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Mongolia’s E-Governance Quest

In the last decade, Mongolia showed progress in e-governance, but there’s more yet to do. By Bolor Lkhaajav September 18, 2020 Mongolia’s e-governance is a topic often overshadowed by the cyber activities of the country’s large neighbors — Russia and China. However, the coronavirus pandemic gave an advantage to the Mongolian government in implementing long-overdue digital governance practices. Mongolia’s implementation of e-governance services, known as “E-Mongolia,” will enhance public services, maximize efficiency, and most importantly, diminishing the deep-rooted bureaucracy and nepotism that have been impeding government services for some time. In the last decade, Mongolia showed progress in e-governance. The United Nations E-Government Knowledgebase has tracked Mongolia’s E-governance Development Index (EGDI). The data shows that in 2003 Mongolia scored 0.343 and ranked 103 of 193 in comparison to the United States (0.9271, ranked 1), Singapore (0.7463, ranked 12), and South Korea (0.7441, ranked 13). By 2020, Mongolia showed significant improvement in the index, with its score moving up to 0.6497 and its rank to 92, whereas other previous e-governance world leaders have changed. Denmark has superseded the U.S. with a score of 0.9758, taking the top rank; South Korea, now ranked 2 with a score of 0.9560, has surpassed Singapore (0.9150, ranked 11). These indicators show how both developed and developing nations have been adopting e-governance models. Mongolia did not miss the wave of change to e-governance. During President Elbegdorj Tsakhia’s tenure (2009-2017), he introduced “Transparent Accounts” for financial transparency for government spending. Although this approach helped government agencies monitor one another’s fiscal matters, it didn’t quite serve the public’s interest. In adopting e-governance services, Mongolian policymakers looked to Estonia — a small-state with a population of just 1.3 million in 2020 ranked 3 in the U.N. EGDI — and Singapore — with 5.6 million people and, as noted, above a rank of 11 in 2020 — as possible models. While Mongolia’s e-governance has improved, it still lags behind top-ranked nations. The chief information officer of Estonia, Siim Sikkut, told the author during the “State of Digital Conference” on September 11, “There are three main areas for small-states to adopt e-governance: connectivity, structures, and changing the business model of government.” Connectivity connects rural areas, reducing the digital divide, which Mongolia needs to consider. Government service structures should not overlap, and e-governance becomes inefficient when there are too many government agencies. And lastly, by changing the business model of the government, small states like Mongolia and Estonia can depend on innovation, investment, and procurement.  Mongolia’s push for e-governance services also stems from its highly metropolitan, globally-connected population of 3.3 million. As of 2020, two-thirds of Mongolia’s population are digitally connected via some form of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others. As evidence of the pervasive influence of social media, the 2017 presidential election was disrupted by a whistleblower who went live on Facebook to expose high-level corruption, known as the “60 million (MNT) case.” With such a digitally connected population, e-governance had to become a reality at some point. In 2019, the government of Mongolia passed resolution No. 73, the “National Policy on E-Governance.” The main objective of the policy framework was to enhance the already-existing e-governance structure on a legislative and a practical level. The policy aims to utilize cyberspace, information technology, and innovation to expedite government services to reduce backlogs and eliminate government agency bureaucracy. The incumbent administration’s Government Action Plan for 2020-2024 includes the implementation of E-Mongolia services and will provide a soft-opening of 182 government services as of October 1, 2020. The implementation of the e-governance services aims to eliminate front-desk and mid-level corruption which has drained public via bribery for decades. The director of communications and information technology authority, Bolor-Erdene Battsengel, told the author, “In implementing E-Mongolia services, the transition period is crucial. Because of the existing digital divide, the service will allow some time for people to adapt and adjust to the variety of government e-services. Once the transition period ends, beginning in 2021, E-Mongolia is expected to provide 492 government services.” Moreover, “the public will have free access to uploading, submitting, and tracking documents—hence, expediting the government service without waiting in line, especially with an outbreak like COVID-19.” Furthermore, Mongolia’s e-governance includes facial recognition technology (FRT) to improve public safety, particularly in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. By 2021, Ulaanbaatar is expected to install 6,822 facial recognition cameras. Although E-Mongolia seeks to modernize and expedite government services, some experts have legal concerns. According to a cyber law expert, Galbaatar Lkhagvasuren, “while implementing FRTs are tech-savvy, there are legal concerns that need to be addressed, prepared, and implemented. The inefficiency of the currently developing FR technologies could turn into a human rights issue very quickly without legal justifications.” Source: The Diplomat

