Mobile Governance is the Way Forward for Pakistan

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Good governance is essential for sustainable development of a country. Unfortunately that is exactly what has been lacking in Pakistan since its inception over 60 years ago.

Now, however, with our country going through a technology boom there is renewed hope with e-governance gearing up to take centre stage.

Mobile phones are a useful and an essential tool to deploy e-governance throughout the country. The Government of Punjab is all set to expand its mobile governance in an attempt to provide unparalleled services in various government departments.

The concept of mobile governance revolves around a centralized database with digital data sharing with services monitoring systems functioning via smartphones and apps in various public departments.

Government of Punjab has already used mobile governance to improve its education, health, police and various other departments. The most high profile use of mobile governance was seen when the health department was finding it difficult to combat and detect the outbreak of dengue virus in the province.

Through the use of mobile governance anyone with a smartphone and an authorized application could take a picture of an area contributing to the growth of dengue virus and upload it to the main server.

Relevant authorities were then notified of this application on the main server along with the location of the affected neighbourhood on the digital map of the area. The area would only be labeled “OK” when related officials go there and upload a cleansed picture of the neighbourhood.

Through this method the health department was not only able combat the dengue virus, but was also able to gather useful data on the virus for future use as well.

A similar project for are also running to mark attendance of teachers at public schools in order to ensure that the children of public schools receive the education they deserve. Specialized applications are also being developed to curb the bribery culture flourishing in our public departments; especially at the lower levels of administration.

With over 130 million cellular service subscribers in the country and a considerable number of highly professional and competent app developers operating in the country, the government has very little to do. All that needs to be done is providing a platform for all the right individuals to come together.

According to the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) the World Bank is willing to invest in their mobile governance project based on the successful results of the past. While this is all well and good, this model needs to be spread throughout the nation.

It will be unfair to restrict this model to just one province. The government must ensure that this mobile governance model is also implemented in all other provinces. We all know very well that perhaps Pakistan’s other three provinces require such mobile governance even more than Punjab.

Hopefully officials from the Government of Punjab with good experience in the field of mobile governance will also undertake the responsibility to share their knowledge and expertise with officials of other provinces as well.