"eGov" redirects here. For other uses, see eGov (disambiguation).

E-government (short for electronic government) is the use of electronic communications devices, computers and the Internet to provide public services to citizens and other persons in a country or region. According to Jeong, 2007 the term consists of the digital interactions between a citizen and his or her government (C2G), between governments and other government agencies (G2G), between government and citizens (G2C), between government and employees (G2E), and between government and businesses/commerces (G2B). E-government delivery models can be broken down into the following categories:[1] This interaction consists of citizens communicating with all levels of government (city, state/province, national, and international), facilitating citizen involvement in governance using information and communication technology (ICT) (such as computers and websites) and business process re-engineering (BPR).


E-government is also known as e-gov, electronic government, Internet government, digital government, online government, connected government. As of 2014 the OECD still uses the term digital government, and distinguishes it from e-government in the recommendation produced there for the Network on E-Government of the Public Governance Committee.[2]


E-gov strategies (or digital government) is defined as "The employment of the Internet and the world-wide-web for delivering government information and services to the citizens." (United Nations, 2006; AOEMA, 2005).[3] Electronic government (or e-government) essentially refers to "utilization of Information Technology (IT), Information and Communication Technologies (ICT s), and other web-based telecommunication technologies to improve and/or enhance on the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery in the public sector.".[1] e-Government promotes and improves broad stakeholders contribution to national and community development, as well as deepen the governance process.[4]

In electronic government systems, government operations are supported by web-based services. It involves the use of information technology, specifically the Internet, to facilitate the communication between the government and its citizens.[5]

UN e-Government Development Index

The United Nations Public Administration Network conducts a bi-annual e-government survey which includes a section titled e-Government Readiness. It is a comparative ranking of the countries of the world according to two primary indicators: i) the state of e-government readiness; and ii) the extent of e-participation. Constructing a model for the measurement of digitized services, the Survey assesses the 193 member states of the UN according to a quantitative composite index of e-government readiness based on website assessment; telecommunication infrastructure and human resource endowment.[3]

A diverse group of 37 online volunteers from across the globe engaged with the United Nations Department of Economic Affairs (UN DESA) to process 386 research surveys carried out across 193 UN Member States for the 2014 UN E-Government Survey. The diversity of nationalities and languages of the online volunteers[6]—more than 65 languages, 15 nationalities, of which half are from developing countries—mirrors perfectly the mission of the survey.

Comparison with e-governance

E-government should enable anyone visiting a city website to communicate and interact with city employees via the Internet with graphical user interfaces (GUI), instant-messaging (IM), learn about government issues through audio/video presentations, and in any way more sophisticated than a simple email letter to the address provided at the site”[7] and “the use of technology to enhance the access to and delivery of government services to benefit citizens, business partners and employees”.[8] The focus should be on:

Whilst e-government has traditionally been understood as being centered around the operations of government, e-governance is understood to extend the scope by including citizen engagement and participation in governance. As such, following in line with the OECD definition of e-government, e-governance can be defined as the use of ICTs as a tool to achieve better governance.

Delivery models and activities of e-government

The primary delivery models of e-government can be divided into:

Within each of these interaction domains, four kinds of activities take place:[14][15]

  1. Informing the citizen
  2. Representing the citizen
  3. Encouraging the citizen to vote
  4. Consulting the citizen
  5. Involving the citizen

Non-internet e-government

While e-government is often thought of as "online government" or "Internet-based government," many non-Internet "electronic government" technologies can be used in this context. Some non-Internet forms include telephone, fax, PDA, SMS text messaging, MMS, wireless networks and services, Bluetooth, CCTV, tracking systems, RFID, biometric identification, road traffic management and regulatory enforcement, identity cards, smart cards and other near field communication applications; polling station technology (where non-online e-voting is being considered), TV and radio-based delivery of government services (e.g., CSMW), email, online community facilities, newsgroups and electronic mailing lists, online chat, and instant messaging technologies.



