August 19, 2016

Nation Building and success stories on E-Government

The Global New Light of Myanmar carried a news item saying “Yangon Government prepares to bring e-Yangon payment system online within six-months” in the 15 July 2016 issue.
It is learnt that the Yangon regional government is preparing to launch the “e-Yangon” system, a money transfer medium within six months and the public will be able to access information by calling a phone number (ph 1881) upon completion of the project. It was spelt out by the Yangon Region Chief Minister at a meeting involving officials from a one stop service center in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone in the second week of July.
The Chief Minister added that the system must be undertaken to make Yangon corruption free. The regional government is preparing the service to be available in 44 townships, except Kokogyun Township.
The Yangon Region Minister for Kayin National Race expressed her view that transparency will be boosted and corruption can  diminish, thanks to the e-Yangon system.
E-MarketThe Myanma Freedom Daily also reported as follows.
The project will be executed in three stages and in the first stage, the information of the offices under the Yangon Regional government departments and information of the Yangon City Development Committee will be uploaded to the web portal so that the public can easily access the information of the relevant departments.
In the second stage, the public can download and send back the forms, questioning, complaining, reporting via the web portal and the government will establish the e-call center which will be accountable for serving the public requirements.
In the final stage, the public can apply for business licenses, pay tax, get the information of the various departments using Database management system, watching live traffic conditions via the web portal and can also make the transaction from the portal.
In this connection, the author would like to share some success stories on e-government system through the use of ICT applications.
Global Perspective
From the United States to Cape Verde, governments around the world have embraced ICTs (Information, Communication and Technology), and the internet in particular. It is as a means of mainstreaming public policy decisions, practices and processes. At the same time, the system is providing citizens with greater and easier access to government services.
The network increased information flows between the public and private sector. Therefore, the citizens have improved transparency and accountability. It also established an environment of trust and reliability between citizens and elected officials / law makers in many parts of the world.
Moreover, many ministries / departments responsible for ICTs and modernization initiatives have realized the importance of a clear national strategy for becoming a part of the global Information Society and narrowing the gap between “Haves” and “Have-nots.”
ICT stories from the field
Awards Programme for Digital Cities- Latin America
Success strategy:
The municipal areas of Latin America are often neglected in the government’s modernization efforts. This informed the award of digital cities to reward the development of E-government initiatives and stimulate the modernization of these municipalities in Latin America.
The awards are made in three categories, which are:
•    metropolitan area,
•    medium size city,
•    and small rural community.
The basic criteria for the contests are that these areas should have incorporated ICTs in its modernization process. This can be done through culture economics and must demonstrate a significant progress in the transition to a digital city.
Cultural economics is the branch of economics that studies the relation of culture to economic outcomes. Here, ‘culture’ is defined by shared beliefs and preferences of respective groups. Programmatic issues include whether and how much culture matters as to economic outcomes and what its relation is to institutions.
Judgment criteria include existing accomplishments and the scope and quality of future plans and projects.
Two additional prizes are granted. First one is for E integration which emphasizes female labor contribution in the modernization process. Secondly, the regional E cooperation award which recognizes technical contribution in E government based on knowledge and technology transfer.
The award has made more visible on the applicability of ICTs to government. Subsequently creating model cities for other cities to emulate, leading to success story in e-government.
Republic of Korea: A National Success Story
Success strategy:
The Republic of Korea’s growing internet population is an important step towards the country’s e-government efforts. In Korea, there is a strong awareness that an ICT literate citizenry is needed to make full use of the Government’s online efforts, which have been bold and far-reaching.
Over a decade ago in January 2000, almost all government ministries and agencies were online and connected to a high-speed backbone network. Currently, more than 80 per cent of the central Government’s documents are computerized and 55 per cent of the government’s documents are handled electronically. A number of e-government projects have been implemented, including a registration system that has computerized over 200 million real-estate properties.
Information about the properties can be examined in real time and titles issued on demand. The system is accessible from government offices as well as kiosks. The word “kiosk” is a small structure in a public area used for providing information or displaying advertisements, often incorporating an interactive display screen or screens.
In the context of tourism industry, one or more kiosks are located in tourist areas in just about every city. The folks working there always speak English, and are happy to answer all questions, provide maps, make hotel bookings, you name it. They can tell you train and bus schedules, and will make telephone calls to find out everything they don’t have at their fingertips.
In this way, time spent on registering properties has been reduced from over two hours to less than five minutes.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Korean experience has been the Government’s proactive and practical stance. In fact, they provide the necessary regulatory framework and supportive environment, in an effort to be one step ahead. It also encourages investment by companies and usage by consumers. Not surprisingly, Korea was one of the first countries to emphasize the importance of ICT as an economic stimulus.
