Finally, the survey also focuses on the trends in e-government which are whole of government approach, e-participation, multi channel service delivery, expanding usage, digital divide and vulnerable groups as well as open government data.” - Joseph Macharia Kimani – Nairobi, Kenya


Learner’s Submission: Online Public Service in India

17/03/2015

“Service: Integrated Transport Management System

Domain: Surface Transport, India

Area: Toll collection for using road network

Activity: Travel within country

Introduction:

India is a subcontinent with large road networks. Government is presently working to expand and upgrade the roadways in a big way. This move is welcome however it also needs to address various related challenges upfront at the planning stage itself. Here we are trying to address some key issues faced by road users who primarily travel on holiday or pilgrimage.

Though there are many experts who can pin point the challenges in the road infrastructure, here we are highlighting a few along with the possible suggestions to make the everyday users’ life better.

Top 5 challenges to end users:

  • Frequent cash payments of various denominations leading to shortage of smaller currency
  • Lack of single payment facility
  • Unable to validate whether the toll collection booths are legitimate or fake
  • Long waiting times leading to higher fuel consumption and frustration
  • Multiple helpline numbers cause confusion as there is no single mechanism to handle road emergency

Some of the other challenges that can be addressed simultaneously are

  • No feedback mechanism
  • No single channel to address tolls spread across multiple regions
  • Lack of verification mechanism to address legitimacy, security& authenticity concerns
  • No clarity in terms of start and closure of the toll roads
  • Paper wastage due to issue of paper based permits, receipts, certificates, etc.
  • Details of the use of the funds, duration of collection of fee, responsible stakeholders, etc. are not easily available
  • Checking of cargo vehicles by RTA at entry/exit points of provinces blocks the roads and increases travel time
  • Updates on road conditions, changes in fees, change of helpline numbers, etc.

Top 5 requirements of end users:

  • Simple, robust, easy to use, fast and handy system preferably mobile based as it is widely in use
  • Support multiple languages for greater penetration and ease of usage
  • Secure payment mechanism supporting multiple channels
  • Reduce waiting time & resultant frustration when people cut lines to get ahead
  • Value add in terms of ascertain authenticity of toll booths, traffic updates, complaint & feedback mechanism directed to right point of contacts and helpline numbers to reach out in case of different type of emergencies

Suggested solution:

The solution is for developing a mechanism which brings together disparate agencies under one environment by providing a seamless and single window service which is simple, fast, secure and easy to use.

Top 5 benefits that can accrue through it would be

  • Reduced fuel consumption leading to higher savings and reduced crude oil imports saving precious foreign exchange
  • Reduced greenhouse emissions and lower carbon footprint
  • Brings together vehicles, road users, payments and security under a single system thus creating an ecosystem which all the other stakeholders can take benefit from to come up innovative solutions to address existing or future challenges
  • Empowering users to choose from multiple channels to pay for the road fee as convenient to them including pre-paying thus reducing waiting time at toll booths
  • Reduced paper wastage leading to lower deforestation

Indirect associated benefits, which are often ignored, are

  • A nationwide integrated transport network as envisioned under the Digital India movement
  • Linked to all RTA of all provinces thus tracking the status of vehicles, avoiding duplication, status of various vehicle certificates
  • When linked to Homeland Security, this can track suspicious persons escaping the area of crime and direct nearest patrol for interception
  • Can be linked to existing Payment Gateways to leverage the infrastructure available for online payments via web or mobile channels
  • A mobile based app can help sync with Google maps to accurately track the vehicle and provide real time requisite updates
  • Since bar code readers are already existing, an electronic or printable copy of a single page can quickly scan to confirm the pre-payment and reduce waiting times
  • Having the system catering to regional languages will help cover all provinces to make the investment viable and increase the penetration

Conclusion:

By creating an information technology based environment can open plethora of opportunities for all stakeholders to come up with new or improved services which addresses current and future needs in a quick and simple manner.

The points noted here would immensely benefit regular road users like transport and logistic companies. All stakeholders putting their weight behind such an initiative would make life better for all.

A service can only become great when the elements of planning, design, infrastructure, implementation, training, operation and maintenance are done in time and with right quality.” - Soumitri Murthinty – Maharashtra, India


Learner’s Submission: The Status of online public service in Ethiopia

16/03/2015

“Despite the fact that the existing status of information communication technology is lower than many developing nations, its penetration and usage is steadily growing in the country. In 2009 there were 187,346 Internet subscribers in the country, and estimate put the number of internet user was about 500,000, which was the lowest rate in the world. But, in 2012 if we go by the number, there were more than 2.7 million of internet subscribers (including GPRS) and more than 3 million Internet users. This, however, does not show the exact number of the internet users in the country as it is not possible to figure out the clear cut number of internet users in public places such as Internet cafes, educational institutions, and work places. A more realistic estimate puts the number of users close to 4 million.

