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E Government in Pakistan
Challenges & Road Map to Success
The key to E-Government is the establishment of a long-term, organisation-wide strategy to constantly improve operations with view of fulfilling citizen needs by transforming internal operations such as staffing, technology, processes and work flow management.
The establishment of E-Government requires certain state actors to work collectively and accept change in current infra structure. Where E-Government benefits the citizens with ease in their daily life matters, it also creates troubles & sometimes shakes trust on Government system.
In this modern world where developed countries are still facing challenges in implementing E-govt, Pakistan is a growing child and hence have more tendency to failure for the new system. The successful implementation of E-Government will be a major challenge for the new Government to cope with the technology issues, Manage Change in existing system and co-operate with the public expectations.
WHAT IS E GOVERNMENT
According to Stephen Barr, The use of Internet technology and protocols to transform agency effectiveness, efficiency, and service quality.
According to Gartner Group The continuous optimization of service delivery, constituency participation and governance transforming internal and external relationships through technology, the Internet and new media.
E-Government is the public sector’s use of the most innovative information and communication technologies, like the Internet, to deliver to all citizens improved services, reliable information and greater knowledge in order to facilitate access to the governing process and encourage deeper citizen participation. (UNPA &ASPA)
E-Government is the use of ICT to promote more efficient and cost effective government, facilitate more convenient government services, allow greater public access to information and make government more accountable to its citizens.
Ultimately, e-government aims to enhance access to and delivery of government services to benefit citizens. More important, it aims to help strengthen government’s drive toward effective governance and increased transparency to better manage a country’s social and economic resources for development.
WHAT ADVANTAGE DOES E-GOVERNMENT POSE?
Thus, E-Government should result in the efficient and swift delivery of goods and services to citizens, businesses, government employees and agencies. To citizens and businesses, e-government would mean the simplification of procedures and streamlining of the approval process. To government employees and agencies, it would mean the facilitation of cross-agency coordination and collaboration to ensure appropriate and timely decision-making.
TYPES OF SERVICES DELIVERED THROUGH E-GOVERNMENT
The four types of e-government services are
1. Government-to-Citizen (G2C)
2. Government-to-Business (G2B)
3. Government-to-Employee (G2E)
4. Government-to-Government (G2G)
G2C includes information spreading to the public, basic citizen services such as license renewals, ordering of birth/death/marriage certificates and filing of income taxes, as well as citizen assistance for such basic services as health care, education, hospital information, libraries etc.
E-GOVERNMENT IN PAKISTAN
E-Government is recognised internationally as an enabler toward achieving good governance while increasing the ability of citizens and businesses to access public services in an effective and cost efficient manner. Maturity and the decrease in cost of technologies has made E-Government an enabler of choice for developing countries to leapfrog across multiple generations of technology.
The Federal Ministry of IT has been acutely aware of this growing reality and has included E-Government as a priority area in its first National IT Policy and Action Plan, approved by the Federal Cabinet in 2000.
Empowered by the IT Policy, the Ministry of IT set itself the task of breaking the inertia in the E-Government area by implementing and sponsoring projects in those organizations whose will, commitment and ownership towards E-government systems could be won over successfully.
Simultaneously, the Ministry of IT strengthened the capacity not only of its own IT Wing by hiring technical experts as Project Managers, but also by establishing the E-Government Directorate, in October 2002, for generating greater focus on E-Government. The E-Government Directorate currently stands at professional strength of 19 persons.
Since the year 2000, the Ministry has utilized PSDP funds of Rs. 3.68 billion in the IT sector, of which Rs. 281 million have been specifically utilized for e-government projects. E-Government projects already in the implementation pipeline are worth about Rs. 1.5 billion.
CURRENT STATUS OF E-GOVERNMENT DIRECTORATE (EGD) IN PAKISTAN
In the last few years, Ministry of IT and E-Government Directorate have undertaken multiple E-Government projects and currently have many in the pipeline. This section takes stock of the current status of E-Government, including the legislation, policies and actions taken. It also includes a list of projects completed by EGD and Ministry of IT in the Federal Government and specifically the Ministry of IT.
E-GOVERNMENT AND THE NATIONAL IT POLICY
Even though the Telecom Wing existed under the Ministry of communication, there was no Federal Division for IT prior to the year 2000. In March 2000 the IT & Telecom Division was formed within the Ministry of Science and Technology. As the widespread utility of IT has become more and more dependent on Telecom Infrastructure, combining IT with Telecommunication was a significant strategic step. To further enhance the focus on this sector, a separate Ministry of IT was established in the year 2002. The first IT Policy and Action Plan of Pakistan was approved by the Federal Cabinet in the year 2000. The IT Policy paid particular attention to the use of IT in Government.
ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT DIRECTORATE
Prior to the formation of the IT Division an IT Commission existed, which had only one paid member and a small secretariat. All other members, primarily from the private sector and academia, were honorary. As a concrete follow-up step to the IT Policy, in October 2002, the Federal Cabinet approved the conversion of the IT Commission into the E-Government Directorate (EGD). EGD was set up as a cell within the Ministry of IT to focus specifically on E-Government with the following Terms of References
Lead the E-Government Effort in Pakistan
Preparation of standards for software and infrastructure in the field of Electronic Government
Plan and Implement projects under E-Government program
Provide technical support to Federal, Provincial & District agencies
The E-government Directorate has the principal responsibility for bringing about the e-government conversion within the Federal Government, with strong cooperation and promise, necessarily, from the various Federal Government organizations. Subsequently, EGD was further strengthened with the sanction of 4 Business Analysts, a Director (Training), and an Executive Director.
Legislation is a key component in the overall IT Program. The introduction of online transactions and the reengineering of processes require legislation and changes to the rules and regulations. The information society has also created a new set of legal challenges that have to be dealt with by either bringing new legislation or amending the existing laws.
The most elementary legislation is the recognition of electronic transactions. The Government of Pakistan has promulgated the Electronic Transaction Ordinance (ETO) in the year 2002. With the cover of this ordinance the legal system recognises electronic transactions and information stored in electronic form. The Ministry of IT has also completed broad based consultations on the draft of the Electronic Crimes Act, which is to be submitted to the Cabinet later this year. Work is also underway on the Data Protection Act and Electronic Signature Law.
Under the ETO the government has already established an Accreditation Council to accredit the certification authorities that provide security authentication services. For example those authorities that issue Digital Certificates. This Accreditation Council has been notified and the Secretariat has been formed under the National Telecommunication Corporation. The Accreditation Council is in the process of framing its rules and other modalities of operation.
PROJECTS AT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN
Ministry of IT has sponsored several e-government projects. Some of the projects have been implemented by the Ministry of IT or its attached departments, while others have been implemented directly by the target organizations. It is important to note that the Ministry of IT has not only sponsored e-government projects at the Federal level, but also at the Provincial level.
From the start of the fiscal year 2000-2001 through the end of 2003-2004, the Ministry of IT has utilized a PSDP budget of Rs. 4.82 billion out of which a total amount of Rs. 370 million has been utilized for e-government projects. The reason for this low utilization of development funds in the e-government domain has been the lack of adequate capacity on both the “push” and the “pull” side of the technology equation. Since early 2004, the human resources capacity at EGD has been
Increased steadily, and a definite positive correlation has been observed in the form of increase in the number and total value of projects being planned and implemented by EGD.
The Federal Government (May 2005) E-Government Strategy and 5-Year Plan, Pakistan.
This research will address the following questions in order to find a Road Map to Successful implementation of E-Government Services
1. Analysis of the E-Govt Development Strategy in developed & developing countries?
2. Challenges in implementation of E-govt Services?
3. Public expectations in Pakistan?
4. Are we going in the right direction?
5. How literacy rate affects the development process?
Primary data is defined in a free online dictionary as
“A Data that has not been processed in any manner. It often refers to uncompressed text that is not stored in any proprietary format. It may also refer to recently captured data that may have been placed into a database structure, but not yet processed.”
It includes a case study, questionnaires, observations and interviews.
A series of questionnaire will be prepared to figure out the questions as mentioned in the research questions.
The second part of the research will be based on the secondary data. “Secondary research is information and/or data that someone else has previously collected. The type of secondary research could be from books, magazines, journals, and trade newspapers”.
A detailed discussion is in the Literature review section below.
According to (National IT Policy and Action Plan, 2000) E-Government is a relatively new concept in Pakistan. The dawn of new millennium bought the inception of Information Technology Policy called the IT Policy and Action Plan 2000, formally launched on August 18, 2000. This was the first time when Government of
Pakistan embraced the importance of Technology as an important resource to the Economy. Technology was attributed as an important tool for sustainable development.
The core strategies identified were as follows:
1. Human Resource Development: for academically and technically skilled professionals
2. Infrastructure Development: to modernise backbone and local loop access
3. Software Industry Development: to develop local content and quality software to cater to local and international market
4. Hardware Industry Development: to reduce cost of raw materials and input costs
5. Internet: to enable wider access of broadband internet technology and provide universal internet access
6. Incentives: to develop fiscal incentives for the industry by encouraging venture capitalists, banks and financial institutions.
Bélanger and Hiller (2005) have introduced the following framework to categorize Electronic Government in six categorize.
