Over the last few decades, governments have been offering many different services through digital platforms. However, public service delivery, especially when it comes to e-services, often suffers from the negative ramifications of decentralization. As in many other developing countries, different e-governance services in Bangladesh are autonomous and separate, each requiring a different user login and separate application processing. Coupled with the discrepancies in digital literacy among the population and civil servants, decentralization makes it hard for both the users and the government to keep track of various applications on different platforms. It also creates issues related to accountability and transparency.
Towards a Solution
The Government of Bangladesh has been pursuing an Integrated Service Delivery Platform (ISDP) to create a citizen-centric digital platform through which all necessary services can be delivered to the public. In short, this ISDP, which offers special access modes regardless of device, time or place, is known as ‘myGov.’ It has been built as a centralized platform that provides digital services from numerous government organizations on a single platform. The platform uses technology in the most cost-effective way to ensure it contributes to:
- Substantially reducing corruption and bribery in all their forms
- Developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
- Ensuring responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
- Ensuring public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms
The ‘myGov’ digital innovation follows seven steps for the rapid digitalization of government services. In step 1, the organization whose services will be digitized is selected by a2i implementation team. Then an introductory meeting is held in the presence of senior officials of the Ministries to give a comprehensive idea about myGov platform. At this stage, necessary information is collected from service-providing government officials about the services and resource persons from concerned ministries are selected to conduct the digitization activities successfully.
In step 2, technical personnel of a2i with the help of ministry resource persons analyse public services one by one using myGov service analysis tools. Here the services that qualify to be included in the myGov platform are selected. This level determines which process engine (myGov own process engine, e-filing process engine or 3rd party system integration) will be used to digitize services.
In step 3, services are digitized one by one. An application form is created here, and the corresponding process engine is attached to the application form as per the design prescribed in step two. Services that have been digitized in step 3 are rechecked in step 4. Errors are corrected at this step.
In step 5, digitized services are officially launched through an inauguration ceremony where Ministers and high officials of the concern ministries are present. In this step, a2i and the concerned Ministry organize several trainings to enhance the skills of government officials providing services to ensure their efficient delivery. Various traditional and social media are used to inform the service recipients on how to get the desired services. One should mention that a service recipient can apply for the service himself/herself on the MyGov platform and also with the help of myGov agents and 333 call centre agents.
In step 6, post-development intensive care provides smooth service delivery to ensure user satisfaction and further development. In this step, an IT support management (ITSM) firm has been hired to ensure maximum effectiveness in the management of the system.
There is scope for continuous development of the system through ongoing reviewing of the user feedback. Thus step 7 ensures the sustainability of existing digital services where the respective organizations play a crucial role in using clients’ feedback and other myGov tools.
To date, over 10 million individuals have visited the myGov site. Over 3 million have registered on the platform to obtain government services. Over 2 million applications have been received and 22,74,072 have been processed on the myGov platform. The assumption is that almost 50 to 60 million people will receive government services through the myGov platform every year once the digitization of services of all ministries is completed by 2023.
The myGov platform has successfully simplified and unified government services, boosted the digital transformation, ensured continuous improvement of services, increased government transparency and accountability, ensured a cultural shift in public service management and increased public trust in government through different myGov tools (Service Tracker, Dashboard, Reports, Client’s feedback, Poll, Survey, Grievance Redress System, UDC/333 agents etc.) which ultimately reduce time, cost and visits of service recipients. In conclusion one premise is certain – the platform will be sustainable in the medium- and long-term.
Since myGov adds simplicity to provide citizen centric public service, the global interest for this is noteworthy. As part of knowledge and experience sharing facilitated under South South Cooperation, the myGov platform was replicated in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Republic of Philippines; in collaboration with Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG) and with support from UNDP Philippines as Digital Bangsamoro. The Digital Bangsamoro was launched in World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) in 2021.