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Facebook supports the distribution of reliable news during the pandemic

There is an urgent need for reliable news distribution due to the local transmissions of Covid-19 that have occurred in Mongolia. Therefore, Facebook committed to supporting the official source pages such as the Government of Mongolia, Ministry of Health, Communications and Information Technology Authority, and Communications Regulatory Commission (CRC) to provide reliable news to the users. Facebook supports following activities: Supports an official page of Ministry of Health to distribute the news and informationBan any fake news regarding Covid-19 and accelerate the news from reliable sourcesDirect the activities of Green Chanel at CRC to Covid-19 contents and fake news regarding the public health and safetyThe advice of the World Health Organization such as wear a mask, wash hands and stay home are to be shown first at the newsfeedCooperating with a local NGO Mongolian Fact-checking Center to work on the fake news and distribute its information to the users. Since the local transmissions of Covid-19 that have occurred in Mongolia, Facebook is advising the users to follow the instructions from the World Health Organization and wisely take the news from only reliable sources.

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Marchaakhai supports E-Mongolia

Marchaakhai LLC, which is contributing to the intellectual development of children, is now introducing the “E-Mongolia” digital platform for public services. E-Mongolia is giving you the opportunity to spend time with your family.  Since the Covid-19 occurred locally, citizens are advised to get public services from home during this lockdown situation. As of today, 181 frequently used public services of 23 governmental entities are included in the E-Mongolia, and the number of services will increase up to 492 by the end of 2021. Marchaakhai LLC produces the children’s educational contents of learning an alphabet, numbers, songs, poems, and short stories which were the first in its sector in Mongolia. Marchaakhai has been working successfully and can be found on the website as well as an application on the internet. If you want to install Marchaakhai apps, please visit following links Apple app link: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/marcaahaj/id1130228211Android app link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ionicframework.myapp143522 During this lockdown, your children can learn from Marchaakhai.

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Recommending to get public services online during Covid-19

The local transmission of Covid-19 happened in Mongolia and Mongolian State Emergency Committee announced a full curfew for five days starting from 6 am, 11 November 2020 until 06 am 17 November 2020.  Therefore, all citizens have been urged to stay home, wear masks, sanitize hands, and do wet cleaning regularly at home. And if you need to receive public services, including obtaining or extend ID or driver`s license, you can able to get 181 public services at home through the www. e-Mongolia. mn website or E-Mongolia mobile application. Furthermore, we are working to involve E-Mongolia in another 492 services by 2021. E-Mongolia application users will not be charged for mobile data used thanks to our mobile service providers. If you have suggestions or questions related to the system, you can able to send them to the 11-11 Government hotline number or using the E-Mongolia chatbot. Currently, following services are available at E-Mongolia: 26 services of state registration48 services of taxation7 services for road and transportation10 services related to Police Department2 services of the court decision4 services of social insurance7 services of labor and welfare3 education services1 service of Traffic Control Center1 service of health insurance1 service of Land Administration, Geodesy and Cartography Agency1 service of Immigration Office1 service of Ministry of Nature and Tourism36 services of City Council of Ulaanbaatar16 services of archives7 services related to nature7 services related to tourism3 services of Road development office of Ulaanbaatar7 services of Culture office of Ulaanbaatar3 services of Employment office of Ulaanbaatar

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Chairman of Taxation Department: With E-Mongolia, government agencies become more interrelated and able to access information electronically, not paper based

