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Strategies for e-Government in Nepal's Civil Service

It's time to move from dreaming of Nepal free of poverty to achieving it. It is time to bend the arc of
history by accelerating the progress in order to meet today and tomorrows challenges. Its time for us to
write next chapter in our revolution. Information technology and its profound usage will help achieving
it on creating thousand of job opportunities for our techno friendly youths.

With global solidarity underpinned by latest drives for result, we can, we must and we will build shared
prosperity and end proverty. Information technology has become part of day-to-day life in developed
country. Information technology has potential to become backbone of development in country like
Nepal.

ICT is one of the fundamental building blocks of modern societies and digital economies.

While ICT might be luxury for the rich country, for us the poor country, ICT is a crucial weapon to fight
against poverty and thus ensure our survival.

Instead of making only verbal commitments at workshops and seminars, Politicians should make
commitments on ICT implementation truly in practice to enhance socio-economic condition of citizens
across the nation.

Many of the Countries have reached a new height of development "e-Democracy", but Nepal is limited
to only consumer level of Universal ICT growth.

Even though Government constructed IT park investing 23 crores of money, it has never been operated
in its full potential and has been shut down since many years. This is a sheer strategic failure of
Government towards e-Government implementation. We cannot escape by blaming only Government.
The credit goes to National e-Government Experts, Academicians, IT entrepreneurs and citizens.

If ICT has not been given a due priority by Government, then an opportunity that has knocked the door
will not only escape, but other country will move far ahead than us.

Strategic Thrusts

Online submission of applications minimizes the need for citizens to visit the relevant government
agencies. Citizens will only need to know remember one government web site to access these online
government services for their personal or business requirements.

For added convenience, single-sign-on technology should be considered where each citizen only needs
to remember one username and password to access any online services from any Government agencies.

There must be online payments for government services via internet or mobile devices, including the
payment of utility bills.

National ICT standards should be formulated to ensure that systems are interoperable, manageable and
cost-effective.

Sharing of frequently used data across agencies such as NID numbers, improves processing time.

Governments web applications should undergo regular security audits as a norm.


Government should track the implementation of e-Government programmes centrally through central
e-Government monitoring division. Frequent citizen surveys, polls or other means should be conducted
to determine the effectiveness of e-services.

People responsible for inception and development of e-Government must work hard to convince
decision makers about the necessity for e-Government. Without support from the leadership, e-
Government is doomed for failures.

e-Government Strategy

An e-Government strategy is a plan for e-government systems and their supporting infrastructure which
maximizes the ability of management to achieve organizational objectives. Such a strategy is considered
a baseline and is referred to quite often.

Strategic Components

e-Government Strategy comprise of following components:

Vision: It reflects policy of the government.


Mission: It is more expressive than vision and contains further details.
Guiding Principle: It defines general themes of e-government projects
Strategic Objective: It should provide a complete package for what the government is going to
achieve.
Strategic Goals or Strategic Priorities:
- Purpose
- Outcome
Work Programs or Prioritized Initiatives
Implementation Plan
Building Blocks
Key Process Indicators(KPIs)

Strategic Framework

e-Government Strategic framework should convey the main message of the strategy i.e. the strategic
intent. Furthermore, e-Government strategic framework gives a simplified yet a comprehensive
conceptualization of what e-Government strategy is all about. An e-Government strategic framework is Commented [D1]:
not meant to replace the detailed text of e-Government strategy but rather to enhance it. It can server
as a quick alternative. This graphical representation gives a lot of information at a glance, especially
when drawn well to stress the main messages of the strategy.

Vision: Smart Federal Governance in 21st Century

Implement e-Government that focuses on needs of Nepalese citizens by delivering integrated


government services and world class practices that are practical, relevant, easily accessible, convenient,
caring, secure and transparent through innovative use of ICT over the Internet via mobile devices and
through other kinds of electronic delivery systems
Mission: Establish e-Governance in all aspects of public service delivery to better serve the citizens.

Innovate e-Government towards developing smart public service delivery systems based on citizens
needs and expectations taking advantage of an advanced digital infrastructure and highly qualified
human resources within a smart and intelligent framework of governance.

e-Government National Portal

It provides one-stop-service where government systems are connected in such a way that no matter
where the user starts his or her quest, he or she will always be pointed to the right service.

