ICT in brief and pragmatic application of E-Governance in Singapore


[dropcap font=”0″]I[/dropcap]T was a soft cool winter morning at Yangon International Airport on Monday 12 January 2015.
I and my better-half flew from Yangon to Singa  pore on MAI flight 8M 231 to stay for a month with our loving daughter who is working in Singapore.
The running of the international airline really did not radically change until 2010 when the KBZ group acquired an 80% share of MAI bringing in a new era of the sector and route changes. Since then, MAI has been expanding its fleet and currently the flag carrier has a total of 5 Airbus A320s and 2 Airbus A319s. It also leased Airbus A321s from Air Méditerranée in the winter of 2010-2011 and deployed them on Bangkok-Singapore services. Non-hub routes between Bangkok-Singapore and Siem Reap-Phnom Penh were successfully inaugurated in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
In 2013, MAI received IOSA certificate, the only recipient in Myanmar of the IATA Operational Safety Audit Program (IOSA) Operator. In 2014, MAI is the complete member of Kanbawza (KBZ) Group. With the KBZ group acquiring 100% of MAI the future of the airline is definitely optimistic and encouraging.
The main purpose of our visit to Singapore is to have fun with our grandchildren from Campbelltown of New South Wales in Australia, as our son and family are visiting Singapore during the kids’ school holidays.
Since my retirement from the government service in 2003, I have engaged myself in working as Freelance Consultant, writing some booklets on “English for You” series for students and junior staff members and contributing English articles for the Global New Light of Myanmar English dailies. I have the pleasure and honor in writing English articles.
Since my arrival in Singapore, I have written two English articles entitled [Significant features of “Singapore Expo” and “John Little Mega Expo Sale” in Singapore: January 2015] and [National University of Singapore: A University stands and shines top in Asia] in the Global New Light of Myanmar in January 2015.
Over the years back in Yangon, we the pensioners and like-minded persons were usually sitting at local tea stall in our neighborhood on Sunday evening for a round of “Sunday Evening Talk”. We discussed on random light topics with positive attitudes. Ironically, there were times that we talked about E-Government without knowing the subject exactly or its pragmatic application.
Short news reports were printed in our local newspapers and journals, but we are not aware of its efficacy and value for the country that employs e-governance.
One morning while in Singapore, my daughter told me and my better-half that Singapore is one of the top countries in the application of e-governance at the breakfast table over a plate of homemade fried rice and a cup of coffee.
The topic attracted me strongly and I felt an urge to write an article. Therefore, I searched some relevant information of ICT and E- Government.
In the ADB reports October 2014 issue number 61; Knowledge Showcases section had presented an article entitled “Quickening e-governance in Myanmar”.
The report goes as follows.
Emerging in 2011 from decades of isolation, Myanmar is undergoing an economic, social, and political renovation. With a young population, fertile lands, a plentiful endowment of natural resources, and a strategic location in Southeast Asia, its government can lay the foundations for a prosperous future. The economic agenda is ambitious with immediate focus on growth and poverty reduction.
Notwithstanding fast progress, however, much remains in the areas of macroeconomic policy, trade, investment, and small- and medium-sized enterprise development to complete the transition to a market economy.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) reengaged Myanmar in 2012. Understandably, it targets for (a) inclusive growth, access and connectivity, and (b) human and institutional capacities. The third thrust is to enhance systemic development in core sectors, which underpins the first two. Moreover, a skilled workforce is necessary for sustained growth and poverty reduction.
Information and communication technology (ICT) powers new value chains and impacts entire industries. In view of that, the Ministry of Science and Technology is implementing an ICT master plan covering 2011–2015. This is the country’s second such plan following that of 2005–2010, which helped raise Myanmar’s telephone density from 1% to 5.4% only. It is still very low, two-thirds of which from mobile lines.
The latest plan addresses much the same five areas as the first scheme such as (1) ICT infrastructure, (2) ICT industry, (3) ICT human resource development, (4) e-education, and (5) ICT legislation. But, a key ingredient is missing. That is only 8,000–10,000 students graduate in computing-related degrees each year. Ways must be found to boost this number, just as the education system must be reformed to equip Myanmar’s workforce with the ICT skills needed in the emerging global knowledge-based economy.
Toward this, persistent gaps in access, quality and relevance, and system efficiency in ICT academic institutions must be addressed.
At this juncture, the author of this article searched some simple explanation on the e-government on the Google search machine with a view to simplify the ICT terms. There are many new terms in connection with the e-governance that are not familiar with the general public. The explanations are found as follows.
E-government is also known as electronic government, e-gov, Internet government, digital government, online government, or connected government. It consists of the digital interactions between a citizen and their government (C2G), between governments and government agencies (G2G), between government and citizens (G2C), between government and employees (G2E), and between government and businesses/commerce (G2B). Essentially, e-government delivery models can be briefly summed up as follows.
