Affiliations: Executive Director, LIRNEasia, Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration, Malalasekera Mavata, Colombo, Sri Lanka. firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: The objective of e(ffective) government must be the delivery of citizen-centric government services of all forms – informational, interactive, and transactional – to all citizens (and relevant others) irrespective of where they live as well as the effective involvement of the citizen in governance. The desired government services do not overlap with the government activities that exist today but are constituted by the essential core that remains after reengineering, right-sizing, and focusing government in a way that would meet citizens' needs more effectively. This is important because most developing-country governments fall short of the mark on the cost-effective delivery of citizen-centric government services; many fail dismally. In the case of dysfunctional governments such as those found in many developing countries, the process of establishing e-government must include an examination of the justification of various services being provided by the government in the first place, as against being outsourced or provided by public–private partnerships under regulation and other conditions necessary for achieving public objectives. A ‘deregulation unit’ that will carefully assess the necessity of retaining existing laws, regulations, and procedures and will screen proposed legislation and regulations against criteria of net regulatory benefits is an essential component of any e-government strategy. This article sketches out a path of progressing from the current condition of dysfunctionality that characterizes government in Sri Lanka to a projected condition of effective government, as embodied in the design of the e Sri Lanka Strategy, which was adopted in 2002 and is under implementation. It emphasizes the practical problems of achieving e-government as well as those of building the ICT (information and communication technology) infrastructure that is a precondition for transforming governance processes.