The main disadvantages concerning e-government is the lack of equality in public access to computers and the internet (the "digital divide", a reference to the fact that people who have low incomes, who are homeless and/or who live in remote regions may have little or no access to the Internet), reliability of information on the web, and issues that could influence and bias public opinions. There are many considerations and potential implications of implementing and designing e-government, including disintermediation of the government and its citizens, impacts on economic, social, and political factors, vulnerability to cyber attacks, and disturbances to the status quo in these areas.[16] See also Electronic leviathan.


Trust in e-governance is very highly dependent on its performance and execution, which can be measured through the effectiveness of current actions. This is much riskier and prone to fluctuation than a system of trust that is based on reputation because performance does not consider past actions.[17]


Because E-government is in the early stages of development in many countries and jurisdictions, it is hard to be applied to forms of government that have been institutionalized. Age-old bureaucratic practices being delivered in new mediums or using new technologies can lead to problems of miscommunication [18]


Increased electronic contact and data exchange between government and its citizens goes both ways. Once e-government technologies become more sophisticated, citizens will be likely be encouraged to interact electronically with the government for more transactions, as e-services are much less costly than bricks and mortar service offices (physical buildings) staffed by civil servants. This could potentially lead to a decrease in privacy for civilians as the government obtains more and more information about their activities. Without safeguards, government agencies might share information on citizens. In a worst-case scenario, with so much information being passed electronically between government and civilians, a totalitarian-like system could develop. When the government has easy access to countless information on its citizens, personal privacy is lost.[19][20]


Although "a prodigious amount of money has been spent"[21] on the development and implementation of e-government, some say it has yielded only a mediocre result. The outcomes and effects of trial Internet-based government services are often difficult to gauge or users seem them unsatisfactory.[22] According to Gartner, Worldwide IT spending is estimated to total $3.6 trillion in 2011 which is 5.1% increase from the year 2010 ($3.4 trillion).[23]


Main article: Digital divide

An e-government website that provides government services often does not offer the "potential to reach many users including those who live in remote areas [without Internet access], are homebound, have low literacy levels, exist on poverty line incomes."[24] Homeless people, people in poverty and elderly people may not have access.

False sense of transparency and accountability

Opponents of e-government argue that online governmental transparency is dubious because it is maintained by the governments themselves. Information can be added or removed from the public eye. To this day, very few organizations monitor and provide accountability for these modifications. Those that do so, like the United States’ OMBWatch[25] and Government Accountability Project, are often nonprofit volunteers. Even the governments themselves do not always keep track of the information they insert and delete.[26]


The ultimate goal of the e-government is to be able to offer an increased portfolio of public services to citizens in an efficient and cost effective manner. E-government allows for government transparency. Government transparency is important because it allows the public to be informed about what the government is working on as well as the policies they are trying to implement. Simple tasks may be easier to perform through electronic government access. Many changes, such as marital status or address changes can be a long process and take a lot of paper work for citizens. E-government allows these tasks to be performed efficiently with more convenience to individuals. E-government is an easy way for the public to be more involved in political campaigns. It could increase voter awareness, which could lead to an increase in citizen participation in elections. It is convenient and cost-effective for businesses, and the public benefits by getting easy access to the most current information available without having to spend time, energy and money to get it.

E-government helps simplify processes and makes government information more easily accessible for public sector agencies and citizens. For example, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles simplified the process of certifying driver records to be admitted in county court proceedings.[27] Indiana became the first state to allow government records to be digitally signed, legally certified and delivered electronically by using Electronic Postmark technology. In addition to its simplicity, e-democracy services can reduce costs. Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Wal-Mart and NIC [28] developed an online hunting and fishing license service utilizing an existing computer to automate the licensing process. More than 140,000 licenses were purchased at Wal-Mart stores during the first hunting season and the agency estimates it will save $200,000 annually from service.[29]