During press briefing held on 28 October 2020, Ms. Bolor-Erdene B, Chairwoman of CITA, Mr. Zayabal B, Chairman of General Department of Taxation and Ms. Oyunjargal Z, Project Management Director of Chatbot LLC made updates on E-Mongolia system.Recently, total of 48 services of taxation included in E-Mongolia.Chairman of General Department of Taxation said that total of 48 basic services of taxation are included to E-Mongolia and with E-Mongolia, the government agencies are becoming more interrelated and able to receive information electronically, not on paper as before. Through the various taxation systems, there are about 340 people per minute and 21 000 people per hour getting services. Within first nine months, in duplicate, the number of people who only got tax statements online reached to 1 589 643. Last year, around 422 thousand taxpayers were received online services, while in first nine months of this year this number reached to 616 thousand. And we also have estimated the amount of cost savings in figures due to the taxation services became online: MNT 116 million from the cost to come in person at the taxation offices and register as a taxpayerMNT 300 million from the cost to come in person at the taxation offices for tax report verificationMNT 18.5 billion from the cost of paper tax report submissionMNT 2 billion from the bank transaction feesMNT 100 million from the printing of vehicle tax certificate per yearMNT 150 million from the printing of personal income and tax registration book per year and in total about MNT 21 billion was saved.Ms. Bolor-Erdene, Chiarwoman of CITA noted that since the launching of E-Mongolia, 01 Oct, within a month, we have 179 253 accesses and 148 267 people got services through the system.“I shall emphasize that private sectors have big roles and leadership on the system development and improvement. For example, we have started to get feedbacks related to the system through chatbot, which is the product of Chatbot LLC, as well as CU Mongolia is cooperating with us on the system promotion and advertisement field.”Ms. Oyunjargal Z, Project Management Director of Chatbot LLC: A new additional channel, Facebook messenger chatbot, to get public services from E-Mongolia has launched. Chatbot allows you stay close to the public services that you need, get on-time information and updates and express your feedbacks freely.You can visit website, call to operators, or just send your requests via chatbot for 24 hours a day. You do not have to waste your time to check your service request processes and responses. Furthermore, you will able to download inquiries or documents, make payment, check your application status, view service history and payment statements, evaluate the service and write reviews via this chatbot.As a next phase, AI chatbot will able to work automatically, without human input, by communicating in Mongolian, giving necessary services onsite, and distribute the citizen’s request directly to relevant public organizations.

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ITU Regional Development Forum of Asia Pacific region held

ITU Asia and the Pacific Regional Development Forum 2020 (ITU RDF-ASP 2020) is holding from 02 to 05 Oct 2020 which aims to identify the emerging priorities for Digital Connectivity and serve as a platform for sharing strategic orientations and developing partnerships. The formal opening session is structured with policy statements from the leadership level under the theme “Cross-sectoral collaboration to drive digital development and progress towards SDGs”. Mrs. Bolor-Erdene Battsengel, Chairwoman of CITA introduced the current situation in Mongolia during the pandemic and actions taken by the Government using ICT technologies to improve economic sustainability. Live broadcasting of the forum is here. 

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Minister of Road and Transportation: 7 services related to road and transportation included to E-Mongolia, and other services will also be available in near future

Mr. Bat-Erdene J, Minister of Road and Transportation informed today (28 Oct 2020) that additional 7 services related to road and transportation have included E-Mongolia, an integrated public service system. He said that in recent years, the Government of Mongolia has issued a number of policies and resolutions concerning digitalization and digital transformation. In this connection, the Ministry of Road and Transportation is also working to digitalize its services and operations, and currently, 49 services out of a possible 90 are already digitalized. Other services will be provided step by step as stated in the Government Action Plan 2020-2024. So today, 7 road and transport services joined to E-Mongolia system, and all other services of our sector will be involved in the system very soon. Within the framework of Government initiative to provide digital transformation, the Ministry has developed a Master Plan of smart transportation and been approved National Programme on Smart Transportation System by the Government. Meantime, as one of stakeholder of Smart Government project implemented by the Cabinet Secretariat of the Government Mongolia, the Ministry is also working how to improve the activity coordination between public agencies, he added. Ms. Bolor-Erdene, Chairwoman of CITA mentioned that since the launching of E-Mongolia total of 61 829 people downloaded the mobile application, 138 891 people already got services using the system and 166 590 have accessed the system. In less than a month, citizens have been actively using the system and provide their comments and feedback. Citizens who are requested to reissue ID cards or foreign passports are already started to get their documents on hand. E-Mongolia chatbot is available since yesterday, so citizens could get the necessary information using this chatbot 24/7. We are working hard to add every day at least one service to the system. For example, a voice-to-text service using the Chimege system will be available very soon. This could enable voice commands on the E-Mongolia app, which will be very helpful and useful for persons with disabilities. Following 7 services, including 3 types of references and 4 types of multi-way services, are now available on E-Mongolia system. State registration reference of vehiclesReference for technical diagnostic and inspectionDeregistration of vehiclesRequest to reissue the vehicle licenseRequest to change the vehicle licenseRequest to reissue the specialized driver license etc.

