Challenges in Digitization of Public Administration

Given how advanced technology is these days, you would think that Public Administration services are digitized. But beyond having computers in every office and communicating over email, there has been little progress towards the digitalization of the Public Administration sector. [i]

The key challenges in the digitalization of Public Administration include a lack of awareness, open-mindedness and training amongst administrators. Insufficient bandwidth, deficiency of internet access, and scarcity of physical infrastructure to make real change are also contributing factors[ii].

The sheer lack of digital literacy is the primary roadblock, especially in third world countries.

There are regions in the world where people don’t have access to the internet. This is not only the case in developing countries, but is a global challenge. A 2020 survey found that 1 in 5 homes in NYC does not have access to high-speed internet.

Since public administration has to serve all, irrespective of their economic situation, the lack of fast-speed internet and computers among some members of the society is a hurdle in digitization efforts[iii].

The education level of the users (citizens) is also a challenge, preventing the best usage of digital services. Lack of resources in the local language makes it difficult for some citizens to connect with the authorities.

It is important to note that computers, the internet and technology are not the only challenges. There is a different procedure for data collection and analysis when information is collected via digital networks.

Thus, there is a need for new legislation to elaborate best practices. Digitalization of public administration is slow due to the lack of laws regarding the advancements.[iv]

By digitalization, we mean adding mobile apps for booking official appointments, an internet citizen portal for instant updates on individual cases, and budget audits etc.

The main goal is to maintain a seamless interaction between the government officers and the public and create transparency in government affairs.[v]

Creating a digital footprint does not mean simply creating a website and adding information on the internet, while citizens still have to come into the office to get small tasks done. Rather, digitizing of public administration is a widespread change in the way these duties are carried out.

This includes using the cloud for data sharing, swift request approval/ denials and instant communication amongst the different bodies of the government and between the administrators and the citizens.

In Conclusion:

Digitization of Public Administration not only improves the value of public services but also the citizen’s trust in their administrators.[vi] The stagnancy in terms of digital upgradation of some administrative offices has been the key challenge in the effort to digitize the systems.

Technology is a tool for social inclusion. And it is high time to implement the changes that started in some form back in the mid-1990s.

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