•    G2G (government to governments)
•    G2C (government to citizens)
•    G2E (government to employees)
•    G2B (government to businesses)
This digital interaction consists of e-citizens at all levels of government (city, state/province, national, and international), governance, information and communication technology (ICT), and business process re-engineering (BPR).
Defining about E-Government
E-Gov Strategies or Digital Government is defined as “The employment of the Internet and the world-wide-web (www) for delivering government information and services to the citizens.”
Electronic Government or e-Government essentially refers to “The utilization of Information Technology (IT), Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and other web-based telecommunication technologies to improve and/or enhance on the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery in the public sector.” In other words, e-Government promotes and improves broad stakeholders’ contribution to national and community development, as well as deepens the governance process.
UN e-Government Development Index
The United Nations Public Administration Network conducts a bi-annual e-Government survey which includes a section titled “e-Government Readiness”. It is a comparative ranking of the countries of the world according to two primary indicators: (a) the state of e-government readiness; and (b) the extent of e-participation. Constructing a model for the measurement of digitized services, the Survey assesses the 193 member states of the UN according to a quantitative composite index of e-government readiness based on website assessment; telecommunication infrastructure and human resource endowment.
Top 50 countries that have been ranked according to the UN’s 2014 e-Government Development Index is as follows.
South Korea stands top with index 0.9462; followed by Australia with index 0.9103; and Singapore comes out third with index 0.9076.
Kuwait stands out at 49 slot with index 0.6268 and Colombia at 50 with index 0.6173.
As Singapore has taken up the third slot in the index, the writer of this article looked into the condition of e-government in that country.
Ministry of Finance as the e-Government Owner
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) in Singapore is the e-Government owner. As the owner, MOF sets the policy direction on use of ICT in Government, champions and provides funding for whole-of-government programs and projects.
Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore as the Government CIO
Working closely with MOF, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is acting as the Chief Information Officer for the Government.
[Note: The term Info communications, or in short form, Infocomm or Infocomm(s) first emerged in the beginning of eighties at scientific conferences and then was gradually adopted in the 1990s by the players of telecommunications sector, including manufacturers, service providers, regulatory authorities and international organizations to clearly express their participation in the convergence process of the telecommunications and information technology sectors].
IDA provides technical advice and recommendations, master planning and project management services to MOF and other government agencies in the implementation and management of e-government programs.
IDA also plays a key role in defining government-wide ICT policies, standards and procedures and conceptualizing and managing whole-of-government projects.
Mr. Chan Cheow Hoe, Assistant Chief Executive (Government Chief Information Office) of IDA, currently holds the position of the Government CIO of Singapore. He champions and oversees whole-of-government ICT initiatives to maintain Singapore Government’s leadership position as an innovative user of infocomm technologies to provide public services; and to co-create and connect with its people. This includes “eGov2015 masterplan” and sectoral infocomm initiatives to support the transformation of the education, financial, tourism, trade, healthcare sectors.
Agency CIOs
Every government agency also appoints agency CIOs who are responsible for agency-specific infocomm technologies, infrastructure and services within their own organizations. Agency CIOs assist Permanent Secretaries of Ministries, Heads of Organs of State and Chief Executive Officers of Statutory Boards to oversee the following.
•    Articulate the organization’s vision in the exploitation of ICT;
•    Align ICT policies, standards, projects, systems and infrastructure with those of the central authority, to meet business needs and priorities;
•    Provide leadership in the planning and prioritization of IT initiatives, in alignment with the “eGov2015 Masterplan”;
•    Ensure appropriate management attention, manpower and monetary resources are given to implement infocomm technology initiatives.
Introduction of Singapore e-governance
In line with the “eGov Masterplans” over the past three decades, various e-Government programs have been or will be launched to realize Singapore visions.
These programs will cater to the needs of one or more groups of users including Citizens, Businesses and Government.
A number of such programs capitalize on the strong leadership of the “eGov Council”, the highest approving authority for e-Government in Singapore, to enable a whole-of-government transformation in ICT to realize greater integration and efficiency across government agencies.
Separately, government agencies also embark on developing their own e-Government initiatives, and this flexibility allows agencies to meet the different needs of their customers. These initiatives are also aligned with the vision and thrusts of “eGov Masterplans”.
The section describes some of the main programs that are ongoing in implementation or have been launched. Some programs have undergone revamp and enhancement. They are grouped according to user groups (Citizen, Business and Government). Program information can also be found under each “eGov Masterplan”.
Latest Program in Singapore
“OneInbox”: OneInbox is a one-stop official and trusted platform for citizens and businesses to receive electronic correspondences from the Government, in place of hardcopy letters.
