Speaking in Parliament at the Committee of Supply 2018,
Minister-In-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Dr Vivian Balakrishnan provided
updates on Singapore’s five Smart
Nation Strategic National Projects.
The five projects are
on track to deliver the interim outcomes that will bring benefits to
citizens and businesses. In addition to these priority projects, the Government
is also developing a set of strategies and plans to transform itself to become
more digital and data-driven.
Anchoring this transformation will be new efforts to develop
the public service’s technical skills and capabilities, and rethink
the way digital infrastructure is designed.
Minister-in-Charge of GovTech, Senior Minister of State Dr
Janil Puthucheary, shared that the Government will release a Digital Government
Blueprint in the middle of 2018, which will spell out the exact outcomes of the
National Digital Identity
The NID system will provide users with
a single digital identity to transact with both the Government and private
sector in am more secure and seamless fashion. (Our detailed coverage of the announced updates to the NDI is here.)
As part of the NID,
a new SingPass Mobile App will be launched in the second half of 2018. The
app will enable authentication through a secure soft token stored on the phone,
and a user-determined six-digit passcode or fingerprint, which will provide
enhanced security compared to using SMS one-time passwords.
Users would not need to key in their passwords every time
they log in to a digital service. Moreover, Singaporeans who are overseas will
be able to transact with Government services, as a SMS notification is not
needed, as in the current 2-factor authentication.
Government’s Tell Us Once service,currently connects 70
government services and 30 banking services, eliminating repetitive
form-filling and document verification, and enhances accuracy. By the end of
this year, 160 government-to-citizen (G2C) digital services, which make up
almost all G2C services, will be linked to MyInfo.
The MyInfo Developer
& Partner Portal, launched
late last year, will allow private companies to integrate their
digital services and MyInfo. More than 150 businesses from various industries
have expressed interest to do so since the portal’s launch.
Public agencies will
start using PayNow, a service launched
during 2017, which links mobile numbers to bank accounts (Singapore National
Registration Identity Card/ Foreign Identification Number can also be used). PayNow
enables users to pay and receive money using their mobile banking app, without
any need to know bank names or account numbers.
In March 2018, CPF (Central Provident Fund) will allow
eligible CPF members over 55 years old to receive their lump sum withdrawal
through PayNow. Funds will be able to be transferred within the same day,
instead of the current turnaround time of 5 working days.
The Ministry of Education is going to pilot
the use of PayNow to disburse Edusave Award monies to ITE and polytechnic
students. This will be faster and more convenient than having to bank a cheque.
PayNow Corporate will be launched this
year. Businesses will be able to link their bank accounts to their
Unique Entity Numbers (UENs) and use PayNow to pay other businesses. Consumers
can also use PayNow Corporate to pay merchants for their purchases.
The adoption of the
National QR code standard, SGQR
will be promoted. The SGQR was developed by an industry
taskforce co-led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Infocomm
Media Development Authority (IMDA). It includes protocols customised for
Singapore, building on the QR specifications of EMVCo, a consortium of
international payment schemes. Besides consumer convenience, it will also
support cheaper and infrastructure-light payments systems, which will benefit
At the same time, in
an important step to ehance interoperability of e-payment systems, two local
payment giants EZ-Link and NETS are working
together to enable EZ-Link card acceptance at NETS terminals in hawker
Smart Nation Sensor
Dr Balakrishnan revealed
that trials for different aspects of the Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP)
are ongoing. A better and more systematic use of sensors and
other devices will help build and run a more liveable and sustainable city.
This includes a more responsive transport network, better public security and
improve urban planning.
Moments of Life
The Moments of Life (MOL) initiative aims to reduce the need
for citizens to transact separately with multiple government agencies by bundling
relevant government services across different agencies to the citizens at key
moments of their lives.
The MOL (Families)
be launched in June 2018 to address the needs of parents with newborns or
young children. In the pilot phase, the MOL (Families) app will feature
the applicable services by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF),
the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), the Early Childhood
Development Agency (ECDA), and the Health Promotion Board (HPB). This will
allow parents to register their child’s birth online, apply for Baby Bonus,
search and register interest for preschools, and view medical appointments and
Rethinking the design
of digital infrastructure
The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) is developing
a centrally-managed platform, called the Singapore Government Technology Stack
(SGTS), for public sector agencies to build their digital applications.
The SGTS will make available common digital services and
infrastructure to all Government agencies. This reduces the time and effort
needed to introduce new digital services, as well as enhance and maintain
existing ones. Agencies can focus on designing solutions that best meet the
needs of those they serve and develop high quality applications providing a consistent
experience to citizens. GovTech is making SGTS available for the whole public
sector progressively from 2018
The Smart Nation Scholarship aims to attract and groom a
pool of deep technological talent and leaders for GovTech, Cyber Security
Agency (CSA) and IMDA to help Government better serve citizens, defend systems
from evolving cyber threats, and help Singapore companies benefit from the
opportunities of the digital economy.
The scholarship is open to Singaporean students who have
completed their junior college or polytechnic studies, and offers the
opportunity to pursue a full-time ICT-related degree in either a local or
overseas university. Candidates who are currently studying in a non-ICT related
undergraduate course may also be considered if they are interested in taking up
a double degree in ICT. “Mid-term Scholarships” will also be awarded to
students in the middle of their degree programme at any of the local/overseas
Candidates will be assessed based on a holistic set of
eligibility criteria. In addition to academic performance, other aspects such
as co-curricular activities and involvement in ICT events and competitions,
among others, will also be taken in consideration.
Upon returning from their studies, scholarship holders will
gain direct admission onto their respective parent agency’s talent programmes,
where they will undergo rigorous and in-depth technical training to fast track
their career development and be groomed into future technology leaders in the
public service. They will be required to fulfil a service commitment with their
parent agency (6 years for overseas studies and 4 years for local studies).