Facts and Picture of successful e-Government Implementation Bottlenecks

Despite major government agencies have their functional and operation website, most of the
government agencies have not reached to transactional stage of e-Government. However, there
are few exceptions to this for e.g. Inland Revenue Department(IRD) and Company Registrar
Office(CRO).
Office of the Controller of Certification(OCC) has only appointed one Certifying Authority(CA) for
the distribution of Digital Certificate. Hence, there might be possibility of price monopoly and
public as well as private sectors are forced to purchase digital certificate in huge amount of
money as compared to other countries.
There is not any provision in Digital Signature Act and Digital Signature Regulation to issue digital
certificate by Controller himself. Even though OCC has sound technical infrastructure to issue
digital certificate, existing Digital signature hardware resources are under-utilized and
individuals as well as organizations are prohibited from getting digital signature certificate in
cheaper price.
The position of Controller in OCC is registered as Government of Nepal Gazetted First Class
Officer in Department of Civil Personnel Records(DoCPR). Hence, appointment, management
and operation of that position should be done as per Civil Service Act and Civil Service
Regulation. However, as per Electronic Transaction Act 2063, Controller can also be politically
appointed by Cabinet. There is always a conflict between Civil Servants and Politicinas due to
conflicting provisions in prevailing laws itself to get hold of that position. Hence, the work that
has to be done by Controller has been less prioritized and shadowed and more emphasis is
there on the appointment.
e-Government Master Plan(e-GMP) has not been approved by Government of Nepal yet and is
still in "draft" stage.
IT park has not been managed and operationalized in full fledged manner.
There is not uniformity across the similar and common software(s) used by various government
agencies for e.g. e-Attendance, Darta-Chalani etc
There is not any guidelines and norms to predict cost of software that has to be procured by
various government agencies.
More emphasis on procurement of hardware than implementation.
Even though more than 300 tele centers are deployed across different parts of the nation, most
of them are either under-utilized or in-effectively utilized.
Due to Incomplete and Weak Electronic Transaction Act/Regulation, Un-clear Information
Technology Policy, World renowned multinational IT companies are hesitating to invest on
Nepal ICT market.
There is a lack of "IT Umbrella Act" to drive IT sector and e-Government in holistic manner.
Lack of ICT experts and almost all ICT experts are centralized at Kathmandu alone. Culture of
Technology Transfer has not been effective across the country.
ICT implementation has not been given a due priority and importance from top leaders and
policy makers.
Continuous and periodic review of the implementation of the important provisions stated on IT
policy and Electronic Transaction Act has not been practiced by any government agencies till
today.
IT Tribunal and IT Appellate Tribunal as per Electronic Transaction has not been formulated yet
and Kathmandu District is doing the function of IT Tribunal. As Kathmandu District Court is
already on heavy work pressure, cases related to IT are significantly being delayed for
judgement.
Even though more than one thousand ICT human resources are produced by various IT colleges
and Universities in Nepal, most of the IT graduated have "theoretical" rather than "practical"
knowledge. Hence, unemployment ratio has also been increasing in "alarming" manner.
Even though there exist significant software outsourcing companies in Nepal, most of them are
beyond the control of Government's taxation regulations and hence a remarkable "revenue" is
missing.
There is not trend to regularly conduct Security Vulnerability Assessment and Security Audit of
Software Products and Systems and hence IT commodities are always at the risk of being
"hacked".
Total Cost of Ownership(TCO) should be properly analyzed before hurrying on adopting low cost
e-Government Application.

