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Internet problems impede G2C service delivery

NC study finds only seven of the 120 services were most availed

More than one in three community centres (CC) that cater Government to Citizen (G2C) services have Internet problem and suffer from system breakdowns, a National Council study on the access to, and use of G2C services by people revealed.

Of the 97 CC operators interviewed, more than 40 percent reported poor network connectivity as one of the major challenges in delivering services. About 20 percent of CCs lack adequate human resource and training, 16 percent reported that concerned agencies did not approve services on time and about 12 percent said the centres experience frequent power breakdown.

To assess services availed by both rural and urban population and review public services delivered through both the G2C portal and other conventional means, the National Council set up an 11-member ad hoc committee.

Committee chairperson and Pemagatshel NC member, Jigmi Rinzin said that of the 120 G2C online services, only seven services (5.8%) were most availed. Of the 1,201 respondents, 49 percent or 480-availed G2C services in the past year.

With 19.7 percent of respondents availing it, security clearance was the most common popular service applied online followed by birth registration (9.7%), household information such as family tree, gung, thram (7.7%) rural timber permit (6%), trade license renewal (5.3%), and firewood permit (4.8%).

The study found that almost 28 percent of the respondents were unaware of G2C services. “This group comprised of mostly women and farmers,” the chairperson said. “Unawareness is also related to the occupational group.”

The report also states that there was still two percent of civil servants (48 people) and four percent of LG officials (54) who reported to be unaware of G2C services. “Some 17.4 percent of respondents with high school level and above educational background reported that they were unaware of G2C services,” Jigmi Rinzin said.

In terms of time taken (in days) to deliver various online services, 93.4 percent reported that it was delivered in a day. Similarly, about 79 percent of those who have availed security clearance, 72 percent of those who availed firewood permit, and about 63 percent of those who have renewed trade licenses reported that they received services in a day.

But obtaining rural timber permit took longer with about 23 percent reporting that it took more than a week to a month while for about 13 percent, it took more than a month.

“The forests and park services department said that the turnaround time (TAT) for rural timber permits is 30 days, which indicates that 13 percent of respondents were unable to get their services within the TAT,” Jigmi Rinzin said. “That is what we should be concerned about.”

The respondents, in general, were satisfied with the online services provided to them. However, rural timber permit scored high among dissatisfied services (10%).

The survey found that people in general avail G2C services through offline mode and the kind of services that they avail largely remained the same. On the time taken to deliver offline services, a significant proportion of respondents said they got it in a day.

About 47 percent of those who renewed citizenship identity card reported that it took more than a month, the survey found. “Similarly, rural timber also took time with about 26 percent getting the permit within a month and 19 percent, after more than one month,” Jigmi Rinzin said.

The government has since November 2014 to date, launched 120 different e-services under various ministries and agencies.

Lhuentse NC member Tempa Dorji said there is a need to strengthen Internet and electricity connections to these centres and rural areas in general.

Trongsa NC member Tharchen said it is important to understand the ownership of the programme, which has undergone repeated shifts as the administration of the centres have been moved from Bhutan Post to the forest department and is now with to Bhutan Development Bank Ltd.

“In future, if the Prime Minister-elect is not so keen on these online services and does away with the office that’s attached to his office, then what?” he said.

The study made six recommendations on creating more awareness on the programmes, strengthening infrastructure, improve turnaround time, and human resource capacity of the CC operators.

The committee will work on the final recommendations based on the recommendations the members made yesterday during the deliberation.

The total sample size for the survey was set at 1,240 people – 800 in rural areas and 440 in urban areas. Besides, 97 CC operators were interviewed to understand their perceptions and challenges they face in providing G2C services to people.

Tshering Palden

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