e-Local Government Vision 2025
Local government institutions are the cornerstones of democracy and constitutionally mandated to provide a range of important utility services to citizens. However, for several institutional and political factors the service delivery system in local government has remained ineffective, inaccessible and inefficient for years. Many developing countries including India, Malaysia, Srilanka are harnessing the power of Information and Communication Technologies to enhance the accessibility and efficiency of local government service delivery. In case of Bangladesh, although a few e.Governance initiatives were taken at the national level, local government institutions has yet to receive the due attention. The aim is to explore the use of ICT in:
i) Bringing institutional reform to empower local government bodies.
ii) Enabling citizens’ participation in decision making.
iii) Establishing citizen’s right to entitled information.
With that in mind, by 2025 we envision:
- All local government bodies truly autonomous, transparent and accountable, technologically equipped political institutions, based on fair and just democratic participation and competition.
- Establishment of a decision making process that would respond to local needs and expectations. Citizens irrespective of gender, caste and belief will be provided with a platform for deliberation and communication on all policy issues.
- ‘One-Stop-Center’ for all utility services, including agriculture input and information, primary health care, primary education, drinking water and sanitation, electricity, building and housing, town/village security along with existing services.
- All local government institutions would persuade digital democracy through the use of appropriate and sustainable technology.
ICT in Local Government:
It is found that application of ICTs can really play a meaningful role in service delivery and decision making and can help establish e-Local Government- based on the principal of digital democracy. Analysis of national and international experiences and views of different actors show that there are some strategic areas where ICT can bring positive changes. Following are few such areas-
- Access to Public Record: ICT can facilitate digital record keeping system, online file tracking system; online form submission system, digitally accessible database of all necessary rules- regulations, meeting minutes, budget data etc.
- Efficient Service Delivery: Application of ICTs can take LGIs closer to people. For example, previously, a citizen had to physically come to Dhaka City Corporation office to collect a trade license form or a birth registration certificate. After installation of the official web site of DCC, a citizen can now remotely access these forms/documents and easily download from the website.
- Electronic Bill Payment: Electricity bill payment through mobile phone has recently been introduced by PDB, Chittagong. This type of ICT application can spare citizens from standing in line and ensure data accuracy.
- Globalization: ICTs can help the LGIs to cope with the globalization process. It can develop online network among the LGI officials within and outside the country for exchanging new ideas, innovations and experiences.
- Research: ICT provides access to resources from various national and international sources with ease.
- Coordination: Application of ICTs can help achieving higher level of interoperability among interconnected and interdependent government and local government agencies.
Factors for establishing successful e-Governance:
Establishing e-Governance in local government institutions is a far reaching reform program which requires reorganization of not only technological and financial system but also knowledge, attitude and perception of all stakeholders including citizens. For a successful implementation of e-Local Government, there has to be:
1. Political will
2. Climate of trust
3. Legal and institutional reforms
4. Process re-engineering
5. Resource mobilization
6. Public-private-community partnership
7. Awareness building
8. Human resource development
Some Actions for Immediate Response:
Ø Bring changes in the respective local government ordinances to incorporate development and compliance of Citizen Charter as one of their mandatory functions.
Ø Make available the citizen charter in all possible formats including CDs, web links, electronic (where applicable) and non-electronic billboards in the respective local government units.
Ø Develop an interactive web portal through which, citizens can monitor the compliance of citizen charter; how service requests received, how many addressed, how many complaints received and what kind of steps taken to redress complaints etc.
Ø Automate all processes for internal management by using Management Information System which includes software development for personnel management, system, performance evaluation, budgeting, etc. in all city corporations, paurashavas, upazila and union parishads.
Ø Digitize all service databases including client’s information and service information of all city corporations, paurashavas, upazila and union parishads.
Ø Develop software and digital database supported Decision Support System for all all city corporations, paurashavas, upazila and union parishads.
Ø Provide training to LGIs in ICT use and applications.
Ø Establish interactive websites in all City Corporation and Paurashava offices with features, enabling citizens to track status of service request application, register complaints, put comments on upcoming policies, contact officials etc.
Ø Establish of Community-Digital-Center in 4886 UPs in all districts throughout the country including fiber optic internet connection.