The anticipated benefits of e-government include efficiency, improved services, better accessibility of public services, sustainable community development and more transparency and accountability.[16]


Main article: E-democracy

One goal of some e-government initiatives is greater citizen participation. Through the Internet's Web 2.0 interactive features, people from all over the country can provide input to politicians or public servants and make their voices heard. Blogging and interactive surveys allow politicians or public servants to see the views of the people on any issue. Chat rooms can place citizens in real-time contact with elected officials or their office staff or provide them with the means to interact directly with public servants, allowing voters to have a direct impact and influence in their government. These technologies can create a more transparent government, allowing voters to immediately see how and why their representatives in the capital are voting the way they are. This helps voters decide whom to vote for in the future or how to help the public servants become more productive.

A government could theoretically move more towards a true democracy with the proper application of e-government. Government transparency will give insight to the public on how decisions are made and hold elected officials or public servants accountable for their actions. The public could become a direct and prominent influence in government legislature to some degree.[30][31][32][33]

Environmental bonuses

Main article: Paperless office

Proponents of e-government argue that online government services would lessen the need for hard copy paper forms.[34] Due to recent pressures from environmentalist groups, the media, and the public, some governments and organizations have turned to the Internet to reduce paper use. The United States government utilizes the website http://www.forms.gov to provide “internal government forms for federal employees” and thus “produce significant savings in paper.[35] As well, if citizens can apply for government services or permits online, they may not need to drive into a government office, which could lead to less air pollution from gas and diesel-fuelled vehicles.

Speed, efficiency, and convenience

E-government allows citizens to interact with computers to achieve objectives at any time and any location, and eliminates the necessity for physical travel to government agents sitting behind desks and windows. Many e-government services are available to citizens with computers and Internet access 24 hours a day and seven days a week, in contrast to bricks and mortar government offices, which tend to be only open during business hours (notable exceptions are police stations and hospitals, which are usually open 24 hours a day so that staff can deal with emergencies).

Improved accounting and record keeping can be noted through computerization, and information and forms can be easily accessed by citizens with computers and Internet access, which may enable quicker processing time for applications and finding information. On the administrative side, access to help find or retrieve files and linked information can now be stored in electronic databases versus hardcopies (paper copies) stored in various locations. Individuals with disabilities or conditions that affect their mobility no longer have to be mobile to be active in government and can access public services in the comfort of their own homes[36][37] (as long as they have a computer and Internet and any accessibility equipment they may need).

Public approval

Main article: e-participation

Recent trials of e-government have been met with acceptance and eagerness from the public.[38][39] Citizens participate in online discussions of political issues with increasing frequency, and young people, who traditionally display minimal interest in government affairs, are drawn to electronic voting procedures.

Although Internet-based governmental programs have been criticized for lack of reliable privacy policies, studies have shown that people value prosecution of offenders over personal confidentiality. Ninety percent of United States adults approve of Internet tracking systems of criminals, and 57% are willing to forgo some of their personal internet privacy if it leads to the prosecution of criminals or terrorists.[40]

Technology-specific e-government

There are also some technology-specific sub-categories of e-government, such as m-government (mobile government), ubiquitous government), and g-government (GIS/GPS applications for e-government).

The primary delivery models of e-government are classified depending on who benefits. In the development of public sector or private sector portals and platforms, a system is created that benefits all constituents. Citizens needing to renew their vehicle registration have a convenient way to accomplish it while already engaged in meeting the regulatory inspection requirement. On behalf of a government partner, business provides what has traditionally, and solely, managed by government and can use this service to generate profit or attract new customers. Government agencies are relieved of the cost and complexity of having to process the transactions.[41]

To develop these public sector portals or platforms, governments have the choice to internally develop and manage, outsource, or sign a self-funding contract. The self-funding model creates portals that pay for themselves through convenience fees for certain e-government transactions, known as self-funding portals.

