E-government status in Iran (TAKFA Plan case study, M Atashak, P Mahzadeh

Tags: Iran, governmental organizations, organizations, information technology, information and communication technology, government, ministries, communication, budgeting system, national information infrastructure, information network, information and communication, management entities, executive organizations, governmental websites, Educational Management, TAKFA, Young Researchers Club, Shahid Beheshti University, information networks, Governmental services, Ministry of Information, Ministry, national development, American Society for Public Administration, computer information system, technology, delivering services, G2E, High Council of Informatics, developing countries, Tehran, Iran, Comprehensive Electronic Information Dissemination for Science and Technology, implementation, human resource, Communication Technology, developed countries, Faculty of Education, Planning Organization, master plan, Financial resources, Iran Development, countries of the world, macro management
Content: World Applied Sciences Journal 4 (Supple 2): 12-20, 2008 ISSN 1818-4952 © IDOSI Publications, 2008 E-government Status in Iran (TAKFA Plan Case Study)
1M. Atashak and 2P. Mahzadeh
1Department OF Educational Management, Member of Young Researchers Club, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University (SBU), Tehran, Iran 2Department of Educational administration, Islamic Azad University, Science and Research branch, Tehran, Iran
Abstract: This study is the result of a research program and aims at examining e-government status in Iran. Therefore, firstly we will discuss about formation history, missions, key strategies, strategic goals, key fields and main parts of Iran TAKFA plan based on laboratorial studies and evaluating documents and proofs related to Iran Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology Plan (TAKFA). Then we will describe the status of e-government in ministries and higher organizations in Iran based on services and the main components of e-government such as G2G, G2C, G2B and G2E. Obtained results indicate that Government-Government, Government-Commerce sector and Government-Employees components are currently absent in the portals of ministries and higher organizations in Iran. Key words: E- government % TAKFA plan % Iran
INTRODUCTION Information and Communication Technologies have gained significant importance in modern world and various countries. These technologies are very powerful tools that can increase the participation of all people of the society in social changes through establishing e-government. Employing e-government make it increasingly possible for all people to access public information and prosper in economical and social fields [1]. Due to various economical, social and political limitations and pressures, most countries of the world has already began the implementation of e-government architecture in sectors where it seems more necessary and they focus their investments in these areas. That is why various countries are in different phases of e-government implementation. It is obviously true that there is a significant difference between developed countries and developing countries in this regard. In developed countries, the idea of delivering better services to the society and people originates from private sectors and flows into governmental areas. In these countries, governments face considerable demand and pressure from citizens to deliver
better and more suitable services. They must meet society needs; otherwise they will change soon [1]. But in developing countries including Iran, it has paid less attention to citizens and satisfying them such that for many authorities of these countries there isn't any need to change governmental structures for delivering more suitable services to people. However, the authorities of many such countries believe that Information Technology has benefits for them, since reduces costs and administrational corruptions and provide them with better decision making tools. If you look at developing countries websites created by the help of World Bank and has been named as "development gates," you will recognize increasing interest of their authorities for changing the governmental affairs administrational system through implementation of e-government [2]. Numerous definitions have been suggested for e-government, since this concept is approached from different angles. However, the most inclusive definition which covers all these definitions and considers all aspects of this concept is as follows: "Using technology especially web based applications by the government for improving access to information and delivering governmental services to citizens, business partners, employees, other brokers and components of the
Corresponding Author: Mr. M. Atashak, Department OF Educational Management, Member of Young Researchers Club, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University (SBU), Tehran, Iran 12
World Appl. Sci. J., 4 (Supple 2): 12-20, 2008