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Chatbot now on E-Mongolia

The official Facebook page of E-Mongolia, the integrated e-service system, has now a messenger chatbot, which allows citizens to get the necessary services on time, send comments or requests, and express their opinions 24/7. The chatbot also could be used via www.e-Mongolia.mn website. Using this messenger, several services, such as download inquiries/references or documents, make a payment, check application status, see service history or rate services will be available soon. As a next phase, AI chatbot will able to work automatically, without human input, by communicating in Mongolian, giving necessary services onsite, and distribute the citizen's request directly to relevant public organizations. In other words, citizens do not have to waste time checking feedbacks on their requests. 

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26 services of state registration available at E-Mongolia

26 services of the General Authority of State Registration are available now at E-Mongolia, the integrated public service platform. At the same time, free internet service will be provided to citizens who use E-Mongolia. This was informed by Ms. Bolor-Erdene, Chairwoman of Communications and Information Technology Authority, Mr. Delgersaikhan, Chairman of General Authority of State Registration, and Mr. Ankhbayar, CEO of Kewiko LLC at today`s press briefing.“One citizen- On registration” program which was implemented by the previous Government has the same principles and same goals as E-Mongolia. Of course, to get all services from one place is more profitable than take them from various places. Therefore, we started to provide our 26 services, including a request for an ID card or foreign passport, through E-Mongolia. In the first half of this year, through our website www.burtgel.mn 4410 services were received and seeing our experiences, I want to say that providing public services online, it seems that papers requesting from citizens were reduced by 2-5 pages. Reducing papers means saving time and avoiding misunderstanding and misinformation. All services are exchanged using the KHUR system. Up now, a total of 192 million services of 120 types were exchanged through KHUR, which of 131 million are stated registration services.” said Mr. Delgersaikhan, Chairman of GASR. And he added that in some ways, it seems that the workload of registrar has increased when starting to provide those services online, but in some cases, it has reduced by not issuing any certificates manually.E-Mongolia services are being introduced nationwide and 274 soums are already connected to the e-services.Ms. Bolor-Erdene, Chairwoman of CITA, emphasized that in duplicate, out of 52 175 citizens who visited the E-Mongolia system, 127 454 people are received services. Since 01 October, the official launching of E-Mongolia, an average of 10 619 people receive e-services per day. As all you know, the request to reissue ID cards and all kinds of inquiries and references are already included in E-Mongolia. Furthermore, yesterday, 11-11 center connected to the system, which enables citizens to submit their complaints and suggestions on public services or Government organizations through it. We are constantly receiving feedback and comments on E-Mongolia, and relevant updates and development make on a daily basis.Besides, all mobile operator companies provide their data services free of charge while using E-Mongolia. Kewiko LLC, a Wi-Fi service provider company is also joining this initiative.“We are very pleased to cooperate with CITA to promote E-Mongolia. Within our social responsibility, we will provide our internet services to E-Mongolia booths at the one-stop-shops free of charge, as well as give free access to E-Mongolia for all our subscribers.” said the CEO of Kewiko.State registration services at E-Mongolia: Reference of birth registrationReference of marriage registrationReference of the absence of marriage registrationReference of registration of marriage endReference of civil registration numberReference of change and re-obtain of civil registration numberReference of change of family name, surname, and given name.Reference of the absence of foreign passport registrationReference of foreign passport issuance for the first timeReference of re-issuance of foreign passportReference of ID cardReference of resident addressReference of e-registrationReference of registration of the legal entityReference of the address of the legal entityReference of legal entity liquidationReference of the absence of legal entity registrationDetailed reference of legal entityReference of real estateReference of the list of real estatesReference of ownership of the real estateRequest to reissue foreign passportRequest to reissue ID cardUp to date, the E-Mongolia application has been installed on more than 50 000 mobile devices and more than 41 000 services received online, of these 252 citizens ordered their ID cards and 2881- driver licenses.

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