Social networking services and websites are an emerging area for e-democracy. The social networking entry point is within the citizens’ environment and the engagement is on the citizens’ terms. Proponents of e-government perceive government use of social networking as a medium to help government act more like the public it serves. Examples can be found at almost every state government portal through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube widgets.

Government and its agents also have the opportunity to follow citizens to monitor satisfaction with services they receive. Through ListServs, RSS feeds, mobile messaging, micro-blogging services and blogs, government and its agencies can share information to citizens who share common interests and concerns. Government is also beginning to Twitter. In the state of Rhode Island, Treasurer Frank T. Caprio is offering daily tweets of the state’s cash flow.[42] For a full list of state agencies with Twitter feeds, visit NIC.[43] For more information, visit transparent-gov.com.[44]

Government 2.0

Government 2.0 or Gov 2.0 refers to government policies that aim to harness collaborative technologies and interactive Internet tools to create an open-source computing platform in which government, citizens, and innovative companies can improve transparency and efficiency.[45] Put simply, Gov 2.0 is about "putting government in the hands of citizens".[46] Gov 2.0 combines interactive Web 2.0 fundamentals with e-government and increases citizen participation by using open-source platforms, which allow development of innovative apps, websites, and widgets. The government’s role is to provide open data, web services, and platforms as an infrastructure.[47]

By country



Following the transition from the longstanding Kenya African National Union government to the National Rainbow Coalition government in December 2002, in January 2004 a Directorate of e-government was established after an executive (cabinet) session. The newly created department had the duty to draw the plan of action for future ICT implementations.[48]

Like many other African nations, Kenya has embraced the high mobile penetration rate within its population. Even people living in remote areas that did not have access to traditional telecommunications' networks can now communicate with ease. The fact of the same has, and continues to have, a great impact on the governments' strategies in reaching out to its citizens.[49] Given that about 70% of the population owns mobile phones, leading mobile network operators like Safaricom have taken a great step in offering services that meets citizens' demands. Such services include Kipokezi (which allows subscribers to do online chatting and also exchange electronic mails via standard mobile phones), and M-Pesa (which allows the subscribers to send and receive electronic cash). Such services have even appealed to the majority of Kenyans, as they support the branchless members of the society too, in undertaking normal and secure businesses via M-Pesa. The recent IMF report reveals that MPESA transactions in Kenya exceeded those carried out by Western Union worldwide.[50]

Website: Open Kenya | Transparent Africa



The eGovernment web portal has been developed to provide more convenient access to various government service and information through one window. Services can now be delivered to people at their own convenience, and more importantly now have a lot more weight on transparency and accountability of public services.[51]


Indian government has launched many e-governance initiatives, including a portal for public grievance,[52] MCA21 Mission Mode Project,[53] e-Filing of income tax,[54] e-gazette,[55] & digital India policy.[56]


In 2002, Iran published a detailed report named TAKFA (Barnameye Tose-e va Karborde Fanavaie Etela’at) in which it was predicted that most of the government bodies would try to virtualize their services as soon as possible. However based on the reports by UN bodies, Iran has failed in the recent years to meet the average standards of EG. In 2008, the Supreme Council of Information released a report which criticized the government for its poor advancement in employing new communication technologies for administration purposes.[57]


In Malaysia, the e-government efforts are undertaken by the Malaysian government, under the umbrella of Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) and e-government flagships, which was launched in mid-1996, by Dr Mahathir Mohamad (1981-2003), by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia (Jeong & Nor Fadzlina, 2007).[58][59]

Electronic government is an initiative aimed at reinventing how the government works. It seeks to improve both how the government operates, as well as how it deliver services to the people (Ibrahim Ariff & Goh Chen Chuan, 2000).


The Yangon City Development Committee (Burmese- ရန်ကုန်မြို့တော်စည်ပင်သာယာရေးကော်မတီ) (YCDC) is the administrative body of Yangon, and Yangon is the largest city and former capital of Myanmar (Burma). The Yangon City Development Committee consists of 20 departments. Its headquarters was basing on the Yangon City Hall. The committee's chairman is also the city's mayor.