government." E-government has potential to help establishing better relationships between government and public through creating more smooth, easy and efficient interaction with citizens. In addition, governmental organizations use e-government for improving main business operations and delivering information and fast and easier access services to larger groups of clients [1-5]. A Review of the History of E-government Formation in Iran: The first coordinated and inclusive activities in government sector of the country for extending information technology and implementing e-government was providing and legislating "Iran Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology Plan (TAKFA)" by Management and Planning Organization (Secretary of High Council of Informatics, 2000) in the beginning month of the year 2000 (May) [6]. This plan that was legislated with the aim of coordinating executive activities in Iran and belongs to development and use of information and communication technology field, was approved by Ministers Council in 25 July, 2000 and was referred to related organizations including High Council of Informatics for execution [7]. According to the strategic plan provided by Management and Planning Organization, seven areas of information technology strategic plan were considered as the country future activities: E-government, extending Information Technology Application in education and training and developing digital skills of the country human resource, extending information technology application for improving social services, extending information technology application in the field of culture, art and promoting Farsi script and language in cyberspace, extending information technology application in economy, commerce and business, extending information technology through establishing Small Medium Enterprises (SMFs) in research parks [6]. Table 1 shows areas of activity and details of e-government strategies plan of Iran [6]. Finally High Council of Country Administration with the suggestion of Management and Planning Organization approved the "E-government Establishment Plan" in 2 July, 2000. This plan which consists of automating public and private activities of governmental organizations was aimed at accessing third law of development plan and delivering exact and real time information in various economical, social and cultural sectors. The goals pursued by this plan were automation of activities, expediting jobs, improvement of delivering services to people with maximum discipline and accuracy
and increasing decision making quality in various levels, delivering in-person services and reduction of costs, increasing efficiency and effectiveness in various sectors, rapid and accurate establishment and extension of information among executive organizations, etc [6]. Also implementing e-government article was approved in 2000 by High Council of Informatics and was referred to related governmental organizations for implementation [7]. According to this e-government establishment plan consists of nine field of activity. The details of Iran electronic government strategic plan are presented in Table 1: government virtual private network (VPN), automation of planning and budgeting system, automation of income system (treasury), traffic and driving and execution affairs, creating web portals for governmental organizations and delivering databases of government services delivered to people, providing the draft of laws and plans related to management entities in digital space at national level, creating suitable information infrastructures and information highways required for the country, creating national governmental portals, master plan of information and communication technology [6]. Iran Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology Plan (TAKFA): This plan aims at creating a structured process and has clear and well stated executive goals, although it focuses on a particular domain [8]. This plan has been created in the main frameworks of legislating fundamentals for human resource development, cultural and social, governmental services, extending economical and commercial services, creating national infrastructure, information network, law, security, industry and employment [9]. theoretical framework of TAKFA plan is according to international institutions working in the filed of information and communication application and its main concept is using information and communication technology in various sectors of Iranian community. This concept is addressed within the following themes: C Necessity of legislating TAKFA plan: From 1980s, developed countries and even some of developing countries started implementing their national policy regarding information and communication technology application for development. Introduction of personal computers as well as increasing demand for new softwares and hardwares rised the pace of this process. On the other hand, digital communication and data transmission became
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World Appl. Sci. J., 4 (Supple 2): 12-20, 2008
Table 1: Areas of activity and details of e-government strategies plan of Iran [6]
No. Main activities
Secondary Activities
Code
1 Government Virtual
Network Management
010101
Private Network
Regulations
010102
(VPN)
Security
010103
Content
010104
(Generating real time
information and delivering
them to decision making
system and macro
management of the country)
2 Automation of planning Budgeting
010201
and budgeting system
Agreements exchange
010202
Credit Assignation
010203
Cost report
010204
Performance check
010205
3 Automation of income
Treasury system accounting 010301
4 Traffic and driving and
Automating traffic and driving 010401
execution affairs
affairs for delivering real time
services to people
5 Creating websites of
Creating electronic forms
010501
governmental organizations (e-forms)
and delivering databases of
governmental services
delivered to people
Information service systems 010502
and databases for people
having relationship with
the organization (including
job market information
service system, agricultural
information service, etc.)