A Ray of Light for the Improvement

Each public service entities should formulate its separate short term, medium term and long
term ICT plan and implement it seriously.
Separate Legislation for data protection should be enacted.
Open Source Operating System Software should be prioritized instead of Proprietary Software
due to cost measures.
Political parties should include their commitments on "e-Government", "Information
Technology" and "Transparent Government" in their political manifesto.
Constitution should be amended and "Internet Usage" should be included as fundamental right
in the constitution.
Extensive usage of ICT should not be limited to only banking sector rather should be expanded
to Education and Health sector through tele-education and tele-medicine program.
High level bureaucrats should consider ICT as a tool for "effective service delivery" rather than
"luxury". Industrialization of ICT sector has become a "must" requirement in present context.
As Internet is a backbone of ICT, for the effective development of e-Government Internet
infrastructure should be expanded to rural villages of the country and number of free Wi-Fi
zones should be established in each villages of the country.
ICT development projects identified in e-Government master plan should be effectively
implemented.
Government should allocate minimum of 5%( current is only 0.93%) of its annual budget for the
development of ICT sector.
All government data should be migrated to GIDC as soon as possible.
Fund in Rural Telecom Development Fund(RTDF) should be efficiently channelized.
Public Industrial properties of Government which are not being operational currently should be
provided to private sectors for the establishment of big IT parks throughout the country.
Mass campaigns should be organized to raise the awareness of usage and befits of ICT across
the whole nation from Government side.
All major IT curriculums of Universities emphasizes only on informative and theoretical
knowledge and is not up-to-date as per demand of IT industry. Hence, such curriculums should
be duly revised in order to make the graduates industry ready.
All Government Employees should be provided on the job ICT training right before their
appointment.
Transparent and implementable action plan should be enacted for proper management of ICT
Waste material.
ICT usage should be well extended towards climate change, natural disasters, hazards
management and early warning systems.
As there arises a big security vulnerability on Government Data as well as Government Daily
activity while outsourcing maintenance of Government Office hardware resource to private
companies, such work should be performed by Government Staffs themselves instead of relying
on outsourcing measures.
Effective e-Government implementation not only foster transparency but also controls
corruption. Considering this fact, Government should adopt ICT as its "fifth" organ.
Government can use ICT to spread public awareness campaigns and messages to a wider public
mass( For instance, Video games regarding the elimination of money donation can be launched
on popular matrimonial sites at free of cost).
Prime Minister Office(PMO) should make a performance contract with secretaries of line
ministries in order to make ICT as a means for public service delivery and continuously monitor
the same.
During Software Construction for government organization, not only IT Civil Servants but also
employees from Administration should be equally involved and take extensive stake. This will
not increase the overall "ownership" while adopting the software but also eradicate future
implementation hurdles, if any.
Separate Umbrella Act that covers e-Government and ICT should be enacted.
Government should promote and give a due priority to Smart School, Telehealth, e-Business,
Smart Technology, Technopreneurship etc.
Public Procurement Monitoring Office(PPMO) should be developed as Government Electronic
Business Center(GeBiz) and all government procurement activities must be mandatorily
conducted through the same portal in order to make government procurement process shorter
and transparent.
Security Emergency Response Team(SERT) should be established sooner.
IT Policy 2067 should be revised taking inputs from intellectuals, professors, IT entrepreneurs
and public.
All IT Graduates must be mandatorily sent to remote villages for Internship Field Work Project
before graduation.
Nepal should formulate a proper strategy for e-Government as is done by other Countries for
e.g. e-Lanka, e-Peru, e-Vietnam, e-Bharat)
Partnership between private sector, civil society and donor agencies should be promoted.
Government services should be categorized and essential government services should be
provided through e-Government.
Government should declare and award an individual or organization who has contributed
significantly in ICT sector yearly.
7 major cities of 7 provinces should be developed as Cyber City. In these cities, IT industries, IT
Universities, IT Training Institutes, Smart highways etc should be established in large scale
manner

FACTS

Ministry of Finance provides NRS 1500 for Internet connectivity to all community schools spread
across the nation.
Ministry of Education has launched 1 laptop/1 Child programmer to nine different districts
According to World Bank Survey, if ICT human resources are effectively been utilized then
annually 1.1 billion USD revenue can be earned in Nepal and approximately 40,000 new
employment opportunities can also be generated.
According to United Nation, Organizations implementing ICT saves at least 5% on their annual
expenses.
There exists 27 Individuals in IT council.

