E-Governance in the Developing World: An Overview on Bangladesh

E-Governance in the Developing World: An Overview on Bangladesh

Md. Abir Hasan Khan (University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland) and SM Shafiqul Alam (University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/jicthd.2012100104

Abstract

E-Governance is a powerful tool for bringing change to the government process in the developing world. Mainly, e-governance operates at the cross roads between information and communication Technology (ICT) and Government Processes (GP). In order for successful implementation and maximize the impact, e-governance must be embedded and supported in the existing government processes by both politically and technically in the country. Bangladesh, as one of the countries of developing world, has been implementing various projects of installation and adaptation of e-governance with a view to ensuring the transparency and accountability of government processes since more than a decade ago. This article attempts to provide an overview on the existing state and impacts of e-governance in Bangladesh and revealed that Bangladesh has made remarkable progress over the years in the way of e-governance. However, more concentrations are needed in the country to expedite the successful implementation of initiatives for ensuring e-services.
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Introduction

In order to promote the transparency and accountability of traditional government bureaucracies and to accelerate the system of governance through collaborative relationships among the various public agencies and organizations emphasis is now given on the wider application of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies). Moreover, it is believed that ICTs can be very important tools to better contact and information sharing among the citizens and to increase the administrative efficiency and effectiveness (La Porte et al., 2002).

Aggarwal (2009) says that ‘e-governance’ is the further or second stage of ‘e-government’ which involves the actual citizen participation in government decision process. To him, the features of e-governance are: a) Customer-centric; b) Online real time participation; c) Improve effectiveness of e-services; d) Provides dynamic information, e) Creates accountability; f) Treats citizens as ‘customers’; g) Interacts with businesses, local communities to create networked societies; h) Anti corruption tools and i) Creates virtual communities.

Since 1990s with the proliferation of information technology, e-government is considered as the most possible hope for the government to overcome from the inefficient government activities (Song, 2004). Moreover, the reform of government administration and provision of government services to citizen is acknowledge by almost all the government in the world in the form of e-governance development (Madon, 2004). Although, initially the term e-governance has been used by the government to increase administrative efficiency only, emphasize is now given to increase transparency and accountability of government process and more importantly to increase the relationship between government and citizen (Gasco, 2003).

Both the developed and developing countries have accelerated their funds for proper e-government installation (Choudrie et al., 2003) and to promote the process of e-governance (Hossain, 2005). In most of the developing countries like Bangladesh, ICTs are using by the government and its different bodies at different levels, but the actual means i.e., better and swifter service providing, increasing efficiency and effectiveness, cost minimizing, increase transparency and accountability, etc. are not achieved yet. The development of ICTs is slow but steady as UN (United Nations, 2010, p. iii) declared that “Many countries have made tremendous strides in the last two years, due in part to recent, exciting advances in the diffusion of technology.”

Bangladesh as one of the developing countries in the world (Wikipedia, 2011) is not an exception in the mainstream of e-governance installation. The government of Bangladesh initiated and implemented various e-government projects in cooperation with the donors (i.e., UNDP, World Bank, etc.) to promote administrative efficiency, effectiveness and to make the administration more transparent and accountable to the citizens.

Present government took over power in 2009 with a slogan “Digital Bangladesh” to ensure the state services closer to the citizens. Accordingly, government has been emphasizing the e-governance in all the sector of Bangladesh Public Administration. Prime Minister of Bangladesh spooked in a seminar in Tokyo, Japan that “projects are being implemented to turn the country into a digital one, she said, adding, now you can obtain information about your village or Union Parishad through internet from the web portals” (The Daily Star, 2010).

This paper is an attempt to provide an overview on the present scenario of e-governance and impacts already made by the initiatives of e-governance in Bangladesh. More specifically, this paper has paid an insight to the status of ICTs installations and applications in Public sector to understand the e-governance readiness of Bangladesh.

Methodology

This entire paper has been prepared using secondary sources of data from government documents, national and international published reports, books, journal articles and web resources. Thus, this paper followed qualitative methodology.

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