Helping automation of
010503
the country activities
Electronic tendering
010504
system for all
governmental auctions
6 Providing the draft of laws and plans related to management entities of cyberspace at national level
Cyber crime law
010601
Responsible organization
Coworker organization
Presidency
All organizations
Management and Planning Organization (Deputy of Support) All organizations
All organizations All organizations
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance Police
Management and Planning system (treasury) Organization/Banks/Ministry of Commerce Municipalities/Provincial governments Management and Planning Organization and all executive organizations of the country
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance Secretary of High Council of Informatics
Ministry of Culture & Islamic Guidance/Management and Planning Organization/Secretary of High Council of Informatics/all executive organizations of the country Ministry of Justice related organizations/Culture & Islamic Guidance/Science, Research and Technology/ commerce/Economic Affairs and Finance/P.T.T/Police
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Table 1: Continued No. Main activities 7 Creating suitable information infrastructures and information highways required for the country 8 (National Government Portal) 9 Master plan of ICT
Secondary Activities intellectual property law in cyberspace National identification validation system (CA&PKI) and e-signature and its macro management entity Privacy policy in cyberspace Legislating required standards related to information network Creating macro management entity, issuing domain names under IT classification Creating justice chamber for cyber conflicts Legislating based on Iran national information infrastructure (IR-NII) by ministry of Post and Telegraph and Telephone and communication companies in the country and its provinces with related credits Creating national governmental portals Integrating web portals of governmental organizations with the process of delivering services to people through this network Creating national/sectorial/ provincial master ICT plan
Code 010602 010603 010604 010605 010606 010607 010701 010801 010901
Responsible organization
Coworker organization
Ministry of Post and Telegraph and Telephone/communication companies of Iran and its provinces
Banks/executive organizations/computer companies Management and Planning Organization/Ministry of Road & Transportation/ Ministry of Interior/ Ministry of Information/ Free zones
Management and Planning Organization (Deputy of Human Resources)
All government organizations
Secretary of High Council of Informatics
All executive organizations and sectors of the country/ Management and Planning Organization
common. The appearance of Internet and its rapid development was considered a turning point in this area that resulted to significant changes in world economics, policy and culture. Increase in data transmission rate, increase in human resource productivity, promoting distant working methods, distant medicine, e-commerce and electronic banking,
increase in distant learning education and appearance of virtual communities and e-government are some examples of these changes [8]. C Phases of legislating TAKFA plan: clear and specified phases and an inclusive plan were followed for legislating and implementing TAKFA plan. Firstly, general policies related to computer
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World Appl. Sci. J., 4 (Supple 2): 12-20, 2008
information networks were created during six steps [8]. After legal validations performed by highest levels of the country, these general policies of computer information network were declared to government in the form of regulations like creating and improving national computer information system, extending national information network quantitatively and qualitatively, active and effective presence in international networks and supporting governmental and private sectors, creating and improving access to international treaties and regulations and creating information unions with other countries specially Islamic countries [7, 10]. C TAKFA plan perspective: The perspective of Iran Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology Plan (TAKFA) is as follows: "Powerful Iran in 21th century: Knowledge oriented economy through using information and communication technology" [11]. C TAKFA plan mission: Employing information and communication technology for converting national opportunities and resources to national richness, ability and pride with the goal of stable national development [7]. C Key strategies in providing TAKFA plan programs: The strategies pursued in Iran Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology Plan (TAKFA) are as follows: systematic extending of information and communication technology in stable national development, human resource development as a strategic priority of information and communication technology development, improving sharing environment and space, infrastructural measures (access