Digital corruption and analog mentality of city councillors hinder a2i initiatives
DESPITE having a clear guideline issued from the Local Government Division, entrepreneurs under the government's a2i programme are not getting proper support due to lack of coordination with ward councillors. Even they are harassed by the councillors when they attempted to open "digital centres" under the project. However, they were supposed to be provided with an office alongside the councillors' by the city corporation. Many of them have set up separate office spaces on their own, from where they are running Dhaka's digital services.
There are 92 a2i entrepreneurs under the two city corporations' 129 Wards. There are 52 entrepreneurs in DSCC's 75 Wards and 41 in DNCC's 54 Wards. The a2i programme and the local administration are supposed to choose entrepreneurs to provide digital services to citizens, such as filing job applications online, making online payments for passport, trade license, etc. in exchange for a fixed rate. Entrepreneurs alleged that computers, laptops, printers and other equipment were provided by a2i and city corporations two years ago, but they didn't get those as the councillors' offices kept those. The two city mayors of Dhaka have plans to strengthen the digital centres. Soon DSCC will hold an introduction meeting with the councillors and entrepreneurs so that both parties have a strong connection.
The government introduced the digital centres to ensure hassle-free services at every corner but the reluctance of city authorities, the unwillingness of Ward councillors, and lack of proper monitoring wane the good initiative, like many others. As a2i is a programme under Prime Minister Office, we ask the a2i to reveal the real conditions and why people still final to get proper service at proper time at fixed fees. They must find the loopholes of the system and prepare appropriate actions to plug in the loopholes, thus citizens can get access to public service. The most buzzed Digital Bangladesh slogan waned due to digital corruption and analog mentality. We must say all systems should be pro-people and for people.