Introduction to e-Government

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(Opinions expressed here are these of the author.)

On 30 March 2011, the new President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, U Thein Sein, delivered his inaugural speech to the both Chambers of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament).  The president at one point made very clear that it will be the Government’s top priority to build national unity in order to build “a peaceful, modern and developed nation”.  He also touched upon the long democratization process saying “In transition to democracy, it is obligatory to promote democratic practices not only among the Hluttaw representatives but also among the people” and “Democracy will promote only hand in hand with good governance”.
Governance refers to “all processes of governing whether undertaken by a government, market or network, whether over a family, tribe, formal or informal organization or territory and whether through laws, norms, power or language. It relates to the process of interaction and decision making among the actors involved in a collective problem or issue that led to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions”.  Governance is therefore broad based strategic process which is in modern time tackled or approached by internet based communication facilities. Then governance of Governments is also indispensably processed through IT. So we have a new system, in the modern world, called “e-Government”.
Electronic-Government (or e-Government) is widely described as “employment of internet or world wide web for delivering Government information and services to the citizens”. (United Nations 2006). It can also be elaborated that 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. Therefore, e-Government promotes and improves broad stakeholders contribution to national and community development, as well as deepens the governance process.
United Nations Member States, through the UN General Assembly Resolution 66/288 entitled “The Future We Want”, have reaffirmed that democracy, good governance and the rule of law, at the national and international levels, as well as an enabling environment, are essential for sustainable development, including sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development, environmental protection and the eradication of poverty and hunger. Member States have also stressed that ICT is facilitating the flow of information between governments and the public, and have recognized the power of communication technologies, including connection technologies and innovative applications, to promote knowledge exchange, technical cooperation and capacity-building for sustainable development.
e-Government Development Index (EGDI)
The e-Government Development Index presents the state of e-Government Development of the United Nations Member States. Along with an assessment of the website development patterns in a country, the e-Government Development index incorporates the access characteristics, such as the infrastructure and educational levels, to reflect how a country is using information technologies to promote access and inclusion of its people. The EGDI is a composite measure of three important dimensions of e-government, namely: provision of online services, telecommunication connectivity and human capacity. The EGDI is not designed to capture e-Government development in an absolute sense; rather, it aims to give a performance rating of national governments relative to one another
e-Participation Index
Promoting participation of the citizenry is the cornerstone of socially inclusive governance. The goal of e-participation initiatives should be to improve the citizen’s access to information and public services; and promote participation in public decision-making which impacts the well-being of society, in general, and the individual, in particular.
The e-participation index (EPI) is derived as a supplementary index to the UN e-Government Survey. It extends the dimension of the Survey by focusing on the use of online services to facilitate provision of information by governments to citizens (“e-information sharing”), interaction with stakeholders (“e-consultation”), and engagement in decision-making processes (“e-decision making”).
e-Participation Framework:
n    e-information: Enabling participation by providing citizens with public information and access to information without or upon demand
n    e-consultation: Engaging citizens in contributions to and deliberation on public policies and services
n    e-decision-making: Empowering citizens through co-design of policy option and co-production of service components and delivery modalities.
Importance of Government ministries/departments/agencies web-sites: The novel intention and objective of e-Government is democratization, equality, transparency, inclusiveness of people from all walks of life, economic and social improvement and above all peace and prosperity by eradicating poverty. To realize all novel intention, one key factor lies in front of us to tackle. All Government ministries, departments, boards, agencies have to develop respective websites and update all information [except those sensitive to the national security]. Many public services can be provided through web-based systems so that time and effort consuming paper-based services can be reduced and the public will enjoy and be happy the arrival of e-Government services.
References:
a.    President U Thein Sein’s inaugural speech-New Light of Myanmar, 31st March 2011,
b.    Wikipedia
c.    United Nations e-Government Survey 2014
d.    United Nations Public Administration Country Studies web-site

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