Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” illustrates and re-illustrates itself intermittently in its multifaceted manifestations. Those who negotiate it timely have seen fortunes coming to them. To their credit; they haven’t sufficed with mere acceptance of the fact but have burnt their midnight oil for achieving what it entails in substance. Those who wish to be negligent have been deservingly made to bite the dust.

Presently, nations are, even if not as a matter of choice but compulsion, in the race to become the fittest. Knowing the requirements, developed ones are mindful that their state institutions and governing structures are going to determine their economic and political might in the race. For this reason, their public sector gets absolute priority in reforms, since governance surely qualifies as propulsion in fortifying the country’s worth.

These states have never been shy of reforms; they rather continuously remain in the quest for improvisation. e-Governance –use of the internet for providing information and services to citizens– as UN defines, is one of the components of public sector reforms and has revealed incredible upshots for them in public service delivery. The utility and productivity boost that Singapore has accomplished on account of it is a flabbergasting example in sight. Almost 98 percent of the state provided services have been brought under the ambit of e-Governance and has been ranked 2nd for e-Government ranking, World Economic Forum Global IT Report reveals.

Policy think tanks of Singapore have due realization about the composition in terms of concerned partners in this journey. The relevant stakeholders are government, citizens, and businesses/interest groups. They have comprehended the importance of simplifying and streamlining government processes in providing access to information and services to the public. It along with adding to the will and welfare of the masses which is the core objective of public administration also supplemented building the confidence of the citizens in the efficiency and transparency of government services. 94 percent satisfaction rate has been secured with the quality of government e-Services in a survey conducted by Ministry of Finance Singapore.

Most important characteristic of the paradigm is its inclusivity and social connectedness. An initiative CitizenConnect includes those who are not IT-literate by assisting them with difficulties confronted while transacting online, for which CitizenConnect centres have been set up across the country. Moreover, there have been devised e-Engagement systems for ensuring amplified participation of citizens in public policy-making. A portal titled Reaching Everyone for Active Citizenry @ Home, (REACH) has been functioning proficiently for public feedback.

Operating on pure business doctrine, they know time is money for their ventures. Connectivity facilitation and simplification of involved processes as well as interactions have been achieved through TradeXchange. It aims for abridging the gap among businesses, regulatory authorities, and government with remarkably saving time and money for businesses through expediting an organised system of global supply chain management. Correspondingly ease of doing business has been envisioned through Online Business Licensing Services system (OBLS) that has befittingly supported entrepreneurs in getting various types of licenses through submitting a single online form.

In addition to aforementioned major IT schemes, almost every domain of governance has been covered with customised IT solutions. Other countries have expressed keen desire to learn from their hugely successful experience, catering to which Singapore e-Government Leadership Centre (eGL) has been established. At eGL, programs are offered on Information and Communications technology (ICT) policy and e-Governance. Officials from different countries come to participate in these refreshers where an invaluable exchange of knowledge and experience takes place.

In the backdrop of such advancements globally, it’s high time for us to take the lesson wholeheartedly or otherwise, go astray. e-Governance in the modern era is indispensable for effective governance as it has evolved to become a strategic catalyst for projection of economic variables. Our citizenry and businesses deserve to be made available at the earliest, such conveniences for their productivity lift.

The picture isn’t bleak considering our existing position in the sphere of ICT. In fact, we have realized breakthroughs in certain essential sectors with models - Criminal Record Management System, Health Management Information System, NADRA database, Solid Waste Management System, Citizen Feedback Model, Jhang Model, and Safe City Project etc. They are rendering valued services to the public in their associated fields. Yet there is a long way to go, where direction might be an encouraging one, but as far as speed is concerned, it is below par.

At the outset, right to services and right to information both require implementation in letter and spirit. Enforcement of these rights would be vital in transforming our society to an “Information Society” that undeniably is a proviso of socio-economic development in prevailing circumstances. Furthermore, with the required extension of e-Governance to almost all sectors, we are in dire need of its use in water management for Pakistan is water scarce country. Telemetric methods are the order of the day in this regard and Indus River System Authority (IRSA) is duly obliged to adopt them.

For that matter, with diverting attention towards earlier identified practical steps, knowledge of e-Governance and ICT must be incorporated into the syllabus of CSS examination, since bureaucracy serves as a key driver of the economy. It would aid in the conditioning of the future policymakers with the progressed mode of governance and henceforth localise the proficiencies of efficacious models, which indeed is crucial for materialising promising repercussions.

The writer holds economics degree from LUMS and is a civil servant.