Major e-Government Initiatives

Government Service in 11 minutes: With this slogan, Nepal police provides police clearance
report within 11 minutes of filing an application online. Such public service delivery mechanism
is a benchmarking model of Government of Nepal.
All VDCs in Kathmandu valley are operating their accounts by implementing common web based
accounting software.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Lalitpur sub metropolitan city have started building digital
database of house maps.
Inland revenue department has maintained tax payers information up-to-date by implementing
web based software application. Due to this, investigation of fake tax payer detail is much easier
and tax payer can submit their income details online instead of queuing hours in front of tax
office.
Election commission has released information about 15 million electoral voters through their
online system a year before already.
ICT development project has been implemented by various government agencies for e.g.
National ID project by Ministry of Home Affairs, Digitization of Land Records by Department of
Land Records and management, Smart Driving License Project by Department of Transport
Management, Public Service Commission Automation by Public Service Commission, IT training
programs by Ministry of General Administration and Government Groupware by National
Information Technology Center.
Department of Customs has set-up IP cameras across various country offices throughout the
country for e.g. Tatopani, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Airport etc. Department of Customs can centrally
monitor these IP Cameras to detect and take action against any mal practices that could happen
in these offices.
Nepal Electricity Authority(NEA) has implemented Computerized electricity meter reading and
billing system.
Almost all District Administration Office(DAOs) are connected to a central Citizenship Database
System and are maintaining citizenship records in online system.
Multimedia enriched(audio/visual) based citizenship charter has been maintained by various
Government Agencies.
Department of Transport Management(DoTM) has started distributing smart card based driving
license to citizens.
OMR Technology is being used for various national level competitive examinations and Ministry
of Education is monitoring Medical Entrance Examination online by installing IP Cameras in the
examination centers.
Department of Civil Personnel Records(DoCPR) has maintained an online and up-to-date
database of all civil servants.
Various Hospitals across the nation has started implementing Tele-Medicine services.
Public Procurement Monitoring Office(PPMO) has launched centralized e-bidding portal to
execute all activities of procurement for all offices of Government of Nepal.
Department of Labor has launced a web based platform where un-employed youths can register
their curriculum vitae online and employer can hire employees by looking into the same
database online.
Department of Foreign Employment has started accepting online application for EPS-Korea.

Barriers for e-Government Implementation

Legal and Institutional Barriers


Financial Barriers( Large Scale Investment is required for holistic upliftment of national IT
industries portfolio which might not be feasible for the developing country like Nepal.
Government allocates 0.83% of its total budget to Ministry of Science and technology yearly.
Political and Cultural Barriers: IT has been used as a "luxury" rather than a medium of public
service delivery.

Challenges to effective e-Government Implementation

Languages and cultural Diversity


Lack of legal infrastructure to govern and promote e-business
Management of negative socio-economic impact for e.g. job loses and other risks.
Mass ICT awareness and education at grass root level
Lack of sufficient ICT infrastructure in remote village areas, skewed accessibility.
Variation of e-Readiness at Central, Regional and District level
Low prioritization of ICT sector in terms of financial budget( for e.g. annual budget allocated for
IT Department is only few crores)
Difficulty on retaining and recruiting competent ICT professionals. Successful e-Government
Implementation requires in-house champions.
Establishment of Trust Model
High Level Bureaucratic and Political Commitment and Leadership
Low prestige of ICT professionals.

e-Government

e-Government uses ICT to enhances its functions(operations) and services and has potential to
bring high quality and more effective government services at the door of citizens as well as
ensuring a better relationships between citizens and government. The core aim of e-
Government is to deliver public services to citizens in cost effective and efficient manner and
establish citizen centric and service oriented models. Some of the remarkable benefits of e-
Government includes better accessibility of public services, efficiency, improved services, more
transparency and accountability.
For all governments across the globe, e-Government adoption has become unquestionable
issue.
e-Government allows citizens to connect to what their government has to offer quickly and
directly, no queues, no waiting, 247 services.
e-Government implementation can reduce the overhead cost by 90% by reducing administrative
burdens, process-time-cycles. Moreover, tangible costs are also reduced for e.g. do not need
buildings, electricity, people, service desks etc.
e-Government systems should be developed based on public needs and expectations rather
than from "government-mindset".
Important aspects of e-government success is citizens need to trust the virtual environments.
Without trust, citizens will not participate on the e-government process.

As indicated in above figure, e-governance adoption will have following positive impact
From citizens perspective, there will be increased transparency and participation.
From cost perspective, due to the cut-off of traditional bureaucratic processes, service
delivery cost will be lesser and service delivery process itself will become efficient.
From decision makers perspective, decisions are based on facts and figures instead of
imagination and public service provisioning will also become smarter
Civil Servants start using collaborative tools and platform instead of pen and paper.
As our country is preparing to implement federal mechanism in near future soon, all three levels
of government state,province and local level government must deliver its services to citizens
using ICT and through web service portal.

