Only 32 out of 159 G2C services accessible

The G2C(Government to Citizens) project was started with the aim to provide the rural people with access to the public service delivery online through the Community Centres(CCs), but out of 159 G2C services, only 32 are accessible online, a research on“G2C Project: Our Way Forward with E-Governance” reveals during the 4th QED Brown Bag seminar at YDF conference hall held on July 30.

The G2C project is a e-governance plan taken under the ‘Accelerating Bhutan’s Socio-Economic Development’ (ABSD) program that started in 2009. The two phases of the project was started in June 2010 and ended in June last year with the cost of USD 1mn.

The project was meant to deliver 200 plus government services to the citizens ranging across ten mministries, twelve agencies and 20 dzongkhags in the fastest and most efficient way.

At present, of the 159 services, 82 can be availed from the CCs, 45 from the government agencies and 32 from online directly.

The study also shows only 17 services were used by the respondents. The services used were security clearance, birth registration, death registration, census transfer, new CID/SRP card issuance, household information viewing, passport issuance, rural timber permit, rural firewood permit, micro trade registration certificate, change of business license, job portal for job search and online registration of job seeker, audit clearance, labour net, online submission and selection of scholarships, registration of tertiary students and BSA(Bhutan Student Association) members.

And most of the services used by the rural people were on rural timber permit, birth registration, rural firewood permit, application for CID card and security clearance.

For the G2C project to be effective in future, presenting his paper, Chief Operating Officer of Thimphu Techpark, Dr Tshering Cigay Dorji recommends that needs be to mended it in terms of collaboration among the civil servants, fixation of the technical issues and need of clear guidelines for outsourcing CCs management with Bhutan Post, in terms of revenue.

He said there is a need to set time limit whereby the authorities have to approve applications and increase the number of openly available services. In addition, step up awareness campaign about the G2C services and make compulsorily for government departments to have a website as well as the G2C Governance and Reporting structure based upon the e-Government Master Plan.

His work included the respondents from the G2C project team, manager of CCs, rural and urban citizens, CCs operators and service providers.

The main challenges the CC operators faced was in line to internet connectivity issues, server and application errors, too long a time duration for authorities to approve applications submitted online and lacking proper training for the CC operators on how to use the system.

The problems related to server needs, a lack of sufficient training in using the system, poor ICT infrastructure in regional offices, slow internet connectivity, and the lack of skilled IT professionals were some of the challenges drawn by the civil servants.

Dr Tshering Cigay Dorji said the e-governance is a serious business as worldwide government IT spending reached USD 449.5 bn last year.

The United Nations E-Government Survey 2014 states, “E-government holds tremendous potential to improve the way that governments deliver public services and enhance broad stakeholder involvement in public service.”

In the countrywise ranking on EGDI (E-Government Development Index), Bhutan ranked 143 this year and South Korea ranked first for sucessive years.

The research shows that G2C project has to be taken at the broader framework of adoption of ICTs, to analyse the achievements and challenges learnt to bring out practical recommendations in the future.

Dr Tshering Cigay Dorji has a Masters and Ph.D in computer engineering (informatics) from the University of Tokushima, Japan and Master of Management from the University of Canberra, Australia.

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