Thursday, January 20, 2005

E-government is simply providing better services to the public using electronic means. By adding a layer between the government and the public, e-government can provide quality services that reach the maximum possible people. Have a look at the elementary model below that explains the concept of e-government.



The e-government layer in the preceding model could provide the benefits depicted in the model below:



The scope of e-government, initiated in October of 2002, is very vast. Around Rs.300 million were spent during the past year alone by the Sindh government on implementing various projects that would eventually lead to the realization of e-governance in Pakistan. The steps that I suggest are depicted below:



The first step is to create an awareness in the system. Arousing curiosity and confidence is mandatory for acceptance. We then move on to automation leading to the paper-less government office. The third step involves the delivery of information, downloadable forms, etc. All these steps have already been performed by the government and are represented with green numbers.

The steps represented by yellow numbers are being worked out, which are redundant in my opinion. More precisely, stage 4 is where the focus of our attention is at the moment. However, this focus is highly unfocused.

Why?

Stage 4 is where the e-governance would start to process transactions. For example, a citizen could apply for a passport online. However, such transactions require faith and confidence in the system, which is attainable only through mass awareness campaigns. Hence, stage 4 is closely linked to stage 1. Therefore, efforts should be made to create awareness before more money is spent on stage 4. It must also be remembered that formal education is not what would be needed to create confidence in e-government. The cost makes formal education beyond the reach of the majority in Pakistan. Hence, a cheap mode must be used to create awareness about the electronic system.

Have a look at Stages 6 and 7. Note that it is important that effective delivery must precede efficient delivery. Right must precede Timely to create confidence in the system.



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