In addition to the expansion and development of ICT, the Ethiopian government has been trying to expand an electronic based service in the country. As a result, individuals and companies are able to present their request to obtain public services by filling out electronic forms and attaching the necessary documents from anywhere and anytime. Moreover, they can track the status of their requests using unique service request tracking numbers; arrange appointments with the service providing government organizations when physical presence is required; get periodic notifications through email and SMS; and provide their feedbacks for future improvements.

Totally, the FDRE Ministry of information communication and technology (MCIT) has launched more than 60 electronic transactional services in various governmental organizations. Moreover, the Ministry has a plan to reach the number of electronic service to 219 by 2015 as part of the five year plan started in 2011.

Currently, the major E-Government service rendered in Ethiopia is a Woreda (District) Net. It is an Ethiopian e-government network connecting more than 611 Districts with the primary objective to provide ICT services such as video conferencing, directory, messaging and VOIP, and Internet connectivity to the Federal, Regional and Woreda (district) level government entity. Another major e-government service rendered in the country is the School Net. It connects more than 550 high schools with VSAT-based broadband connection for delivery of video-based distance and standardized education. There are also other services that provide connectivity to the e Health, and Agri Net.

In addition to the service mentioned above, Ethiopia is on the way to provide national electronic ID cards to her citizens. By so doing, the country will raise the volume of public service rendered in the country. The electronic IDs are designed to contain fingerprints and principal residence of the individual, number and signature of the holder to identify the real identity of the card holder, and accordingly provide public service. It is, therefore, able to address both the need for identification and authentication of the cardholder in an online environment and physical world.” - Million Tolessa – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Learner’s Submission: Local Government System in State of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK), Pakistan

15/03/2015

“The State of Jammu & Kashmir was one of the largest amongst 560 princely States in British Rule in India. The ownership of state was transferred to Dogra Gulab Singh on the payment of 7.5 million rupees according to Amritsar Deed of 1846. The Dogra despotic and oppressive rule The Dogra despotic and oppressive rule caused unrest in majority of population of the state. In order to resolve the issues Glancy Commission was formed which gave recommendation to form Praja Sbah (Legislative Assembly partly elected and partly nominated). This was the first time when Local Government took its shape in AJK. The elections to the Assembly were held in 1934, 1938 and 1946.

In AJK about 88% of the total population lives in the rural areas. So, Local Government is highly responsible for planning and implementation of programs for socio-economic development of rural infrastructure. Local Government institutions mainly focuses on provision of potable drinking water, improvement of sanitation, health and hygiene conditions, construction of rural infrastructure such as rural roads, footpaths, foot bridges, identification, planning and utilization of local resources, awareness raising campaigns, organization of communities and local councils etc. Arrangement of funds to undertake these activities is made from the following resources:

  • Annual budget from Government of AJK
  • Funds generated by Local Councils
  • Funds/contribution from local communities
  • Assistance from Government, Semi-Government organizations
  • International Agencies/Donors as agreed by Government (World Bank, IDA, UNICEF, FAO, Asian Development Bank etc.)

In case of Pakistan, military dictators have tried to introduce democracy at the grassroots level but elected civilian governments have always created hindrances in holding local government elections to empower the ordinary people.

Last Local Government Elections were held in AJK in 1991 and next elections were scheduled in 1995. But the government delayed elections at that time due to gain some political benefits from the forthcoming General Elections of 1996. After that Local Government Elections were scheduled to be held in 1996. About 4.6 million rupees of Surety was deposited by the candidates throughout AJK. But elections got cancelled on the account of correction of voter lists. Since 1995, the charge of Local Government institutions is being given to ‘Administrators’ who are either government officials or ruling party leaders.

In Azad Kashmir, the last local bodies elections were held in 1991. It’s been 25 years that people in AJK are being deprived of their basic rights as given in the constitution. In developed countries and many developing countries various public services like health, education, infrastructure, civil services etc. are controlled and regularized by the local government on account of better delivery of services in an efficient manner. This decentralization is playing an important role in flourishing democracy and the democratic process in these countries. So, it is the need of hour that Local government elections are held in AJK on priority basis to eradicate political disorder.” - Maqsood Amin – AJK, Pakistan


Learner’s Submission: HR Managers Capacity Development – Case of Nigeria

14/03/2015

“There is a saying that, can two be except they be agreed?

