Digital Readiness Blueprint to ensure no one is left behind in Smart Nation plans

The Digital Government Blueprint will outline goals and strategies to improve government services. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Singapore will be launching a Digital Readiness Blueprint spelling out how it intends to equip every citizen to live in a Smart Nation, envisioned to be controlled by sensors and where cashless payments rule.

"As we push ahead with digital technology, we need to also ensure that no one is left behind," said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, on Wednesday (May 9) in his ministry's addendum to the President's Address.

Specifically, the blueprint - to be released by a workgroup led by the Ministry of Communications and Information - will outline strategies to equip citizens for digital access, literacy and participation. Details will be disclosed later.

Along with this push, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) will also publish a Digital Government Blueprint in the middle of this year, outlining goals and strategies to improve government services.

"The Government will lead by example and accelerate our digitalisation efforts," said Dr Balakrishnan.

One of the key projects is an anticipatory service called the Moments Of Life app, which lets parents skip the hassle of going to different agencies to fill in forms.

To be piloted in June, the app will allow the Government to analyse citizen data from multiple government agencies.

Other key projects include a National Digital Identity and e-payment systems - essential to support a digital economy in the future.

To deepen technical capabilities in the public sector in key areas such as data science, artificial intelligence and cyber security for the future economy, SNDGG will also establish a Centre of Excellence for Information and Communications within GovTech, the agency behind the public sector's digital transformation.

"To prosper and stay relevant in the world, and to build a better future for ourselves, Singapore has to embrace these changes, experiment and innovate, invest in the right capabilities and skills, and build a Smart Nation," said Dr Balakrishnan.

Mr Aloysius Cheang, Asia-Pacific vice-president of London-based think-tank Center for Strategic Cyberspace + Security Science, said: "A great amount of re-engineering is required to make sure that all the public-sector digital services protect users' privacy and are easy to use by anyone, including the elderly."

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