By Rajesh Kumar Shakya, Ph.D. Student (Capella University)
E-government (electronic government) refers to the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to provide the government services to citizens with the enhanced efficiency, accountability, and transparency through cross-cutting e-governance across the whole government machinery. Governments around the world have taken up e-government initiations with different goals which may include few of the following:
- Standardizing and streamlining the public administration across the government agencies
- Make available government services to citizens covering wider and diverse geography
- Reduce transaction cost in government transactions
- Enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability on government transactions
Governments give priority to some goals over others, sometimes in-line with the national programs, most of the times just to follow the trend without any plans and preparations. Are these goals ever achieved? Were these goals rightly chosen for the national development? Is it demand of time and so the demand of the citizens? Are these governments committed to transform the aspirations into the results? How will governments fulfill the changing demands of the citizens and keep up with the ever changing technology? Is the perception of e-government same in developing and developed world?
Translating e-governance vision into reality has always been challenging. Challenges posed by e-government come together with challenges of technical readiness and ICT efficacy, administrative and managerial maturity and cultural and trust factors. Needs and challenges in developing and developed world are not same. Arrangements for e-government and its adoption level and context may be different. The solution and approach of implementation also widely varied country to country. Thus, e-government takes different shapes adapted to different circumstances. There is no single prescription for all governments for the successful implementation and adaptation of e-government. But a lot of lessons can be learned from the implementation experiences around the world, technological and management trends for the success of e-government. Instead of just following the trends, if the governments choose to orchestrate the e-government plan and programs based on the country context, the aspirations of the citizens, government and the demand of our time may surely be fulfilled.
[Rajesh Kumar Shakya is the practitioner e-Government and e-Government Procurement Consultant for different governments in Asia, Europe, and Africa. More issues, aspects, and practices in e-government around the world will be discussed in his future posts.]