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The phrase “e-governance” denotes “Electronic government,” while “digital government” traces back to the late nineteenth century. Over the years, numerous scientists and researchers have dedicated themselves to advancing this field, seeking more efficient development methods. Historical insights reveal that the term “electronic democracy” emerged in 1992, with the United States pioneering digital government concepts. In 2010, the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) shed light on technology’s drawbacks, hindering economic interactions and posing obstacles to achieving goals. To address these challenges, OASIS proposed “Transformational government,” advocating its global promotion to enhance public sector services and state decision-making. Subsequently, initiatives like Australia’s “Ask Just Once” and the UK government’s “DirectGov Portal” emerged, providing citizen services.

E-governance technology breaks down borders, fostering cultural exchanges through exchange programmes. Institutions, banks, supermarkets, and shopping malls utilise digitalisation for bid announcements, tenders, bill payments, and communication channels. National and international transactions are conducted seamlessly, aided by various apps launched to expedite tasks within set timeframes. E-government enhances management efficiency, while digital governance fosters integration among institutions and countries. Key benefits include cost reduction, transparency, and accountability.

Denmark, Finland, South Korea, New Zealand, Iceland, Sweden, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Australia boast top-tier e-governance systems worldwide. E-governance elevates a country’s international standing by facilitating business, reducing timeframes, and enhancing transparency, essential for technical efficiency and governance advancement.

Conversely, Pakistan ranks 153rd out of 193 UN countries in e-governance development, highlighting the need for advancement. In Pakistan, the Directorate of Pakistan established electronic government in 2022 under the Ministry of Information Technology, later evolving into the Pakistan Computer Bureau in 2014. The Ministry has introduced various e-governance services, including online Hajj applications, estate automation, patent automation, and e-enablement press, along with health services like PPHI.

Despite these efforts, Pakistan faces challenges due to its developing status, including economic constraints, lack of awareness, and resistance towards technological adoption. Addressing these limitations necessitates improving knowledge through educational initiatives and youth involvement in technological awareness programmes.

Bill Gates aptly noted, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation to an inefficient operation will magnify in inefficiency.” Thus, e-governance is crucial for economic development, providing a legal and social framework for economic activities, fostering competition, and stabilising economies through the provision of public goods and services.

The author is a writer, columnist and analyst in economic business and political affairs