Access to Information (ll)
What is the project about?
The Access to Information (a2i) Programme at the Prime Minister’s Office, with support from UNDP and USAID, was started in 2007 with the objectives of increasing transparency, improving governance and public services and reducing inefficiencies in their delivery in terms of ‘TCV’ – the time (T), cost (C) and number of visits (V) associated with obtaining government services for underserved communities in Bangladesh. The project entered its second phase in 2012.
a2i is the facilitator from the Prime Minister’s Office of the Bangladesh government’s innovation agenda, Digital Bangladesh. It works as an innovation intermediary through a whole-of-government approach – that is, rather than limiting itself to certain ministries and government organizations, it brings together all relevant stakeholders and supports, suggests and curates their work to catalyze truly unprecedented transformations in service delivery.
a2i focuses primarily on bringing information and services to citizens’ doorsteps and increasingly within the palms of their hands. It does so by harnessing modern ICTs, local knowledge and global best practices to establish both physical and virtual one-stop access points.
What have we accomplished so far?
1. 6 million e-services are delivered on average per month to citizens from rural and remote regions through 407 City Corporation Digital Centres, 321 Pourashavas Digital Centres and 4,547 Union Digital Centres (UDCs). The centres provide 102 types of services (38 government and 64 commercial). Since their inception, the Digital Centres have delivered 216 million services. The Centres serve 4.5 million beneficiaries on average per month.
2. More than 25,000 websites of various unions, upazila’s (sub-division), districts, divisions, directorates, departments and ministries connected through the National Web Portal. The portal contains information of 43,000+ government offices, 2,100,000+ content and generates 90 million+ hits per month. www.bangladesh.gov.bd
3. 400 services of 36 public directorate/organizations made available in Sebakunjo (Service Portal). It is a web platform where citizens can find all required important information about services provided by public offices. In addition to the information on services, necessary information of public offices and other relevant government web-sites have been linked here. www.serviceportal.gov.bd.
4. Service Profile Books with introduction, organogram, scope of work, list of all the services, methods of service delivery, process map etc. of 36 departments of the government have been published.
5. A Forms Portal (www.forms.gov.bd) has been developed where more than 1400 forms of 158 offices are available.
6. E-filing system has been introduced to provide prompt, transparent and efficient services to the government and to create paperless environment-friendly public offices. At present, this system is in use at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), 20 ministries, 4 departments, 64 Deputy Commissioner’s offices, and 7 Divisional Commissioner’s offices.
7. Digital Mobile Court System (www.ecourt.gov.bd) has been initiated with the aim to modernize the activities of the courts. Executive Magistrates can perform all of their activities such as submission of complaints, preparation of seizure list, framing charges, recording statements and order etc. easily and faster through online and if necessary through offline with this system. 1059 cases have been settled/ disposed and pilot programme is running in 4 districts.
1. ‘Service Innovation Fund (SIF)’ has been introduced to provide financial support up to BDT 2.5 million in innovative efforts at public, private and individual level and also to encourage existing small and medium scale efforts of innovative skills. A total number of 90 projects in 6 phases have been funded so far amounting to BDT 175.6 million and 12 projects have been successfully completed.
2. With the support of Cabinet Division, skill development programme is going on in promoting innovation in public service delivery for government officials. District and Upazila level government officials are implementing various innovative initiatives. Till now 2,195 officials have attended in total 72 training courses of 5 days duration; 534 officials in 22 training courses of 3 days duration; 300 officials in 8 training courses of 2 days duration and 4650 officials in 669 training. Total 412 innovative pilot projects are running in upazila and district level under 24 departments and ministries.
3. Awareness of citizens on availability of public e-services enhanced and capacity of civil servants and service providers strengthened to facilitate transparent and responsive services. Around 72,000 service providers trained to implement e-services.
1. Enabling legal and policy framework designed and partnerships established to facilitate responsive and transparent service delivery. Supported incorporation of e-service development and promotion into relevant national planning documents. Identified and effected necessary policy and legislative changes for e-services. 25 new policies, acts, guidelines, regulations developed and adapted including ICT Act (Amendment 2013); Disability Act 2013; National ICT Policy 2015; Proactive Information Disclosure Guidelines 2014; Policy Guidelines for Electronic Financial Inclusion 2013; City Corporation Digital Centre Circular 2014.
1. Using Facebook in public activities, ‘Innovation Practices for Public Services’ has become a supportive power. Facebook is playing positive role in saving time of the citizen, cost and visit in receiving public services. Facebook is in use in more than 265 government departments. Issue based media discussions have started at upazila, district and department and ministry level. Till now 9329 people including 18 policy makers have participated in 42 discussions.
2. ‘Digital Innovation Fair’ are being organized every year at all divisions and districts with the assistance of a2i. In addition to building bridge between the service providers and service receivers as well as introducing people with digital services through organizing this fair, opportunities have been created to engage the creative power of the youth in building Digital Bangladesh.
1. a2i programme has undertaken financial inclusion activities to bring people under financial services that were out of the banking services. a2i programme along with Bangladesh Bank and other private financial institutions has been implementing this activities to ensure financial services for people of all strata particularly for those who are out of the banking services.
2. Agent banking has been introduced on a test basis in 25 Union Digital Centres to bring commercial banking services at the doorstep of citizens.
3. Under the government’s Social Safety Net programme, pilot programme has been started to provide allowance to 7,000 elderly and disabled people through Postal Cash Card in Nagpur upazila of Tangail district.
1. Rural e-Commerce activities have started through 5275 Digital Centres established throughout the country. Various electronic goods, books, CD, dress, gift items, jewelry, shoes, utensils, e-ticket and less available items can be purchased through Digital Centres in marginalized areas. It is saving time, labour and cost largely for the people living in remote areas to avail services of urban cities. On the other hand, Digital Centres are helping in creating an alternative virtual market for the goods and services produced in the marginalized or rural areas. 300 Digital Centres are involved in rural e-Commerce and goods worth BDT 2.4 million have been sold within last 6 months.
2. An e-commerce platform named ‘ejoyeeta.com’ has been developed with goods produced by small-scale women entrepreneurs with the assistance of Service Innovation Fund (SIF). 5,000 women entrepreneurs of Digital Centres are involved with this virtual shop.
Who finances it?
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Delivery in previous fiscal years
It is important to mention that Access to Information Programme (ll) inherits similar goal & carries attributes of the previous two projects - Access To Information (Oct 2006-June 2011) that disbursed US$ 4.39 Million and Support To Digital Bangladesh (July 2011-March 2012) that disbursed US$ 0.389 Million - both funded by UNDP.