In 2003, YCDC was organized to provide e-Government for Yangon City. The main purposes of the city's e-Government program are to provide easy access between the government and the city's citizens via the Internet, to reduce paper usage, to reduce the city budget, to build the city's fiber ring, to provide timely public information, to store public data and to develop and expand G2G, G2C, G2B, and G2E programs.

In January 2013 responsibility for e-Government was divided between the e-Government Administration Committee and the e-Government Processing Committee. The e-Government Administration Committee includes the Mayor of Yangon City as Chief, the General Secretary of Yangon City as Sub-Chief, and the other 20 head of department officers as chairmen. The e-Government Processing Committee includes the Head of Public Relation and Information Department as Chief and the other 20 deputy head of department officers as chairmen.

The official web-portal is www.ycdc.gov.mm.


The e-Government planning and conceptual framework has been presented to Nepal in an extensive support from the Government of Korea (KIPA).[60] E-government Vision is ‘The Value Networking Nepal’ through:

Nepal’s E-government mission statement[60] is "Improve the quality of people’s life without any discrimination, transcending regional and racial differences, and realize socio-economic development by building a transparent government and providing value added quality services through ICT."

The e-Government practice has been slow both in adoption and practice in Nepal.[61] However, local government bodies now have dedicated team of ICT Volunteers working towards implementing e-Government in the country through an extensive ICT for Local Bodies initiatives.[62]


In 2014, the Government of Pakistan created the National Information Technology Board (NITB) under the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom to enable a digital eco-system for Government services to the citizens of Pakistan. NITB was formed as a result of a merger between Pakistan Computer Bureau (PCB) and Electronic Government Directorate (EGD).
The key functions identified by the NITB are:[63]

NITB rolled out an e-Office Suite across various ministries in the Government of Pakistan. While it clearly pursued efficiency gains and improved transparency, it also hoped to deliver "efficient and cost effective public services to citizens of Pakistan." The suite primarily included five modules or applications across all the ministries. Description of each module listed are:

NITB released a high-level diagram that describes the process of transforming Federal Government agencies and ministries to e-Office environments.[64]

Criticism: NITB's roll out of the e-Office suite across almost all federal agencies is not only overly ambitious but also likely to fail. It seems to put together a lot of lofty organizational efficiency goals with a set of delivery or citizen-facing targets. In fact, most of the services NITB has provided have been largely conceptual and not sufficient concrete. The process it outlines in the adoption process diagram seems devoid of any user-centric design or value proposition formulation. Instead of creating lots of MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) and taking advantage of an iterative and validated learning process, the e-Office Suite seems to incorporate all the features and functions that various ministries and divisions may need or use. It seems to focus more on the needs of the bureaucrats and government agencies rather than the needs of the end user (citizens of Pakistan) and what services would they need that a ministry or division can provide.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka have taken some initiative actions to provide the benefits of e-government to the citizens.[65][66]


Further information: eGovernment in Europe

e-government shows significant advancement in Europe.


On the Federal Law "On providing state and municipal services" (2010), the strategy on development of Information Society in the Russian Federation, approved by the President (2008), the Federal target programme "Electronic Russia" (2002 – 2010 years), approved by the Government (2002), the State Programme "Information Society" (2010), the Procedure on development and approval of administrative regulations execution of public functions (public services), approved by the Government (2005), the concept of administrative reform in the Russian Federation in 2006 - 2010 respectively, approved by the Government (2005),on other orders, resolutions and acts in the Russian Federation was created electronic government (or e-government).

The main target on creating of e-government lies in the field of providing the equal opportunities for all the Russians in spite of their living place and their incomes and make more effective system of public administration. So e-government are created for reaching the useful system of public management accommodating the individual interests of every citizen by participation through ICTs in public policy-making.

