We are living in an era of digitization thus moving towards a digital government. The use of ICT in public-administration is beneficial and it is not mere a coincidence that the top 10 countries in e-government implementation (according to UN E-Government Survey 2016) are flourishing democracies. There has been a sharp rise in the number of countries using e-government to provide public services online through one stop-platform. According to the 2016 survey, 90 countries now offer one or more single entry portal on public information or online services, or both and 148 countries provide at-least one form of online transaction services. More and more countries are making efforts through e-government to ensure and increase inclusiveness, effectiveness, accountability and transparency in their public institutions. Across the globe, data for public information and security is being opened up. The 2016 survey shows that 128 countries now provide data-sets on government spending in machine readable formats. E-government and innovation seems to have provided significant opportunities to transform public administration into an instrument of sustainable development. The governments around the globe are rapidly transforming. The use of information and communication technology in public administration – combined with organizational change and new skills- seems to be improving public services and democratic processes and strengthening support to public policies. There has been an increased effort to utilize advanced electronic and mobile services that benefits all. Fixed and wireless broadband subscriptions have increased unevenly across regions, with Europe leading, but Africa still lagging behind. We have to focus on these substantial region disparities and growing divide. All countries agreed, in SDG 9, that a major effort is required to ensure universal access to internet in the least developed countries. The rise of Social media and its easy access seems to have enabled an increasing number of countries moving towards participatory decision making, in which developed European countries are among the top 50 performers. But, the issues of diminishing collective thinking and rising Individual thinking are some rising issues that we will have to deal with in the future. There are more sensitive issues like the new classification of citizens into literate-illiterate, e-literate and e-illiterate, that the governments need to look upon. It is a good sign that many developing countries are making good progress. Enhanced e-participation can support the realization of the SDGs by enabling more participatory decision making, but the success of e-government will ultimately depend upon our ability and capability to solve the contrasting issues raised due to this transition with sensitivity.
In this issue of SOCRATES we have discussed, this new era of Digital Government. We have focused on what we have learned from the past and the future we want. From discussions on the role of e-governance within the local government settings in a modern democratic state to the experience of an academia with online examination, we have tried to include every possible aspect of e-government.
Paper authored by Dr. Hoff Maarten, aims to outline the role of e-governance within the setting of a local government in a modern democratic state. It is agreed that a local governmental organization needs to be fit for the purpose of serving its citizens. Fits can be tested both through universally acknowledged principles, and drivers that suit modern on-demand organizations.
Paper authored by Mr. Alsaeed Abraheem and Dr. Carl, proposes a conceptual framework which captures the main factors (both enablers and barriers) influence and contributes toward a successful implementation of eServices in countries that have unstable status. The paper draws upon Osborn and Gaebler’s work, ‘reinventing government’, which identifies 10 principles of government transformation. This is used to examine eGov examples in the case of Syria along with previous work covering barriers and enablers to eGov activities within countries that have unstable status. The resulting derived conceptual framework provides a base to understand eGov activity for nations going through geopolitical uncertainty.
Paper authored by Mr. Saurabh Chandra highlights the initiatives taken by the Governments in India at various levels to modernise their processes and functions for delivery of information and services to the citizens, using the Information and Communication technology [ICT]. It also highlights E-Government uptake in different parts of the world, highlighting its need in India, as in developing countries like India, there is no comprehensive data on actual e-government uptake on a global scale.
Paper authored by Mr. Peter Asare-Nuamah and Mr. Darko Emmanuel Agyepong highlights the various legal policies and framework that support e-governance in Ghana as well as the challenges of implementing e-governance initiatives. The findings of the study indicate that several polices and frameworks support e-governance in Ghana but their implementations are burdened with social, cultural, political and legal constraints. The study provides some recommendations that are necessary to tackle the challenges of e-governance implementation.
Paper authored by Mr. Ojo Patrick highlights battling sub-Saharan African countries. The perspective in this paper is that the emergence of democratic governments in this region occurred through lopsided process which impacts on their governance structures. Consequently, the institutionalization of liberal democracy has been omitted; the absence of which creates gaps between aspiration for and struggle by African people for democracy on the one hand, and the actual performance of democratic governments on the other hand. The paper identifies structural deficiencies in the current pattern of governance as the political missing link in the value chain between democracy and development in the region. The paper recommends e-governance; an administrative process that guarantees good governance through accountability and transparency, as the necessary connecting link and panacea to bridging the observable existing gaps.
Paper authored by Dr. Nandita Kaushal highlights the Plausibility of E-Governance as a Public Service Delivery Mechanism in India. It argues that there is no doubt, wherever e-governance projects have been conceived, designed and implemented with due regard to the needs of the people there positive outcomes have been visible. However, it has to be acknowledged that most of the projects are facing multiple challenges which are reducing their success rate. It recommends serious consideration to all the issues which are hampering their efficiency. At the same time it suggests measures that must be taken up to maintain the human face of these initiatives.
Paper authored by Dr. Inderjeet Singh Sodhi reviews the achievements and progress of e-government in India. The paper briefly discusses various e-government projects in India. The purpose of the paper is to delve into policy and issue of the government of India in making e-government accessible to the common person. It briefly identifies the strategic issues for achievement of e-government. This paper derives a list of key strategic factors that are appropriate for planning, designing, development and implementation of e-government. The paper identifies the range of diverse problems, challenges and barriers planners and developers must face as they work in the e-government projects. The paper discusses prospects and future of e-government in India. The paper highlights the role of government to develop richer and deeper understanding of e-government.
Paper authored by Ms. Shreyasi Ghosh attempts to trace the essence of e-government in the modern era of Indian Public Administration today as another new paradigm shift is in the offspring and slowly becoming distinct from the amorphous shape of Public Administration in the Indian context with the ICT-blessed governance, or e-Governance.
Paper authored by Ms. Stuti Saxena probes the OGD platform using a qualitative and quantitative lens. This paper shows that OGD usage is popular among the end-users in terms of the number of views and downloads of the datasets. Future research might undertake the empirical investigation of the research hypotheses advanced in the paper.
Paper authored by Dr. Jyotirmoy W. Singh is developed by a contributor who has been a national and International online examiner for past six or more years. This paper is based on his experience. It seeks to compare the traditional mode of examination with that of the online examination in citing the mode of High School Leaving Examination of Board of Secondary Education Manipur and International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) examination as case studies. I wish scholars and potential readers will find this issue useful. We will bring more special issues focused on e-government and other various dimensions of governance in the near future.
Prof. Manoj Dixit
Professor and Head
Department of Public Administration, University of Lucknow, Lucknow, India