Rhetorically, it is a knot to be untied non-verbally but in deliberate activities by the Government and Human Resource Manager(s) to ensure the people’s need for capacity development and satisfaction.

Human Resource Capacity development in itself is to ensure an on-going learning, knowledge management and solvable problems based on development theories and practices to enhance Government’s effort towards her citizens thereby looking away from traditional crude practices like capacity building at such a century as has. It is in tune to enhancing Government’s effort to empowering the people through the Human Resource Manger or Professional’s effort to collate and research on the people’s area of needs such as unemployment among youths; inequality bridge between the rich and the poor and poverty scourge most especially on women and children in alignment with Government’s vision looking into communities with urgent needs.

For instance, Nigerian President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s vision 2020 (Transformation Agenda) to turn Nigeria’s economy to the greatest in Africa by out-twitting South Africa has been concluded upon as an unprofitable venture due to low impact in allocation distribution throughout the country. This might have rubbed off on him because the expertise of a Human Resource Manager might have been looked down upon to ensure its employ ability and assessment as the work evolves.

As a leader aiming for good governance in order to ensure a heightened capacity development in alignment with the country’s development vision, the following are paramount if result is expected:

1) Identify loop-holes to the program/vision failure or unequal distribution of resources and review the strategies adopted.

2) Weigh the financial allocation and public expenditure management from office inception till date with the aid of external auditors.

3) Assess its distribution mechanism in quantity and quality.

4)  Check feasible public service ministry’s records and make a public announcement to invite all private investors who have vie for contracts both awarded and not awarded alongside their proposals.

5)  Review employees skill, training and professionalism in relevance to the job to either be retained or retrenched.

6)  Review foreign policy and Economy diplomacy links and networks in relevance to (i) relationship (ii) interest (iii) rewards (iv) and vision agreement as documented or pact.

7)  Take deliberate and firm actions that are continuous, consistent and committed to the vision.

8)  Personally visit project location sites to ensure that all players are acting their roles. Avoid being a” title leader’’, be a ”doing leader”.

9)  Adopt new and fresh hands. Avoid dogged crisscrossing relationships of same principles and practices as a supposed constitution. Be flexible to new ideas and challenges.

Finally, to ensure that these vision is realized through the employment of various capacity development programs, Human Resource Mangers should provide adequate logistics and technology necessary in channeling the vision’s effectiveness.

Lack of these materials or personnel strategy analyst can constrain the distribution/allocation of unleashing, strengthening and maintaining the development’s capacity beyond the peripheral of the people’s need.” - Emuoghene Alicia Eguko – Lagos, Nigeria


Learner’s Submission: Role of Social Media in India

13/03/2015

“An informal survey conducted by the National Innovation Council (NInC) showed that among the 50 respondents (under30 demographic, working professionals) only 8% knew that the 12th Five Year Plan has been unveiled1. The planning commission (now NITI AYOG), realizing the need for better communication and decided to begin with social media in march 2013. To harness the opportunity of social media, Government of India had organized Hackathons on the 12th Five Year Plan. In addition, The Commissionerate of Municipal Administration, Tamil Nadu and ThoughtWorks organized the first CMA Hackathon –Code for Urban Governance on Dec 14 and 15, 2014 and 5 key themes of the Hackathon were education, health, sanitation, birth and death registration, and roads2. Two press conferences were carried out by government of India via twitter for better communication with journalist, student and people3. In another development, President of India and Prime Minister Office make facebook and twitter account, goes on social media to give update about their activities. Most of the ministries and other government offices are being linked to social media, gradually. In a marvelous step, Ministry of External Affairs has initiated Indian Diplomacy page on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media sites to foster a greater understanding of India and its foreign policy concerns4 and, also divulge its presence on social media to update their followers about Indian Foreign Policy viz. visits of the foreign diplomats and overseas visits of the Indian diplomats. Asia and world have 34.7% and 42.3% internet penetration respectively5. To exploit this resource, High commissioners and consulate generals of India have also been linked to social media to reach out the citizens of their respective niche, to introduce with fabulous Indian culture, heritage and political system. Tourism ministry has also launched its social media campaign about Incredible India to allure the tourist and trap the tourism economy.

National broadcaster Prasar Bharti has launched real time update about programs and news through social media. It has also started blogs to bring the innovative ideas on to one platform and Prasar Bharti had managed to live broadcast of Republic Day Parade on Youtube to provide real time streaming. Further, to provide holistic update about government initiation, India portal has also been linked to different social media channels. Army, Navy, Air force, Paramilitary forces and, states police have also launched their facebook page and social media campaign to engage with civilians, aware and trap young intelligent mind to nurture the nation and check the crimes as well. State Governments has also used this communication medium to provide good governance in their respective states for eg. NCT Delhi has started Facebook page to check corrupt practices in Public Distribution system. Basic unit of Indian Civil Services DM and civil servants are also linked to social media, for eg. Facebook account of DM, Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh.