network, regulations, resources and facilities), private sector is a key and strategic pivot of information and communication technology development movement [7]. C Strategic goals of TAKFA plan: The main goal of TAKFA plan was specified as more preparation of the country for its fully involvement in information age to meet cultural and economical development as well as developing fields and opportunities to motivate private sector as a key and strategic pivot of information and communication technology. However, it aims to reach the following goals: Improving the efficiency of the services including reduction of costs and time specially those related to governmental sector, encouraging and extending electronically participation of people in society control, promoting information sharing specially
government information as the absolute national rights of people help to create value added employment opportunities, rapid and cheaper access of public to communication and information, extending digital literacy and promoting national culture and language in digital environment, creating modern infrastructures for exporting services and products, more rapid extending, creating and growing small medium enterprises, extending and improving Islamic culture and Farsi script in digital environment [11]. C Key areas and main parts of TAKFA plan: The key areas of Iran Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology Plan (TAKFA) are presented in Table 2 and this table shows the framework of Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology Plan (TAKFA) [7]. Also, determining and recognizing secondary pivot of TAKFA plan which are included in aforementioned main frameworks is the authorized right of High Council of Informatics and can be changed or interpreted with the suggestion of the organization or the future corrective articles of High Council of Informatics. The Secretary of High Council of Informatics will be responsible to pursue and study all affairs related to TAKFA plan [7]. Also, the most important parts of Iran Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology Plan (TAKFA) are as follows: C The plan of providing the master system of the country information and communication technology (national information and communication technology plan, institutionalization of executive management plan, the plan of creating engineering system of information and communication technology companies) C The plan of recreating promotion of national and Islamic culture in cyberspace C The plan of recreating the governmental services within information and communication technology context C The plan of recreating promotion of social services in cyberspace C The plan of recreating commerce within the information and communication technology context. C The plan of recreating economics within the information and communication technology context. C The plan of national information infrastructure and security
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World Appl. Sci. J., 4 (Supple 2): 12-20, 2008
Table 2: The framework of Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology Plan (TAKFA) [7]
No.
Key areas
Main parts
1
National master plan
The country master plan of information and communication technology
2
Creating infrastructure for human, cultural and social resources
Developing human resources and e-learning
3
Culture in cyberspace
4
E-government
5
Governmental services
E-services
6
Developing social and
E-commerce
7
commercial services
E-economics
8
Developing national infrastructures
The network of Iran national information
of information network and law
infrastructure (IR-NII) and security
9
and security
Infrastructure of laws
10
Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
11
Industry and employment
Industry sector
Table 3: Five levels for evaluation of e-government services [14] Level 0 1 2 3 4 C The plan of recreating and providing the draft of laws in digital/computer/internet environment C The plan of recreating and increasing employment in the field of information and communication technology with emphasis on the growth of small medium enterprises C The master plan of development of information and communication industry [7]. Figure 1 shows the way key fields and main parts of TAKFA plan interact and communicate with each other [7]. Executive Results of TAKFA Plan: The main results are as follows: C Organizing the strategic specialist committee of information technology in ministries and independent organizations with responsibility of ministers. C Supporting the execution of more than 258 main researches; planned and applied projects by various economic, social and cultural entities to create additional space and promote the using of cyberspace C Evaluating, approving and assigning credit for executive plans in technical and scientific committees C Promoting private sector as the pivot of national TAKFA plan execution C Attracting the involvement of civil institutions for developing information technology [12]. Figure 2 shows Schematic view of TAKFA plan legislating process [7].
