STAFF REPORT ISB: With the launching of 3G, 4G technology in Pakistan, the government has set a deadline of achieving e-office/e-filing system by coming December, aiming to make governance more effective and achieve the goals of government efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability in decision making, and deliver efficient and cost-effective public services to citizens, e-governance.

This was disclosed during the recently held first e-office forum 2014 arranged by the Ministry of Information Technology in Islamabad.

The purpose of the forum was to share experience regarding the ministrys e-governance initiative, including e-office/e-filing system in federal government/divisions.

“The e-governance is a key to the success of a country. Many countries have already adopted e-government system; we just have to join them. It is the dire need of the hour, and we must equip ourselves with modern e-applications,” said Special Assistant to the PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatmi.

He appreciated the commitment of Federal IT Minister Anusha Rehman, and expressed hope that she would succeed in her efforts.

On the occasion, the minister said it is a fact that ineffective governance not only slows down the pace of economic growth, but also has a highly negative impact on the living standards of citizens.

She said that recent spectrum auctioning of 3G/4G technologies in Pakistan reflects that governments resolve to capitalise on the benefits of new generation technologies. “We are in the process of developing mobile based software applications particularly for e-government.”

The world is going mobile so it is important that digital government services be accessible through handheld devices. By 2016, 80 percent of broadband subscriptions around the world will be through mobile devices. This reflects how people interface with government and access services and information.

Federal Secretary for Information Technology, Akhlaq Ahmed Tarar, said that e-governance brings a significant change in the working culture, behaviour, and environment. Management of this change is a key success factor for any e-governance initiative, particularly of e-office systems acceptability and implementation in federal organisations.

He said that one of the main conclusions of “The e-Government Imperative” is that leadership is an indispensable tool to promote co-ordination within individual agencies, as well as across government.

He emphasised on the senior managements involvement to ensure vertical e-government planning, acquire the necessary resources, motivate staff, support dealings with external partners and stakeholders, and to ensure co-ordination across ministries and agencies.

He informed that e-office system is being successfully rolled out in Ministry of IT, National Assembly Secretariat, prime ministers office, ministry of finance, ministry of planning, and ministry of science and technology.

There is also increased use of mapping, data visualization, and multi-media videos. People want information that is easy to comprehend so that agencies need interactive maps and graphs that people can use to find the material they want. Putting information in visual form helps users grasp underlying patterns and lets them make sense of what the information is conveying.

In 2014, the government targets to have a paperless government by replacing paper archives with digital ones. The government will look into trends around cloud computing, Big Data analytics and cyber security.

The speakers of the unanimous view that more and more governments are providing services online. The most common online services include drivers license renewal, hunting licenses, business permits, and tax payments. Many governments around the world allow people to get basic services through electronic means and dont require them personally to come to a government office anymore. electronic service delivery provides greater convenience and saves people time and money. Agencies that offer these kinds of services generally find them to be very popular and see usage rising every year.

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