Six major national projects have structured the direction of Government policies, including the recent “Global leader, e Korea”. It is the slogan of the latest Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) initiative. Goals include getting more than 90 per cent of all Koreans online, improving E Government and encouraging schools to use more sophisticated ICT applications.
India – WebCITI (Web Based Citizen-IT Interface)
Success strategy:
An e-Governance project for building citizen-IT interface for services offered by district administration at Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab. Fatehgarh Sahib District is one of the twenty-two districts of the state of Punjab in North-West India. It also provides complete workflow automation in the District Commissioner’s office. The WebCITI provides a web based interface to citizens seeking services from the district administration. The computer interface means the way a computer program presents information to a user or receives information from a user, in particular the layout of the screen and the menus.
These include issuance of certificates such as death/birth, caste, rural area etc. It also issued licenses such as arms license, permission for conferences/rallies etc and benefits from socio-economic schemes.
The Project has been appropriately funded by Government of Punjab and has been executed through National Informatics Centre Services Inc. (NICSI) of Punjab State Unit. The WebCITY has been augmented with DialCITY (Dialup based Citizen-IT Interface) to provide status as well as procedural information through telephone. It further extends the cause of providing efficient, transparent and quick information to the citizens.
One can have information on any services or status of his case or application on phone. One can also find information about various schemes and procedures, status of one’s application etc. through web Interface available through select intranet counters at developmental block / revenue tehsil. Tehsil also tahsil is an administrative division of India denoting a sub-district.
Webcity: Web-based Citizen IT Interface Project at Fatehgarh (Punjab) is doing fine as Webcity provides the Web-based interface to citizens seeking services from district administration. It facilitates the citizens to interact with the government.
Electronic GovernmentBroadband 100% Installation Programme of Hyogo – Japan
Success strategy:
The story of the Hyogo prefecture broadband initiative provides some perspectives for the developing world with its best practices of regional development programme. It is to promote partnership between the local government and business for building a broadband access network in rural areas.
Hyogo prefecture is located in the western part of Japan, which has been known as an area of disaster recovery from the Big Earthquake of Hanshin-Awaji in 1995. More, even if Japan is a technologically advanced country, there are huge underserved areas with regards to broadband services. In those areas, the dial up through fixed telephone line is still the only way to connecting to internet.
Rapid progress of broadband access technologies has recently been made in both wired and wireless technologies in Hyogo. Technologies such as ADSL and wireless LAN, which become less and less expensive make easier to build broadband access environment even in the rural areas.
Over a decade ago, in 2004, in the Hyogo prefecture ADSL service coverage rate for households achieved 97.7%, while the overall average for Japan was 77.1%. This broadband success has been achieved thanks to the local government special measures entitled “Broadband 100% installation programme of Hyogo”. The task was implemented through cooperation with business in order to bring efficient technology services to the rural areas.
From the point of view of the local community, this public-private partnership on the local level resulted in an improvement of the quality of life in the region and smooth development of local digital content, including an expansion of administrative services on the web. All the cities and towns administrations in Hyogo Prefecture — including 28 cities and 32 towns as of 24 May 2005 — developed their own website for better administrative services, as well as for dissemination and exchange of information among households, local industries and local administrations.
Furthermore, in the framework of the partnership an initiative was undertaken to connect all elementary schools to the internet. Thanks to the Harima Smart School Project, the majority of the local schools have been already connected through volunteers’ organizations activity. And, the Hyogo New Media Council is a place for discussion among all the stakeholders of ICT development in Hyogo Prefecture for possible cooperative solutions.
This achievement could be reached with an active participation of the people in the local community, a working partnership among all of these stakeholders as well as a strong leadership of the local government authorities. While promoting the broadband information infrastructure constructions, Hyogo Prefectural Government endeavored to attain a wider goal of supporting a multi-dimensional cultivation of local community as well as an information sharing among all stakeholders, thus further creating new style of local community based on advanced ICTs.
It is heartening and inspiring to learn that the Yangon regional government is preparing to launch the “e-Yangon” system, which is most likely in reducing bribery and corruption in Yangon Region, when it reaches the right direction.
The author has shared with the esteemed readers of The Global New Light of Myanmar on the success stories in summary with diverse background from the different locations of the planet on (a) Latin America; (b) Republic of Korea; (c) Punjab Province in India; (d) Hyogo of Japan. They have had their own challenges and time frames in the implementations of their intended targets by all stakeholders through strong commitment and subsequently reaping conquest.
The author sincerely wishes e-Yangon system a success.


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