1. Government Delivering Services to Individuals (G2IS)
2. Government to Non-Profit Organisations (G2N)
3. Government to Business in the Marketplace (G2BMKT)
4. Government to Business as a Citizen (G2BC)
5. Government to Employees (G2E)
6. Government to Government (G2G)
Essential measures for successful implementation of the E-Government Strategy
The following measures have been identified as essential to successfully implement the Strategy and 5-Year Plan for E-Government:
1. It is recommended that the Strategy and 5-Year Plan be approved by the Federal Cabinet as an overall framework for the implementation of E-Government in the Federal Government.
2. Setup a committee to submit on a biannual basis recommendations on required revision of Secretariat Instructions, Rules and Regulations.
3. Ensure integration and interoperability by making compliance to EGD Framework standards mandatory for all large IT projects within the Federal Government.
4. Basic IT Training should be made compulsory for all federal government employees of Grade BPS-5 and above. Compliance should be ensured within 12 months while giving cash incentives to successful participants.
5. The Divisions should be given the following targets:
a. A focal point for E-Government at the level of Joint Secretary should be appointed in every Division for the dedicated coordination, program management and ownership of the E-Government program of the respective agency.
b. Every Division is to identify with the help of EGD, within 3 months, 3 high impact processes / e-services for citizens for e-enablement.
c. Ownership is to be established with the focal point to accelerate the Implementation within 24 months for:
i. Federal Government budget application
ii. PSDP management application
iii. Human Resource Management
iv. Electronic Hiring
v. Electronic Procurement
vi. Increase retention of IT professionals on contracts in the Federal Government through lifting time period constraints for contractual employees
vii. Change the status of EGD to one of an attached department of the Ministry of IT to give EGD organizational and financial autonomy while retaining the patronage of the Ministry of IT.
The Federal Government (May 2005) E-Government Strategy And 5-Year Plan, Pakistan.
EU expert (Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko, 2001) concludes that The EU seems to adapt a kind of ‘asymmetric’ IS policy mix in which market oriented measures were given highest priority, and in which aspects of social cohesion and equality were incorporated to ensure critical mass for the economy and e-government. This dual IS policy has been typical of Europe from the very beginning. Usually this duality is expressed in subsequent policy documents by emphasizing that both business and individuals must have easy and inexpensive access to communication infrastructure and a wide range of services. Because of this very tone, European ‘citizens’ are usually referred to as workers who should learn new skills and become more efficient and effective in their work, or consumers or service users fulfilling their duties in consuming multimedia products and using electronic services effectively, and thus creating critical mass for market-driven IS development.
Jaeger and Thompson (2003) assert that an e-government system would fail if the government did not take an active role in educating citizens about the value of e-government. E-government would also fail if the users did not have the ability to use the technology to enable access of useful information and services. This would lead to a low user base, as the system would not be equally accessible by all citizens.
Jaeger & Thompson, 2004 for e-government to succeed in a developing country, it is first required to put the necessary technological infrastructure in place, so that all citizens can have equal access.
According to Heeks (2003) who has done a substantial amount of research in the subject area, most implementations of e-government in developing countries fail, with 35 percent being classified as total failures (e-government was not implemented or was implemented but immediately abandoned), and 50 percent as partial failures (major goals were not attained and/or there were undesirable outcomes).
According to a report published by (Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, 2006) the past three years have witnessed landmark developments in the field of telecommunications in Pakistan. Since the government deregulated the sector in 2004, a large amount investment flowed in, thereby aiding the development of the much needed technology infrastructure. The sector attracted approximately US$ 2 Billion in foreign and local investment, translating into 54% of the total Foreign Direct Investment in the country This investment has resulted in increasing the cellular subscriber base to 48.5 million and the fixed line / Wireless Local Loop subscriber base to about 5.6 million lines, ensuring service to 33% of the population and geographic coverage in over 1250 cities and towns by the end of 2006.
Grönlund, Åke (2002) Electronic Government : Design, Applications And Management, Idea Group Publishing, UK.
The Federal Government (May 2005) E-Government Strategy And 5-Year Plan, Pakistan.
Carter, L. & Bélanger, F. (2005). The utilization of e-government services: citizen trust, innovation and acceptance factors, Information Systems Journal, Blackwell Publishing.
E-Government Strategy and 5-Year Plan for the Federal Government Available at pportal.punjab.gov.pk/portal/docimages/14240Action_Plan.pdf,
Accessed [August 05, 2009]
Krishna, S. and Walsham, G. (2005) Implementing Public Information Systems in Developing Countries: LearningFrom a Success Story, Information Technology for Development, Vol. 11 (2), pp. 123-140.
Ndou, V.D. (2004) E-Government for Developing Countries: Opportunities and Challenges, Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries
18, 1, pp. 1-24.
PCO, 2006, ‘Pakistan at a Glance’, Pakistan Census Organization, Government of Pakistan, Available at http://www.statpak.gov.pk/depts/pco/index.html,
Accessed[August 05, 2009]
PTA, 2006, Annual Report 2006, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), pp 14, Islamabad
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