Nowadays Russian e-government includes such systems as:[67]

1. The united interagency Interacting system using for providing of state and municipal services, exchange of information and data between participants of interagency interacting, quick approval of state and municipal decisions, etc.

2. The united system for authentication and authorization providing evidence of the rights of all participants of e-government.

3. United portal of state and municipal services and functions which is the "single window" for all information and services assured by government and municipals.[68]

The portal of public services is one of the key elements of the project to create "electronic government" in the country. The portal provides a single point of access to all references on state and municipal services through the Internet and provides citizens and organizations the opportunity to receive these services electronically. Monthly visits by users of the public services portal range between 200,000 and 700,000. For example, citizens are now able to get or exchange a driver license through this portal.

4. Head system providing utilization of electronic signature.

Other systems located on cloud services.

Today Russian e-government elements are demanded in the spheres of e-governance, e-services (e-health, e-education, e-library, etc.), e-commerce, e-democracy (web-election, Russian public initiative). By the United Nations E-Government Survey 2012: E-Government for the People Russia became one of the 7 emerging leaders in e-government development, took 9th place in rating of e-government development in largest population countries, took 8th rank in Top e-participation leaders, after Norway, Sweden and Chile, Advancing 32 positions in the world rankings, the Russian Federation became the leader of e-government in Eastern Europe. Evolution of ICT in the Russian Federation provided the raising of Russia in e-government development index to the 27 place.[69]

Middle East


Jordan has established its e-government program since 2002. many governmental services are provisioned online.

Saudi Arabia

The e-Government was also established in Saudi Arabia, and it offers online government services and transactions.

United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates, the Emirates eGovernment is designed for e-government operations.

North America


Main article: Open data in Canada

The current Clerk of the Privy Council – the head of the federal public service, has made workplace renewal a pillar of overall public service renewal. Key to workplace renewal is the adoption of collaborative networked tools. An example of such a tool is GCPEDIA – a wiki platform for federal public servants. Other tools include GCconnex, a social networking tool, and GCforums, a discussion board system.

United States

The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States became associated with the effective use of Internet technologies during his campaign, and in the implementation of his new administration in 2009.[70][71][72] On January 21, 2009, the President signed one of his first memorandums – the Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Transparency and Open Government.[73] The memo called for an unprecedented level of openness in Government, asking agencies to "ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration."[73] The memo further "directs the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services (GSA), to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies [and] to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in the memorandum."[73]

President Obama’s memorandum centered around the idea of increasing transparency throughout various different federal departments and agencies. By enabling public websites like recovery.gov and data.gov to distribute more information to the American population, the administration believes that it will gain greater citizen participation.[74]

In 2009 the U.S. federal government launched Data.gov in order to make more government data available to the public. With data from Data.Gov, the public can build apps, websites, and mashups. Although "Gov 2.0", as a concept and as a term, had been in existence since the mid-2000s, it was the launch of Data.gov that made it "go viral".[46]

In August 2009 the City of San Francisco launched DataSF.org with more than a hundred datasets.[75] Just weeks after the DataSF.org launch, new apps and websites were developed. Using data feeds available on DataSF.org, civic-minded developers built programs to display public transportation arrival and departure times,[76] where to recycle hazardous materials,[77] and crime patterns.[78] Since the launch of DataSF.org there have been more than seventy apps created with San Francisco's data.

In March 2009, former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was at Twitter headquarters for a conversation about technology in government.[79] During the town hall Newsom received a tweet about a pothole.[80] He turned to Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams and said let's find a way for people to tweet their service requests directly to San Francisco's 311 customer service center. Three months later, San Francisco launched the first Twitter 311 service, called @SF311, allowing residents to tweet, text, and send photos of potholes and other requests directly to the city.[81] Working with Twitter and using the open-source platform, CoTweet turned @SF311 into reality. The software procurement process for something like this would normally have taken months, but in this case it took less than three months.[82] The @SF311 is saving the city money in call center costs.[83]

See also


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Further reading

See also

Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: E-government
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