Meaning Not delivering information and services Delivering poor information and not delivering services Delivering acceptable information, but not delivering services Delivering acceptable information and poor services Delivering acceptable information and suitable services Evaluating E-government Status in Iran: Based on studies conducted about e-government status in various countries and their rank, United Nations and American Society for Public Administration standards (including the condition of websites or web presence measure (WPM), information and communication technology infrastructure Measures (ICTIM), human resource abilities), Iran had the index of 1.31 and rank of 77 that indicates low ability of implementing e-government in Iran [13]. The results obtained from a two phase research were used for determining e-government status in ministries and higher organizations of Iran. A sample of 20 ministries and 5 higher organizations that are under the direct control of Islamic republic of Iran president were studied. C The first phase of this research includes identifying the website addresses of ministries and higher councils. C The second phase of this research was devoted to evaluation of current governmental websites based on e-government services and main components like G2G, G2C, G2B and G2E. Therefore, five levels were defined for each of e-government services and main components like G2G, G2C, G2B and G2E. These levels begin from Level 0 meaning "not delivering information and services" and end to level 4 meaning "delivering acceptable information and suitable services" (Table 3). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION C Interview with governmental authorities and professionals indicated that the services delivered by G2C and G2E components were not accessible to
17
World Appl. Sci. J., 4 (Supple 2): 12-20, 2008
network infrastructure, law and security
Industry and employment
TAK
Economical and commercial services
FA Development of human, cultural and Governmental services social resources
Fig. 1: How key fields and main parts of TAKFA plan interact and communicate with each other [7]
· International studies · Third plan of development · Internal survey
·
Supreme Leadership guidance
·
Priorities of presidency second step
·
Strategies of High Council of Cultural
Revolution
·
Strategies of High Council of Informatics
Internal study and outside survey: · Weaknesses · Strengths · Threats · Opportunities
ICT perspective in Iran ICT mission in Iran
Keys Strategic
Strategic goals of ICT national
Executive structure of High Council of Informatics and its secretary
TAKFA plan
Fig. 2: Schematic view of TAKFA plan legislating process [7]
Recognition, documentation and costing machine
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World Appl. Sci. J., 4 (Supple 2): 12-20, 2008
Table 4: The status of each of the main components of e-government in governmental organizations [14]
No.
Organization (ministry and organization)
G2C
G2B
1
Presidency
1
0
2
Ministry of Education
1
0
3
Ministry of Information
0
0
4
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance
1
0
5
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1
0
6
Ministry of Commerce
2
0
7
Ministry of Health, Education and Medical Treatment
0
0
8
Ministry of Post and Telegraph and Telephone
0
0
9
Ministry of Cooperatives
2
0
10
Ministry of Jihad-e-Agriculture
2
0
11
Ministry of Justice
0
0
12
Ministry of Defense & Armed Force
0
0
13
Ministry of Road & Transportation
2
0
14
Ministry of Industries and Mines
2
0
15
Ministry of Science, Research and Technology
2
0
16
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
0
0
17
Ministry of Interior
0
0
18
Ministry of Culture & Islamic Guidance
1
0
19
Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Building
1
0
20
Ministry of Petroleum
1
0
21
Ministry of Energy
2
0
22
atomic energy Organization
0
0
23
Physical Training Organization
0
0
24
Environmental Protection Organization
1
0
25
Management and Planning Organization
0
0
G2G
G2E
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
public due to their nature. So, both components don't exist in ministries and higher organizations of Iran and these organizations belong to level 0 in delivering G2B and G2E services. C Expect for services delivered by G2G component that belongs to level 1 in presidency website and portal, no other component such as G2G, G2C and G2E is present in the websites of ministries and higher organizations of Iran. C Regarding delivering governmental services to citizens, 40 percent of studied ministries and governmental organizations had no website address, 32 percent of them had websites containing limited information and only 28 percent of them enjoyed acceptable content and information in their websites. C According to the results of this research, electronic services and e-forms aren't provided in the websites of ministries and higher organizations of Iran. Levels 3 and 4 of delivering information and services were not found in any of the existed websites. This indicates that currently no governmental services are delivered through the websites of ministries and higher organizations of Iran. The status of each of 4 main components of e-government in ministries and higher organizations of Iran is presented in Table 4. CONCLUSION As it was stated, interview with governmental authorities and specialists indicated that G2C and G2E components are not usually accessible for public due to
their nature. So, both of these components of egovernment don't exist in ministries and higher organizations of Iran and these organizations enjoy level 0 in delivering G2B and G2E services. Expect for services delivered by G2G component that enjoys level 1 in presidency website and portal, no other component such as G2G, G2C and G2E is present in the websites of ministries and higher organizations of Iran. Regarding delivering governmental services to citizens, 40 percent of studied ministries and higher organizations of Iran had no website address, 32 percent of them had websites containing limited information and only 28 percent of them enjoyed acceptable information in their websites. According to the results obtained from this research, electronic services and e-forms aren't provided in the websites of ministries and higher organizations of Iran. Levels 3 and 4 of delivering information and services were not found in any of the existed websites. This indicates that currently no governmental service is delivered through the governmental websites. The following factors affect significantly the successful implementation of e-government in Iran: C Technology: considerable technological level has been used in this area. These technologies must be of high reliability and their related operational issues such as development capability must be taken into account. C Cultural: Successful utilization of e-government requires paying attention to cultural background of the community and its social context.
