E-government: Theory and Practice

Structure of the Presentation  Introduction  Rationale for E-government  E-government in B’desh  E-government in B’desh: State of the Art  Major Obstacle  Concluding Remarks

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 Introduction

With the advent of globalization and simultaneous Information & Communication Technology (ICT) revolution throughout the World, a unique concept of electronic government (e-government) emerged and has become
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a popular concept in the field of public administration in the late 1990s (Moon: 2002). Until today, various technologies have been applied to support the unique haracteristics of e-government, including electronic data interchange, interactive voice response, voice mail, email, web service delivery, virtual reality, and key public infrastructure.
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 It is argued that e-Government must be a

shared vision. Countries must encourage the stakeholders—government and nongovernment—to participate in defining the vision. If the public and private sectors are consulted only after e-Government plans have been developed and implementation has begun, e-Government programmes risk being underused or even irrelevant.

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 To ensure that public and stakeholders

are partners in e-Government effort, it is important to try to build trust in government. Lack of trust by the public can lead to the failure of or serious delay in e-Government initiatives.

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 What is an E-government?

E-Government can be seen as “application of information and communication technology to enhance the productivity of legislature, judiciary and administration.” Egovernment helps making the government and government services available to the citizens on line.
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Various Stages of E-government (primary delivery models) —
 G2C: Government-to-Citizen-

interactions between government and private individuals G2B: Government-to-Businessinteractions between government and the commercial business sector G2G: Govt.-to-Govt.-interactions among government bodies/agencies
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 Why E-government?

E-government is about transformation and here technology is a tool. There are too many possible reasons and goals for e-government (World Bank, 2005) such as Improving services to citizens  Improving the efficiency of government

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 Strengthening the legal system and law


 Promoting priority economic sectors  Improving the quality of life for

disadvantaged communities

 Strengthening good governance  Broadening public participation
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 Boosting efficiency and streamlining

government processes  Provision of quality services tailored to the needs of the citizen and businesses  Significantly increase the quality of public services  Increase the transparency of public administrations, and  thus fight corruption and encourage better implementation of public policies
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Three Phases of e-Government
 Phase 1: Informational–Provides

Access to Government Information to Citizens Government generates huge volumes of information, much of it potentially useful to individuals and businesses.

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 The Internet and other advanced

communications technologies can bring this information quickly and more directly to citizens. Informational sites seek to disseminate information about government and information compiled by government to as wide an audience as possible. In doing so, informational sites serve as the leading edge of eGovernment.

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“Informational” implementations of eGovernment diverge widely in their design and content, but Bangladesh generally can start the process of e-Government by publishing government information online, beginning with rules and regulations, documents, and forms.

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 Thus enabling citizens and businesses to

readily access government information without having to travel to government offices, stand in long lines or unfair activities can be a revolutionary advance for us.

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Phase 2: Interactive – Provides Online Interaction
 E-Government has the potential to involve

citizens in the governance process by engaging them in interaction with policymakers throughout the policy cycle and at all levels of government. Strengthening civic engagement contributes to building public trust in government.
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 Interactive e-Government involves two-

way communications, starting with basic functions like email contact information for government officials or feedback forms that allow users to submit comments on legislative or policy proposals

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 This phase of e-Government may also

include the creation of citizen/government forums, and such forums constitute online communities where people can exchange ideas, broaden public awareness of issues, and establish new opportunities for activism not constrained by distance.

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Phase 3-Transactional: Provides Secure Transactions with High Level of Authorization

A transactional website offers a direct link to government services, available at any time. Government services such as land registration or the renewal of Passport requires long waits, confrontation with bureaucracy and the occasional unfair activities. Innovations such as citizen centric information center (kiosks) or portable government computers that can be carried into rural pockets of Bangladesh may bring e-Government directly to the rural community.