“data.gov.sg” provides easy discovery of and access to publicly-available government datasets.
[email protected]”: [email protected] is a one-stop mobile site that allows individuals and businesses to easily search for, identify, and access services provided by the Government.
Program for citizens (e-Government 2015)
(1)    “data.gov.sg” provides easy discovery of and access to publicly-available government datasets.
(2)    “OneInbox” is a one-stop official and trusted platform for individuals and businesses to receive electronic correspondences from the Government, in place of hardcopy letters.
(3)    To bring about sustainable improvements in the quality of government websites.
Program for citizens (e-Government 2010)
(1)    Charity Portal: To improve transparency within the charity sector as well as deliver efficient services for charities and donors.
(2)    E-Visitors: The e-Visitor program is an innovative program that consists of a spectrum of e-services with streamlined processes to make it more convenient for foreigners to visit and stay in Singapore.
(3)    Enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS): Increase the efficiency of citizens clearing immigration.
Programs for Businesses (iGov 2010)
(1)    “OneMap” is the first major application of the Singapore Geospatial Collaborative Environment (SG-SPACE) initiative.
(2)    UEN (Unique Entity Number): A common means of identifying establishments across public sector agencies. It will thus facilitating the effective sharing of basic non-confidential information on establishments across public sector agencies to enable the delivery of better and more personalized services.
Programs for Government (eGov 2015)
(1)    Cloud Computing for Government: The Government Cloud (G-Cloud) provides a resilient and secure ICT shared environment that allows government agencies to procure computing resources on-demand, with greater ease and speed.
(2)    Cube: Cube is a collaborative social-networking platform for public officers to exchange ideas, share knowledge and work together in a virtual Whole-of-Government space.
(3)    Whole-of-Government Enterprise Architecture (WoG EA):  The program aims to establish a federated view of all government agencies’ enterprise architectures to optimize government ICT assets for greater cost savings or avoidance.
Programs for Government (eGov 2010)
(1)    Standard Operating Environment: To better harness the power of “infocomm technology” for Government by creating a standardized environment for all public officers.
Program Index in Singapore
Programs for Government
•     Cloud Computing for Government
•     Cube
•    Government Web Services Exchange
•    Infocomm Security Masterplan
•    Knowledge Management
•    Public Service Infrastructure
•    Singapore Government Enterprise Architecture (SGEA)
•    Standard Operating Environment (SOE)
•    Web Services
•    Whole-Of-Government Enterprise Architecture (WoG EA)
•    Workplace of the Future
Media Releases in Singapore
14 November 2013
Outstanding ICT Companies Recognized for their Innovations at the ASEAN ICT Awards 2013
Eighteen Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies across ASEAN countries were lauded for their innovations at the second ASEAN ICT Awards (AICTA) ceremony held this evening. Six of them were also crowned Gold recipients in their categories, further raising the bar of innovation, excellence and creativity.
17 June 2013
More Government Data to be Made Available to Spur Social Innovation and Create Greater Public Value
More government data to be made available to spur social innovation and create greater public value.
30 April 2013
e-Government Excellence Awards
Media release for the Government Excellence Awards 2013
Advantages in the pragmatic application of e-governance in other countries
The ultimate goal of the e-government is to be able to offer an increased portfolio of public services to citizens in an efficient and cost effective manner. E-government allows for government transparency. Government transparency is important because it allows the public to be informed about what the government is working on as well as the policies they are trying to implement. Simple tasks may be easier to perform through electronic government access. Many changes, such as marital status or address changes can be a long process and take a lot of paper work for citizens. E-government allows these tasks to be performed efficiently with more convenience to individuals. E-government is an easy way for the public to be more involved in political campaigns. It could increase voter awareness, which could lead to an increase in citizen participation in elections. It is convenient and cost-effective for businesses, and the public benefits by getting easy access to the most current information available without having to spend time, energy and money to get it.
E-government helps simplify processes and makes access to government information more easily accessible for public sector agencies and citizens. For example, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles simplified the process of certifying driver records to be admitted in county court proceedings. Indiana became the first state to allow government records to be digitally signed, legally certified and delivered electronically by using Electronic Postmark technology. In addition to its simplicity, e-democracy services can reduce costs. Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Wal-Mart and NIC developed an online hunting and fishing license service utilizing an existing computer to automate the licensing process. More than 140,000 licenses were purchased at Wal-Mart stores during the first hunting season and the agency estimates it will save $200,000 annually from service.
The anticipated benefits of e-government include efficiency, improved services, better accessibility of public services, sustainable community development and more transparency and accountability.
This article is merely a plain and simple presentation on “ICT in brief and pragmatic application of E-Governance in Singapore” to the esteemed readers of The Global New Light of Myanmar as well as government officials and business executives who are looking forward to have e-governance in our country to witness the advantages of its application.

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