The e-governance gambit

The government invested a lot of money on Google Apps and with very good intentions.

Google Apps was going to make the way our government worked more efficient, by cutting down needless and wasteful bureaucratic procedures, and reducing our use of paper.

Nearly a year later, it has done so to a very large extent and the government’s experiment with e-governance can safely and rightly be hailed a success.

There were problems along the way, like connectivity and lack of money to conduct trainings, which is to be expected for a developing country attempting to make such a large and unprecedented leap.  But what is of concern is the reluctance and resistance the government faced, which kept some civil servants and even entire agencies from adopting Google Apps, in spite of the initiative being driven by the prime minister himself.

The government paid around Nu 9 million for 5,000 Google Apps accounts.

A little more than 900 were still dormant with a month left before the contract ends.  This is too large a number.

Perhaps the Nu 9 million investment was still recovered by those, who have been using the online system.  Undoubtedly, costs have been saved elsewhere in the government system as well.  But we still cannot afford to pay for around 900 dormant accounts, just because some resist what eventually must happen.

The government must be more aggressive in making civil servants and agencies adopt its e-governance initiative.  Old and stubborn mindsets cannot be allowed to stand in the way of efficiency and progress.  We cannot afford it.

The transition to an e-government has received a huge boost, with the Asian Development Bank agreeing to fund its use by the royal government for the next three years.  Much money has been saved.

But by receiving the bank’s funding, we also have to go by its rules to float an international tender, which means there is a chance that another online suite is chosen.  If another suite is chosen, this could mean we have to start over again, when it comes to the trainings and familiarity.

But this would be a small price to pay.

Any online suite that is chosen still means our government will still be on track towards efficiency, still saving us time and taxpayer money.

There is one goal.  To become an e-government. Money has been invested and everyone must be brought onboard.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    Apart from being effective and efficient, governance is also about a well executed system. For a seasoned surgeon, it’s just like performing a well executed operation where he can choose his surgical tools or has to manage with whatever he is provided with. Whether it’s Government to Citizen, Government to Employee, Government to Business or even Government to Government, use of information technology in e-governance is always the future as human body and mind can never match the ability to execute commands like a system does. But at the same time, the system of e-governance can’t be considered an elusive concept for users at the both ends. When a well audible voice command fails to work; what we type at command prompt for the computers to execute may also turn ineffective while talking a well executed governance system. So it will come down to how well integrated the use of information technology is in our system of governance with its own methods and procedures. Some use of technology is better developed in house than outsourced to prevent technological errors from getting multiplied even though it’s not the case always.

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