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 One of the biggest incentives for the

Government in utilizing and providing ICT services is to streamline currently bureaucratic and labor-intensive procedures, which can save money and increase productivity in the long-run. Furthermore, by automating and revamping procedures and processes, especially in revenue-generating areas such as tax and fine collection, governments hope to stem corruption and graft, improving revenues while elevating trust in government at the same time. August 26, 2009 20

 Transactional sites can enhance

productivity in both the public and private sector by making processes that require government assistance or approval simpler, faster, and cheaper. But because these are several steps (and in some cases, a quantum leap) above “publish” sites, governments need to be aware that implementation will neither be simple nor cheap. Consequently, transactional sites may require significant changes in the country’s legal framework and government workforce. August 26, 2009 21

Phase 4-Tranformational: All information systems are integrated  In the transformational phase , all information systems are integrated and the public can get services at one virtual counter. One single point of contact for all services is the ultimate goal. The complex aspect in reaching this goal is mainly on the internal side e.g. the necessity to drastically change the culture, processess mind set and responisibilities with the government institutions
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  

The goal structure has an extraordinary complexity. Public agencies are not spurred by competition; on the other hand they have to serve everybody. Legal norms are dominant; consensus building and negotiation are supplementary mode of work:

Intrinsic Features Slow Progress

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 A high fragmentation of the

Public Sector. In contrary to the private field a big number of actors gets involved.  Administrative culture and historically grown structures may impede change.  Inertial forces are reinforced by bureaucratic attitudes.

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 The Broad Focus: Zones of Regard
Grossly, governance can be seen covering three zones.  Inner: The machinery of government – the administration  Middle: The policy cycle  Outer: The shifting balance of public and private; also the role of new actors (intermediaries, NGOs) and new means (PPPs)

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 The Policy Cycle

The whole policy cycle is regarded: agenda setting, policy analysis, formulation, implementation and evaluation. So governance takes a broader view on modernisation of administrations including their environment as well.

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 There is also an ideological component

according to Lenk. One is a co-evolution of public governance and eTransformation another the stimulation by the corporate governance discussion.  In some way ideas from the Sixties are recalled (e.g. political cybernetics with Luhmann etc).  There is an actual interest on policy spurred by rankings.
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 e-Participation and e-Voting

Taking governance serious leads to eDemocracy. It intends to improve democratic decision making by stressing citizen participation.

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 Also public information (often via client

self-service) has become increasingly common in the public sector and has made information available.  This leads to more insights into how government works (and fosters transparency).

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Democratic processes improving the interaction between individuals and organizations are evolving. e-Participation means assisting democratic deliberation with IT.

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 Multiform

are technical ways: establishing mailing lists, building fora, blogging, videoconferences, etc.  There are also numerous projects on eVoting – yet restricted mainly to bodies of a lesser sensitivity (student association, working groups etc) Cf. later foil on IDmanagement.

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Thus e-Inclusion is key. It starts with possibility of access: some initiatives install free internet access in public buildings.  Examples are post offices in France, parish churches in Portugal and tobacco shops in Austria.  Policies has to go in two directions, counterbalancing deficiencies and starting promotions for special groups.  Special promotions concentrating on individual groups of addressees: rural areas, traditionally under-served communities, the young in August 26, 2009 disadvantaged districts, ethnic minorities,


 Access in Rural Areas
Access in rural areas is a high priority.  It is a special topic in developing countries.  The availability of physical access to internet and cost therefore are big obstacles.  An example is a proposed project in Botswana on Community User Information System kiosks that empower August 26, 2009 35 people in rural areas.

In e­Government the legal modelling grows in  importance  ­ for some applications it even becomes a  must.   One argument for the growing importance is based in  the domain itself; the quasi ubiquity of legal norms,  the quantity of rules, the diversity of regulations in  various realms, such as international, European,  national and local.   Another basic reason is in semantic interoperability.  It becomes necessary that data carry along their  specific legal­administrative context.   A third point is the use for drafting regulations. Here  August 26, 2009 36 the POWER project is a good example. Several issues 

Legal Modelling Assisting  Legislation

Identity Management
In administrative matters an e-identity is needed in most transactions.  Differences in urgency appear between sectors: wrong passports may be more severe than a credit card misuse.  Applications comprise different areas with different importance and sensitivity.  An annotation: privacy regulations claim for separated domains.  E.g. some city cards are less sensitive – also tax declaration that often are managed by a password only solutions. August 26, 2009 37

    

Applications comprise different areas with different importance and sensitivity. e-Identity for passports and visa and e-Voting are particular sensitive realms. For theses applications technical problems are rather high. For e-Voting it is the demand on anonymity is extreme. For passports and visa further requests come in: e.g. a broad reading capability (in several countries); durability and validity; lamination of chips on paper.

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Service Orientation and Process Rebuilding

It starts with thinking in service categories; then understanding the nature of an administrative process is essential; later rebuilding comes in. Rebuilding has to integrate divers demands from citizens, businesses and public authorities.

