10 months ago

Grievance Redress System—II

Govt promise-bound to send e-file to all UZs by June

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With e-governance as ultimate end in view, the government has a plan to take the so-far-little-known Grievance Redress System (GRS) to upazila level across the country by December next.

To this end, it expects to send e-file (e-Nothi) to all upazilas by June 2023 to implement the system on a full scale and make it more useful, official sources said.

Terming the system time-befitting in this era of digital dispensation of services in all spheres of life and business, stakeholders said the government should focus on completing the training of all the related officials to make the system work effectively in a people-friendly manner.

In 2022, Secondary and Higher Secondary Division under the Ministry of Education received the highest 860 complaints while Law and Justice Division stood second getting 754 grievances, according to a2i data.

The top ten government organisations having received most grievances are Secondary and Higher Secondary Division, Law and Justice Division, the Ministry of Land, the Ministry of Public Administration, Road Transport and Highways Division, Technical and Madrasah Education Division, Financial Institutions Division, the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Finance Division and Local Government Division.

The Cabinet Division and a2i jointly with the support from the UNDP launched a pilot project in this regard in the backwoods of Sadar and Asashuni upazilas of Satkhira district mainly to make the system easier and people-friendly.

Talking to the FE correspondent, Md Shamsul Arefin, Secretary, Coordination and Reforms, Cabinet Division, hoped that the government would be able to launch the GRS in the remote areas across the country by this coming December.

"The government started a project in Satkhira to have firsthand experiences from the on-going Satkhira project which will help groom and launch the countrywide network to bring it to the union levels," he said.

Apart from this, the government is trying to find out people's grievances over getting services and how to satisfy them, Mr Arefin explains.

Through this project evaluation out and out, the services will be launched properly across the country in the coming days, he hinted.

The a2i project director, Dr Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir, appears upbeat about the ultimate outcome of their exercises. He hopes a full-fledged and more people-friendly system will be ensured from June 2023 as the government will ensure sending e-file (e-Nothi) to all upazilas by then.

Only 35 complaints had been made through the system until January 21 this year, Mr Humayun told the FE.

Since September 2021, the government has made the system easier and more user-friendly through anonymous complaint-filing system without providing their contact number.

"Thereafter, the government offices are receiving more complaints as no one is compelled to submit their contacts with the complaints," says the PD.

Terming the complaints lesser, he said most people, including the poor, illiterate and people who do not use smartphones, have yet to learn about the system and how to file a complaint hassle-free.

People who are poor and use buttons or analogue phones in the area are now able to lodge their complaints through calling 333, he said.

They are getting huge response from the pilot project, he noted.

Citing the number of total complaints as poor, Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik(Shujan) Secretary Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar said as early as the expansion of the system in the remote areas are completed, the benefits of the people will be greater.

"A good number of people are yet to know the system and the services, which should be addressed faster," Mr Majumdar suggests.

He also hopes for government's goodwill, good-motive and citizen-centric approach to ensure and establish the citizens' rights in this regard.

Terming the system a positive step for protecting citizens' rights and making government officials accountable for their services, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director (ED) Dr Iftekharuzzaman said volume of the system is yet to be thrived and groomed as per desired level.

"Having feedback and taking lessons from the existing system, the government should expand it to remote areas across the country," he said.

Dr Zaman stressed the need for creating massive awareness among people about the latter-day innovation on public grievance mitigation about government service delivery, traditionally fraught with malpractices in cases.

"It is not actually palpable after going through the provided data whether or not people are actually getting their complaints settled as per their expected service," says the country representative of the Berlin-based international anti-graft watchdog.

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