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World Appl. Sci. J., 4 (Supple 2): 12-20, 2008
C Training and human resource: In order to implement a complex and extensive system with high quality, existed human resources must be taken into consideration. If the education and research practitioners of the country are not capable to improve the existed systems and train required productive and skillful people, employees, leaders and managers of executive organizations will not well prepared for efficient execution of e-government. This problem makes it less likely to implement egovernment. C Organizational: Implementing and maintaining such system requires significant and continuous coordinations of various sectors and organizations of the society. C Sub-contraction: Numerous projects must be executed in order to accomplish e-government plan. These projects often require having somewhat different experiences. Managing these projects is itself a part of e-government technology. C Programming: Designing and implementing electronically committee of government depends on performing many different activities. In many cases, these activities are related to other activities and a coordinated collaboration of many companies and consultants is needed for performing them. C Financial resources: Supplying and assigning financial resources for performing this plan adds to the complexities of e-government implementation. Financial resources must be taken into consideration for implementing such plan; otherwise it is bounded to failure. C Time factor: E-government has been formed for meeting a number of needs. If these needs are not satisfied in a reasonable time, it may be omitted from the country priorities as the time passes. In such case, the country affairs may proceed slowly and placed in an uneven path. REFERENCES 1. Layne, K. and J.W. Lee, 2001. Developing fully functional e-government: a four stage model", Government Inform. Quarterly, 18 (2):122-136. 2. Whitson, T.L. and L. Davis, 2001. Best Practices in Electronic Government: Comprehensive Electronic Information Dissemination for Science and Technology. Government Information Quarterly, 18 (2): 79-91.
3. Aldrich, D., J.C. Bertota and R.C. McClurea, 2002. E-Government: Initiatives, Developments and Issues. Government Information Quarterly, 19(4): 349-355. 4. Millard, J., 2003. E-Government Strategies: Best Practice Reports from the European Front Line. Danish Technological Institute, Denmark. 5. Edmiston, K.D., 2003. State and local E-Government: Prospects and challenges. The American Review of Public Administration, 33(1): 20-45. 6. Moghaddasi, A. and K. Feyzi, 2005. E-government: recreation in information age: Termeh publication. 7. Secretary of High Council of Informatics, 2002. General information regarding Iran Development and Use of Information and communication Technology plan (TAKFA), High Council of Informatics, first edition, Spring.. 8. Zareian, D., 2002. The role of public relations in implementation and accomplishment of TAKFA plan (Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology), General Administration of Culture & Islamic Guidance, second conference on Iran public relations, winter. 9. Name-e-Anjoman, 2002. A look at TAKFA plan, community of Iranian informatics companies monthly, Vol. 5, summer and autumn. 10. Khatami, S.M., 2001. Second step; Challenges and Priorities, Election thesis for second course of presidency, Spring. 11. Payam-e-Ertebatat, 2002. Introduction to TAKFA plan, Development and Use of Information and Communication Technology Plan: Ministry of Post and Telegraph and Telephone public relations, autumn. 12. Center of Communications Researches, 2005. Iran and information community; status, advances and perspective, Allameh Tabatabaee University and Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. 13. Ronaghan, S.A., 2002. Benchmarking E-government: A Global Perspective, Assessing the Progress of the UN Member States", United Nations Division for public economics and public administrationAmerican society for public administration, New York. 14. Atashak, M. and P. Mahzadeh, 2008. e-government in Iran: 46, Collection of Abstracts of the 1st International Conference on E-City, Tehran, Iran.
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M Atashak, P Mahzadeh

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