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 Processes in Government are very

particular, often they cut across different government levels – local, regional or national - and different types of agencies  Cooperation joins up different branches and levels needing close and pertinent contact among all actors involved.  Public administrations work via a complex tissue of cooperation involving quite many acting entities.
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 A restructuring of administrative processes

needs a broad perspective including vertical and horizontal cooperation as well as external partners.  BPR in administrations has its limitations with  particular functions of actors and boundaries  involved.  Ensuring procedures are bound to the rules of  law.   Protecting the rights of citizens.  August 26, 2009 41  Safeguarding privacy and legal validity. 

 E-government in Bangladesh: State of the Art

In an effort to determine the extent of the global e-government landscape, in 2003, the United Nations Division for Public Economics and Public Administration (UNDPEPA) and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) conducted a study of the approaches, progress, and commitment of the 190 United Nations member states in adopting egovernment.
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The study tried to determine each country's egovernment environment and its capacity to sustain on-line development through a comparative analysis of fundamental information technology indicators and critical human capital measures for each U.N. member state.It attempted to examine a country's official on-line presence, evaluates its telecommunications infrastructure, and assesses its human development capacity.
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The index identifies, underscores, and weighs the importance of the requisite conditions that enable a country to sustain an e-government environment thus ensuring that every segment of its population has unconstrained access to timely, useful, and relevant information and services.
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The UNDPEPA/ASPA survey (2003) found that
Number and % countries 21 countries (11%) 32 countries (16.8%) 65 countries (34.2%) 55 countries (29%) 17 countries (9%)
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E-government status No E-government at all Emerging E-government Enhanced Egovernment Interactive Egovernment Transactional Egovernment

The survey placed Bangladesh (0.90) among the countries with a "deficient e-government capacity" where egovernment registers a low priority on the policy agenda.

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 However, in 2004 government has declared ICT as

the “thrust sector”. Since then, public spedning on E-government is on the rise compared to earlier period.

Govt. spending on E-government (In Crore Tk.)

2003 2004 2005 2006
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60 130 170 300

In the current year, all 64 districts administration and 300 out of 460 Upazilas are connected to the sub-marine cable. Government has recently earmarked 4% of each Ministry’s total budget which is to be spent on ICT/E-government initiatives each year and suggested that this would go on until 2015. Additional Tk. 200 crores have been allocated to the entprepreneurs investing in ICT related activites.
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Much of this money is generated from foreign aid and the donors are also funding the training programmes for the government officials to make them familiar with the E-government process.

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At present, Bangladesh has one official government homepage (www.bangladeshgov.org) and some official websites for government agencies, such as the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (www.cagbd.org), Ministry of Finance (www.gobfinance.org), Bangladesh Bank (www.bangladesh-bank.org), National Board of Revenue (www.nbr-bd.org), and the Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology (www.mostbd.org) that offer statistical information to the user.
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The country's parliament--the Jatiya Sangsad--also has a web entity. Thus far, five ministries and thirty-seven government agencies have their own websites which represent less than 7% percent of the total government, and no website provides the facility to access or search in-depth information about a specific topic (Government of Bangladesh, 2006).
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In spite of Government’s pledges, there is no recognized IT cell/department in government agencies to supervise websites yet. There also has been no attempt to update existing websites with up-to-date information regularly. Almost every government agency website contains obsolete information, giving a negative impression of the country. Thus far, no website provides the facility to access or search in-depth information about a specific topic or official document.
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Among the more progressive authorities within the government, the National Board of Revenue is perhaps more advanced than others. It has undertaken a program to link customhouses through an on-line networking system.

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ICT has made global trade transactions easier, cheaper, and quicker, but the business community of Bangladesh is still reluctant to pursue electronic trade because existing laws accept only paper documents, signatures, and checks to verify business activity. As global trade is increasingly dependent on electronic forms, Bangladesh urgently needs a proper law to facilitate electronic commerce and eliminate barriers. Singapore enacted the Electronic Transactions Act of 1998, and India enacted the Information Technology Act of 2000. In Bangladesh, however, a similar law is still at the draft stage.
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Besides, key factors such as the status of a country's telecommunications infrastructure, the strength of its human capital, the political will and commitment of its national leadership, and shifting administrative priorities influence how decision makers, policy planners, and public sector managers elect to approach, develop, and implement e-government programs. At present, Bangladesh lacks many of the factors necessary to establish e-government.
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