Governance in Developing Asia
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Governance in Developing Asia

Public Service Delivery and Empowerment

Edited by Anil B. Deolalikar, Shikha Jha and Pilipinas F. Quising

Governance in Developing Asia is one of the first books of its kind to provide an overview of the role that better governance and citizen empowerment can play in improving public service delivery in developing Asia. The World Development Report 2004 set a framework for public service delivery in terms of the short and long roads to accountability of service providers to citizens. More than a decade on, this important book revisits the issue and departs from the WDR framework, highlighting its shortcomings and offering alternative solutions. The contributors present fresh evidence on the relationship between governance and development outcomes, including growth and indicators of living standards. They argue that the Asia-Pacific region must do better in delivering essential public services if it wishes to continue improving the quality of life for millions of its people. They show how the quantity and quality of public services in a country can be improved if the government actively solicits citizen involvement in service delivery.
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Chapter 12: Using ICT to improve governance and service delivery to the poor

Subhash Bhatnagar


Information and communication technology (ICT) can improve governance and the delivery of public services to the poor. A large body of literature by multilateral organizations already suggests that ICT can be used in diverse applications to accelerate the dissemination of information on public services, improve their efficiency, increase the transparency and accountability of government in their administration and so reduce corruption and facilitate citizen participation in local governance. However, few analytical studies or impact assessments confirm that such benefits have been delivered in large-scale projects. Bhatnagar and Singh’s 2010 study is among those that have, and Bhatnagar (2013) recognizes the important role of ICT in reducing corruption, but points out that it has not been easy to harness its potential. The United Nations (2012) recommends that the scope of e-government—ICT used in delivering government services—be widened to transform the role of government toward cohesive, coordinated and integrated processes and institutions. Since e-government in developing countries in Asia is nascent, there is clearly scope to expand its deployment to include improvement in governance.

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