Civil service becoming technology friendly
There was a time when the customers paying the revenue would jump in front of the electricity office at 10 o’clock. Soon there was a queue of customers in the customs rooms of each ward. Customers would wait for hours to pay the tariff. We had to wait in line for the next day.
It shows the state of public service up to a few years ago. Shows how much the general public was overwhelmed by the cumbersome and cumbersome service flow. Today that situation has changed.
The same electricity office has also become an example of how different it can be to make the public service provided by the state technology friendly.
According to Shiv Narayan Goshali, head of the Nepal Electricity Authority’s Baglung distribution center, 45 percent of customers now pay their tariffs online. Customers can make payments from the banking system at home.
“With the introduction of online payments, the office is no longer crowded with customers,” said Goshali. He said that the NEA has also introduced a system for electronic payment by meter reading in the Covid-19 epidemic.
NEA has provided the service online as it was not possible for the meter reader to reach the customer’s house due to the ban and ban. Goshali said that applications for new meter connection can also be submitted online.
Most of the services provided by the Inland Revenue Office are also based on the online system. Ishwar Prasad Joshi, tax officer of the office, said that 90 percent of the services have gone online.
“Only for limited work like business registration, name change and cancellation, the service recipient should be physically present in the office, otherwise all other work will be done online,” he said.
Joshi said that all kinds of taxes / revenue including excise duty, income tax, value added tax, advance tax can be paid through the online system.
According to him, the work of renewing and registering the license of the trader dealing in excise duty can be done online from the current fiscal year. Tax payment certificate, personal details of the taxpayer have also been taken to the same system. There is also an arrangement to apply online for a personal permanent account number (PAN).
“After completing the formalities and filling up the online form, the page number goes to the email or mobile of the person concerned,” said Joshi. The service recipients also have the facility to correct and verify the errors and shortcomings while taking the online service.
According to the office, the number of taxpayers using online medium has been increasing since Covid-19. The use of information and technology has reduced the congestion in the office and the service recipients have started getting easy and fast service. The time and cost for the service recipients to visit the office has also been reduced.
Taxpayer Parshuram Subedi said that he had to wait in line all day to get the service but now it has been removed. “You don’t have to go to the revenue office now to use the technology, everything is done online,” he said. Subedi said that the service recipients themselves should show interest and readiness to learn online technology.
The Transportation Management Office, which is crowded with service seekers, is also following the technology. Now you don’t have to go to the office to apply for a driver’s license, it can be given online. The driver can also check on the website whether his ‘license’ has come or not.
“The biometric details of all the service recipients have been kept in the online system,” said Parsingh Thapa, head of the office. He said that the billbook of the vehicle is also being renewed online.
“This service is also starting soon in Baglung. Now the billbook can be renewed from home. You don’t have to turn over the old one,” Thapa said.
Administrative Officer at the District Administration Office, Suryalal BK, said that the concept of public management is being practiced to streamline the service flow. “The aim is to make the system paperless, but it has both opportunities and challenges,” he said.
He also said that good practices of the private sector should be adopted to make public services accessible, hassle-free and fast.
He said that there is a challenge to go for paperless (digital) system of governance due to geographical location, economic and social reasons. According to BK, not all service recipients have access to technology.
“We are still process-oriented, the old ways are being repeated in new practices, the work culture is old-fashioned, there are some policy complexities,” he said.
He said that the state has the responsibility to manage efficient human resources along with the availability of technology to make the service flow effective. The district administration office is also becoming customer friendly. Citizenship will be granted to the general public within 15 minutes if the formal documents are received.
Personal details and documents submitted while applying for citizenship are also collected in the online system. The office is also collecting applications for national identity cards.
The survey office, which is more frequented by the general public, has also started adopting ‘digital’ technology in service delivery. Map printing, land allotment and mapping are done by computer technology.
As a result, the service flow has become smoother and the workload of the employees has decreased. Land Revenue and other government offices have also shown readiness in technology-friendly services. The local level is also trying to streamline the services provided through thematic branches.
Chairman of Tarakhola Village Municipality, Prakash Gharti, said that the local level called ‘Singha Durbar of the village’ should provide quality service to the basic level citizens. “Old-fashioned thinking and style does not improve the quality of service delivery,” he said.
Chief District Officer Shiva Kumar Karki said that the people’s trust in the government’s mechanism will increase only if the public service is made clean and people-oriented. He said that public service should be made efficient, effective and accessible.
“The civil service is also called a permanent government. It should always be accountable to the people,” Karki said.
He said that the working environment in government offices should also be comfortable. Karki said that the office is providing services using technology as per the information and technology policy of the state.
“Government offices should continue to increase the use of information and technology to provide quality services to the citizens in a timely manner,” he said.
Lately, state investment has been increasing to make public services modern technology friendly. The government is moving towards the goal of ‘Digital Nepal’. रासस