RAJSHAHI: The people of remote and obscure sleepy little hamlets here now have easy access to essential public services resulted from expansion of advantages of Digital Bangladesh.
Like the city residents, the villagers are seen deriving the benefits of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) to get a number of important public services, easily adding a new dimension to the rural life.
Ziaul Haque, entrepreneur of Huzripara UDC under Paba Upazila in Rajshahi district, has been delivering almost 100 types of public services through ‘ekSheba’, a system where different government services are available, benefiting the villagers enormously.
The one-stop service centre ekSheba has been acting as a platform for providing all digital government services. Any service seeker is able to submit an online application by paying the fees online and check the latest status of his or her demand.
In the last six months, Haque has provided services to 7,200 people after the best use of the one-stop service centre supplementing the governmentrevenue worth around Tk 4.42 lakh. He has also earned Tk 65,000 from the services.
In the centre, in addition to providing different services including agriculture, land, health, education and legal aid, he provides computer training to the students and unemployed youths, which immensely helped them to be income-generators.
The digital centre was enriched with various need-based modern devices and machineries like computer, laptop, laser and colour printer, projector, modem, digital camera, scanner, IPS, UPS and photocopy machine.
“We have completed the works of 160 e-mutations in the last six months successfully,” said UDC entrepreneur Ziaul Haque, adding that the public sufferings and harassment related to land mutation and other necessary activities has been addressed through digitalization of land services.
Rafiqul Islam, 34, an online entrepreneur of Bazitpur village under Paba Upazila, earns around TK 10,000 per month on an average through delivering public services, including e-mutation and online application submission for jobs for the last couple of years.
He said nowadays public services have become easy and cost-effective to the public in general to a great extent as a result of the government’s time-fitting initiatives.
“I’ve done mutation of my newly purchased land through Huzripara UDC at a total cost of TK 1,450 within 25 days,” said Shirina Khatun, a resident of Radhanagar village under the same upazila.
Deputy Commissioner of Rajshahi Abdul Jalil said UDC entrepreneurs and the online entrepreneurs of the important upazila and union markets were given training on how to apply for e-mutation and people have started going to them to apply for e-mutation.
In the past, the villagers had to spend extra working hours, money and energy to get public services but promotion and uses of the modern facilities have removed their harassments and sufferings to a great extent.
After getting instruction from their respective higher authorities the service delivery of the public institutions are motivating and encouraging people to obtain their cherished services through using the automation system.
As one-stop shops which are serving rural people, UDC is a hallmark achievement of the government’s Digital Bangladesh which envisages using them to provide all public and private services to the villagers.
Prof Pronab Kumar Pandey of the Department of Public Administration in Rajshahi University said UDCs are generating a double return to society through the delivery of key public services, including online birth registration, exam registration and the social safety net programme.
Dr Humayun Kabir, Commissioner of Rajshahi division, said there are 563 Union Digital Centres, 61 municipality Digital Centres and 30 city digital centres in eight districts of the division contributing to reaching the public services to the doorsteps of the grass root people.
He said more than 1,100 entrepreneurs including 420 females are working in the centres.
In the wake of massive expansion of ICT based service delivery activities, work of the entrepreneurs has been enhanced to a great extent.
The most popular public services in UDCs are birth registration, citizen certificates, and registration for migrant workers. Some increasingly popular private services include mobile financial services, insurance, computer and vocational training.
In addition to the UDC entrepreneurs, large number of private entrepreneurs were given need-based training so that they can provide the public services to the commoners effectively and proficiently.
The a2i has been hosting the training continuously since its initiation.