NPTEL- National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning6, funded by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, is a massive online open courses which provides comprehensive knowledge and opportunity to citizen of all age group to nurture their intelligence. Along with this, Community Participation is the key feature of this program. Social media has been used remarkably as Google Hangouts for discussion and for communication with instructor, YouTube is the official partner which provide online videos.

Open Government Data- OGD is a platform for supporting Open Data initiative of Government of India. The portal is intended to be used by Government of India Ministries/ Departments their organizations to publish datasets, documents, services, tools and applications collected by them for public use. Open Government Data Platform India has singificant module as Communities – Module for community users to interact and share their zeal and views with others, who share common interests as that of theirs. For eg. Agriculture community, health community, developer community7.

MyGov(Good Governance with your Partnership)-8 On 26 July 2014, the Hon`ble Prime Minister of India launched MyGov- a platform for citizen engagement for good governance, which presents a wonderful opportunity for citizens, experts and government authorities to collectively achieve the Surajya. MyGov welcomes government institutions to collaborate with citizens through this platform. Institutions can form or create interest groups based on various causes and initiatives taken in each sector the government. Within each group, discussions on relevant and significant topics can be initiated. The discussions can help government institutions understand viewpoints of citizens and gather feedback on policy. 1st MyGov Samvaad had been organized on 29 Nov, 2014. A Group on Digital India was created on MyGov to take inputs from users on critical topics.

Social media is a globe of opportunities, it depends on ourself, how would we tackle it? Indian Government has initiated so many programmes but still, we have to go a long distance. We have to change our mindset to achieve the MDG through use of ICT and, social media can play a significant role in it. It is a strong medium which can influence a mass collectively. If we use it in a constructive manner, definitely it will be fruitful and prosperous. I hope through this government make India a prosperous and leading country in the world.” - Saurabh Yadav – Uttar Pradesh, India

References:

Yojana May, 2013 ISSN-0971-8400
data.gov.in
Yojana May, 2013 ISSN-0971-8400
facebook.com/indiandiplomacy
Internetworldstats.com/stats3.htm
nptel.ac.in
data.gov.in
mygov.in


Learner’s Submission: Land Record Management System in Pakistan

25/02/2015

“Public Service relate to all those utilities and services which government tries to provide to the inhabitants of an area within its jurisdiction to facilitate and improve their quality of life. It includes all the mandatory services like provision of Electricity, water, education, fuel, town management, environment protection and management, waste management, libraries and a lot other. Online Public Service an effective mean to enhance the efficiency of government department in timely delivery of services using modern modes of information technology i.e. internet.

Since, it a basic demand which people make and expect that their elected Parliament will strive to provide them best public services but in a developing country like Pakistan, public service delivery is often criticized on account of inefficiency of line departments and various bottlenecks which people face to take proper advantage of public services. It creates a lot frustration in general public who find it hard to get benefit from any public service.

With the passage of time and development in IT sector, new and improved modes of public service are being introduced in Pakistan. In this article various developments in the field of Online Public service delivery will be analyzed.

Pakistan is predominantly an agricultural country but the Land Record Management System is quite out dated and is unable to cope with changing circumstances. The basic and most important actor (Govt. Official) in Land Record Management is called Patwari. And whole system is commonly called “Patwari System”. This Land Record Management is heavily criticized on account of its inefficiency and main flaws in this system are given as:

  • Manual Map Making of Lands
  • Manual Record Keeping of Lands
  • Approximate Measurements of lengths and areas of land
  • Payment of heavy bribe to get access to record of Land Holding

Keeping in view the efficiency of this land management system, Government of Punjab has launched “Land Record Management Information System”. The aim of this system is to get rid of centuries old and outdated land management system and to incorporate IT to make system corruption free. According to this system manual paper-based land records are being transformed into computerized data base. Users can see the location and details of their Land Holding online and get further details by paying a minimal fee at the service centers. It is indeed a huge relief for common man who used to pay huge Bribe to get record of his Land Holding. The system is being implemented on priority basis and manual data records of lands are being converted into digital form and online access is being provided to general public. Although this system is currently working on partial basis and land records of few districts have been provided online and will take some time in full functioning. But outcome of this system is getting much praise from general public and good example has been set by government which needs to be adopted in other provinces of Pakistan also.” - Maqsood Amin – AJK, Pakistan


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