e-Government is not a short project, but a long-term evolutionary process of transforming a


government to focus on citizen services. Thus, a high level top-down e-Government roadmap as
well as bottom-up detailed implementation plan must be formulated. The roadmap should
include long-term strategic plans and bottom-up detailed implementation plan should focus on
delivering services that are based on the needs of citizens.
Services provided by central, provincial and local level government should be identified,
analyzed, classified and prioritized. Feasibility of implementing various e-Government services
through online mode must be analyzed. A Committee must be formulated in Office of the Prime
Minister and Council of Ministers to identify such government services. After identifying such
services, e-Government service implementation team must be formulated. The team should be
given a mandate to collaborate with central, provincial and local government bodies and
develop corresponding web portal. All data of these portals must be centrally hosted at GIDC.
Central e-Government Portal: Central G2C, G2B, G2G services are registered and implemented
Provincial e-Government Portal: Provincial G2C, G2B, G2G services are registered and
implemented
Local e-Government Portal: Local G2C, G2B, G2G services are registered and implemented

G2C Systems allows citizens to access important government information and services through
single-window online portal.
G2B Systems provides government information and services to business entities.

Before accessing government service, there must be provision in the system to verify National
Identity Number(NIN) of citizens. Bank account of the citizens must be linked to NIN.

G2C G2B G2G

Income Tax Corporate Tax Office Automation System

Public Service Commission Company/VAT/PAN Reporting System of all three


Registration including levels of Government should be
payment connected, synchronized and
harmonized

Social Security Custom Declaration Information Sharing/Centralized e-


mail system to share information
among agencies

National Identity Environment related Integrated National Finance


permits Information System

Driving License and Integrated Public Local e-Government System


Vehicle Registration Procurement( tender, consisting of 100+ local
Procurement, Bids Administrative Affairs such as
Awards, Contract, resident registration and real
Payment) estate, finance and tax etc

Building Permits e-Commerce to support Education Information System and


buying and selling of e-Learning which brings together
goods and services online. schools, provincial offices of
education and their sub-agencies
in a nationwide information
network

Map Registration Government e-Document


Exchange which includes
preparation, approval, distribution
and storage of government
documents.
Police Services

Public Libraries

Passport

Utility Payment to
Government Services

Processing and Issuance


of various
permits/authorizations and
certificates

e-Government Benefits

From (Traditional Government) To(e-Government)

Paper-based government work processes Electronic-based document processes

Department-oriented procedures Service-oriented procedures

Many government contact points and personal A single contact point and online access,
visits(face-to-face) to government offices making personal visits to government offices
un-necessary

Department-level information resource Government-wide information resource


management with a lot of duplication and management using a common standard and
redundancy among different departments. characterized by convergence.

Five Pillars of Successful e-Government Implementation


1. Vision, Objectives and Strategy: Instead of relying on quick fix or piecemeal approach, a
long term plan with a "broad picture" -top-down-design must be formulated. During
implementation, we can start with small and prioritize tasks( bottom-up-design).
2. Laws and Regulation: Laws regarding integrated computing, government information
technology architecture, changes in business processes and information system etc
must be in place for e-government to succeed.
3. Organizational Structure: All traditional government organization structure must be re-
engineered to make it ready for e-government implementation.
4. Business Process: The existing way of delivering public services may not necessarily be
the most appropriate or effective and hence it should be re-engineered. Hence, Business
Process Reengineering(BPR) is mandatory. BPR involves redesigning the work flow
within or between department levels to increase process efficiency( i.e. to eliminate in-
efficiency in the work process).
5. Information Technology: As IT is rapidly changing interoperability, standardization, up-
scaling etc must be properly taken care of before adopting any technology.
e-Government Strategic Planning
1. Analyze the present environment: SWOT Analysis can be conducted to identify the
internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving a particular
e-government aim or goal.
2. Articulate a vision statement: It articulates what an organization aspires to be. It is future-
oriented and servers to inspire members of the organization towards achieving the
organization's vision. A vision statement should not be vague rather should be clear.
Vision should express realistic and achievable aspirations as well as it should be aligned
with organization culture and values.
3. Refine the vision into goals: Goals are long term( achievable within 3 to 5 years) based
on vision.
4. Determine strategies to achieve goals: It includes specific and implementable
managerial tasks( a comprehensive master plan) to achieve goals stated on e-
Government roadmap. Strategies are implemented through the development of
programmes, budgets and procedures.
5. Formulate concrete and measurable objectives from strategies: Goal is an open-ended
statement of what one wants to accomplish with no quantification of what to be achieved
and no time criterion for completion. Objectives are specific and measurable statements
of what is to be accomplished at specific moments.

e-Government Strategic Framework

The aim of strategic framework is to electronically transform all public services.