Civil society

E-governance assures the execution of the constitutional “Access to Information Right”.



Freedom of information is one of the transparency elements of the state governance system. The ARM “Law on Freedom of Information” adopted in 2003 began ensuring that those in power start thinking about transparent work and the ways to ensure transparency. One of these ways is the installment and implementation of electronic governance both in the internal world of state bodies and in the government-public interrelations. The introduction of the e-governance system into the everyday work of departments, and the use of new tools and information technologies can now become the most effective spur for the transparent and public work of those in power.

This process has already started among us, and the outcomes are noticeable. Some of the high-priority tools for ensuring the government-public reliable link are the electronic services of state bodies, due to which the corruption risks may be decreased, time, and material and human resources will be saved.

On 31 May, 2010 Head of the ARM GOV Staff Davit Sargsyan brought to public attention the reformed Not long after, the newly created website was introduced. The latter was also created by the initiative of the Government to supplement the ARM GOV website, in order to ensure maximum transparency. The goal of the website is not only to protect the FOI constitutional right, but also to increase the effectiveness of the work of both the public and the officials, and make it easier. The website comprises the electronic services provided by ARM state departments. For the realization of those services subsections are created, which simplify the interaction between internet users and state bodies.

From the day of its creation Head of the ARM GOV Staff Davit Sargsyan is making sure that the website works unfailingly. He tells how the FOICA helped in the creation of the “When by the invitation of the Center and in the presence of the Prime Minister, we participated in the FOI Annual Award Ceremony a “Rusty Lock” negative award was given to a state non-commercial organization, which had not given information about the spending of the money given from the state budget. Based on this incident the Prime Minister ordered the Staff to prepare and publish in the Internet the information regarding to all the SNCOs. This was the beginning, and in this way was the “Interactive Budget” section created.

And as mentioned Aram Ananyan - Assistant to the ARM Prime Minister – mass media outlets always monitor the information under “Interactive Budget” section, which promotes the transparency of state governance. In this section the 2010 and 2011 budgets are posted. The spheres are stated, and it also states how much money was intended for each sphere and how much was spent. In the “SNCO Financing” section one can learn about the amounts of money given from the Budget to state non-commercial organizations, and about the contracts signed with them. This is really one of the best tools for ensuring publicity, however, it is necessary for the present information to be analyzed and be constantly presented to wide public sectors. After all, the state budget is formed from the taxes that people pay, so, the government ought to be accountable about what it has done for people with that money, and citizens should be demanding.

“Letter to the Government; Track Your Letter; e-Signature; Government Resolutions; Prime Minister’s Resolutions; Government Session Agendas; License Applications Admission System; Procurements from One Person; SNCO Financing; Interactive Budget; Registries and Lists; Electronic System for Submitting Tax Reports; Intellectual Property Agency’s Electronic System of Receiving Applications, and e-Visa” – these are the sections that the website offers for ARM citizens.

The first two sections are the most used ones. When handing a letter personally the applicant receives a 12 digit number for tracking his/her letter. For this purpose government buildings are specially equipped. And in other structures citizens can use the computers in receptions. Officials state that due to this new service of the website paperwork had a 70%-80% decrease. Apart from this option, citizens can also write letters to the Government, track it, and receive a response via e-mail. According to article 10 of the “Law on Freedom of Information”, citizens can electronically receive information that interests them, which suggests reduction in time loss and bureaucratic troubles.

“All the sections are created to reduce the time of information exchange between users and the executive branch. Such an example is the section allowing to send application-letters to state bodies and to track their process. From now on citizens can track their applications without leaving their houses,” states Aram Mkhitaryan – Head of the “Helix Consulting” LLC, which was responsible for creating and setting the website in work.

Before this innovation many complained that their letters were left unanswered, or it took much time before they received a response. Today there is a system that precisely records the sequence of all these steps. However, the majority of ARM citizens either cannot or do not want to use this system, which rises the concern of Head of ARM GOV Staff Davit Sargsyan. “The more they apply, the better, because after each application we will watch and see the nature of the succession – whether the application was received, how it is being processed, and whether all the procedures are being followed.”

One of the newly developed subsections is the online system for giving licenses. The “License Applications Admission System” is a developed way that allows citizens to get a license in a simple electronic way. The information in the section is accessible, and in accordance to article 7 of the ARM “Law on Freedom of Information”, it is sufficient, for the citizens to be able to independently get a license without visiting the relevant structure. Aram Mkhitaryan clarified that this section allows juridical and natural persons, as well as individual enterprisers to send the application for a license online, filling in the required fields and attaching the documents necessary for that specific license. So, applicants can save much time and avoid extra troubles. The presence of the applicant will only be necessary for signing at the time of receiving the license. However, those who have an e-Signature ( also gives information about receiving this signature) can carry out this whole process through the Internet.

Maximum security for the information transferred through the website is ensured. The Head of the “Helix Consulting” LLC mentions, “All the information sent and received via the website is protected by SSL cryptographic protocol. This is a very important and primary issue, since we deal not only with official documents, but also the documents transferred via the website can contain confidential information, which is not subject to publication by law, for example, the process of tracking an application about adopting a child, etc.

The second most visited sections are the sections for Government’s and Prime Minister’s decisions. Every month has about 3000 visitors – 100 visitors per day. “Government Decisions” and “Prime Minister’s Decisions” sections comprise not only decisions made in 2010 and 2011, but also here citizens can view all those decisions starting from 2004. The “Government Session Agenda” section includes information dating back to 08 July, 2010. Assistant to the ARM Prime Minister Aram Ananyan underlines the importance of this section for citizens and especially for media outlets. “This is a very good tool for journalists and the mass media to have the agenda before a session, which always becomes a subject for heated discussions. It is also useful and is a testing means.”

For using the “Electronic System for Submitting Tax Reports” and “Electronic System of Receiving Applications” sections there is the trilingual website of the Intellectual Property Agency of the ARM Ministry of Economy, and those who want an e-visa should visit the relevant section of the website of the ARM Ministry of Foreign Affairs In order to acquire an e-Signature it is necessary to visit, where it is thoroughly explained what is needed to do.
So far, these are the only sections of the website, and it is not yet for sure how many more will be added. Assistant to the ARM Prime Minister Aram Ananyan assures, “I think you should suggest upon adding the sections. All the services that exist have a great demand. We have included them and will constantly keep them updated. I don’t want to run ahead of time, but very soon the website will offer new services.”

According to Head of ARM GOV Staff Davit Sargsyan, in the near future, perhaps by April, website offering state services will have a new section – “e-Registry”. ARM citizens will no longer need to visit state registries. Moreover, from any place and at any time they can register an LLC or receive a firm name, for example, by paying with cards. They will also receive a tax account number, avoiding visits to tax inspectorates, as well as they can receive necessary information from the National Statistical Service of Armenia. According to Davit Sargsyan, “There will be many new sections. I don’t want to announce anything, because it will create expectations. But I should say that at the moment we are working on at least seven new systems – I am talking about big systems. I don’t guarantee for 2011, but in 2012 we will for sure publish 3 of them.”

By Gayane Arakelyan 

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