E-Governance in Balochistan

My editorial for Balochistan Times on 29th May, 2019

Good governance is a word that often resonates in the corridors of powers and even the international financial institutions, such as International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) often associate their donation and aide programmes with reforms that promise good governance. Good governance essentially relates to the efficient decision making and implementation of those decisions for the public good which can be achieved through participation, consensus, transparency, responsiveness, effectiveness, efficiency, equitable decisions and inclusiveness of the needs and aspirations of the masses.

Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan Aliyani chaired a meeting of the provincial bureaucracy the other day. Among other decisions, tendency to shift the administration towards e-governance was somewhat noticed as he expressed the desire to introduce file tracking system in the government offices and provincial secretariat so that the process of development could be expedited and the service delivery could be improved in the province.

Bureaucracy in Pakistan is one of the least responsive governmental machineries, notorious for retaining its colonial structure, outlook and approach towards the discipline of governance in the Pakistan. When it comes to Balochistan, the bureaucratic weariness and red tapism finds no limits. Even it takes, a single letter from one room to another, days if not given proper follow-ups.

The maxim rightly puts it that let people fight for the forms of government, what is administered best, is the best. In this context, world has changed mode of governance and service delivery from the ruling mode to the serving mode. Moreover, in modern public management arena, the rules of private sector are introduced in the public administration to make it more efficient, more responsive and more sensitive to the needs of the masses. The private sector dynamics include treating the masses as consumers of the services of the government and thereby treat them as such.

To make it even more efficient and responsive to the needs of the masses, the world has created a paper free environment where large registers, log books, cash books, ledgers and dispatch book are replaced by simple and efficient softwares which can retain information for centuries and also are much quicker than the manual system. E-governance has shrunk the years into months, months into weeks, weeks into days, days in hours and hours into minutes in the realm of public administration worldwide.

However, when it comes to Balochistan, things are dead slow and the administration seems to be in ruling rather than serving mode. Meeting a secretary at provincial secretariat or a deputy commissioner at the district level is an insurmountable task for a common man. Chief Minister Balochistan should focus on making the governance structure in Balochistan more responsive to the needs of the masses and bring a paradigm shift in its mode of serving by switching it from ruling to service delivery mode so that the process of governance could be pushed forward an extra mile to achieve the development goals set by the provincial cabinet as well as the international development goals such as sustainable development goals.

 

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