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Future of e-government: Learning from the Past

January 19, 2017 by Manoj Dixit

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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.