News Excerpt
As the COVID-19 forces lockdowns, most countries and municipalities are pursuing e-governance strategies but many still do not have access to online services, says 2020 edition of the United Nations E‑Government Survey.

Pre-Connect
•    UN E-Government Survey, published by UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), is prepared for over a two-year period following an established methodology.
•    It looks at how e-governance can facilitate integrated policies and services across 193 UN member states. The Survey supports countries’ efforts to provide effective, accountable and inclusive digital services and to bridge the digital divide.

United Nations E‑Government Survey 2020
    The 2020 ranking of the 193 UN member states in terms of digital government – capturing the scope and quality of online services, status of telecommunication infrastructure and existing human capacity – is led by Denmark, the Republic of Korea, and Estonia, followed by Finland, Australia, Sweden, United Kingdom, New Zealand, United States of America, Netherlands, Singapore, Iceland, Norway and Japan.
    Among the least developed countries, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Cambodia have become leaders in digital government development, advancing from the middle to the high E-Government Development Index (EGDI) group in 2020.
    Mauritius, Seychelles, and South Africa are leading the e-governance ranking. Overall, 65 per cent of MmemberSstates are at the high or very high EGDI level.
    India has slipped 4 places to rank 100th in the Survey. In 2018, India had jumped 22 places to rank 96. In 2020, India ranks behind Bolivia (97) and Iran (89).

Conclusion
In response of the COVID-19 crisis governments have put in place new tools, such as dedicated health portals, hackathons, and e-services for supply of medical goods, virtual medical appointments, self-diagnosis apps and e-permits for curfews. Many countries were quick to deploy tracking and tracing apps, and apps for working and learning from home. Innovative digital government responses to COVID-19 include online dashboards in Canada and Australia to share information and track emergency responses.
E-government rankings tend to correlate with the income level of a country.Financial resources are not the only critical factor in advancing e-governance. A country’s political will, strategic leadership and commitment to advance digital services can improve its comparative ranking.

PEPPER IT WITH
E-Government Development Index (EGDI), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.