E-Government is a short form of electronic government which is an important new, integrated and continuous means of providing public services online. It helps improve quality and delivery of public services and helps reinforce support of public policies and the democratic process in general. For a successful e-government to achieve the aim of coming online, the following 7 principles must be adhered to:
1. E-government is about government rather than just online presence.
E-government is not all about technology as widely believed. In e-governance, there are techno-centric and governance-centric approaches. The techno-centric approach is well tailored to suit the technocrats, supported by the technology vendors, and unfortunately it is the dominant model in vogue. Governance-centric approach reinforces support of public policies and the democratic process in general. E-government basically addresses the issues of governance through technology as its enabling tool.
2. E-government promotes causes of e-citizen and e-democracy
The most important consequence of emergence of e-government has been the birth of a new entity called the e-citizen, who can be referred to as a citizen who accesses the state and its services and interacts with its decision-making processes through the Internet. As citizens have rights and duties, e-citizens have e-rights and e-duties as well, which need to be well spelled out and statutorily recognized.
E-democracy is very broadly, it covers any of the myriad ways that citizens and governments communicate with one another, whether that be for the purposes of information gathering, information dissemination, service transactions, governance decisions, or other types of interaction. It also involves various kinds of intra-governmental communications. Both e-citizen and e-democracy are required to be promoted.
3. E-government should be accessible.
As is the case with an actual, physical government office, access must be guaranteed for everyone; public authorities must therefore ensure that e-government does not worsen the digital divide. To do this, multi-platform access to electronic public services must be developed (individual computers, digital television, mobile terminals, public internet access points, etc.). Similarly, training programmes which provide the basic skills required for using ICT must be developed.
4. E-government is networked government and not integrated government
These days, it is very common to call for integrated government. In fact, it has become a practice but increasingly turning out to be illusive in larger countries which have complex system of governance. Integrated government means “merger” of various agencies to produce a “whole government.”
This, however, is not possible as governments all over the world are bureaucratically organized and thus do not permit inter-agency merger. However, networked government is one in which various agencies are “joined” together, and not merged, and keep their identities intact, is a practical proposition and deserves to be pursued.
5. E-government prefers open source to proprietary software
There are advantages and disadvantages of open source and proprietary software. Recently, the open source movement is gaining a lot of strength. Open source software has particular appeal to e-government due to its lesser cost, amenability to change, and greater reliability as compared to proprietary software. While government should not shut its doors to any supplier, it should prefer open source to propriety software
6. E-government is introduced through an organization-wide e-business plan
The brave new revolutionary world of e-government is attempted to be covered by traditional planning approaches while it should be the other way around. It is e-government which should decide the mode of planning. E-government should thus be introduced through a new “type of plan,” an “e-business plan,” which is (i) citizen-centric and criteria-based, (ii) lays emphasis on “e” aspect of plan (missing in traditional plans), (ii) treats government working in a ‘business-like” manner, and is (iv) organization-wide, as compared to the present piecemeal project approaches, which are neither here nor there as they only tinker with government processes vis-à-vis role of citizens in e-governance.
7. E-government should ensure close cooperation between authorities
Even if authorities with different levels of power are involved, these authorities collaborate on the design and implementation of e-government in order to facilitate data exchange between public authorities and thus to provide integrated electronic public services; the different IT systems used must be capable of communicating between themselves; it is therefore necessary to develop inter-operability, i.e. the ability of ICT systems to share and exchange information and knowledge.