The Financial Express

Providing incomplete information

Providing incomplete information

Not providing full or adequate information or providing confusing and misleading information to someone who seeks service at a public office or any related setup is a long practice in this country. Despite a number of measures to make the service delivery efficient, information gap is a big problem for a large number of service recipients especially those who are poor and marginalised.  Every day they have to face unnecessary difficulty and harassment for not getting the right information or receiving wrong or incomplete information. 

When someone goes to land office, he or she has to face non-cooperation from the staff in many cases.  It takes a long time for him or her to get the necessary information. The office staff does not want to provide the complete information and some even look for an opportunity to extract unearned money from the service recipient. Those who go to pay the annual rent also sometimes face difficulty due to information gap. Though the government has strictly ordered to provide clear information without any delay, a large number of land office in the country is yet to comply with the order. To get the required information, people sometimes rely on brokers and spend extra amount of money. Usually they have to visit the office twice or thrice to get the right information and complete the work.

Again, a number of people face unnecessary harassment in state-owned commercial banks (SCBs). Officials and staff in most of the branches of these banks are indifferent to providing information properly. The delay in getting information sometimes subjects the service recipient to harassment and trouble. The least said about waste of valuable time the better.  Not that the bank staff demand any speed money to provide information and service. For some unknown reasons, some of them express their negative attitude towards the customers.

Those who go to tax offices also face similar problem in many cases. Though tax officers are in general cooperative, many of their subordinate employees are not ready to provide adequate information. A few of them even give tax payers or service recipients unnecessary anxious moments and even a fright.

Passport office is another terrible place. Though all the general rules are clearly written and displayed, people need some specific information and don't get it easily. The employees or staff are used to paying little heed to the passport seekers.

The list is long and the sufferings of the people are unwarranted but those are mostly unreported or underreported. Even when senior officials or the authorities concerned come to know about the sufferings due to lack or gap of information, they intervene little or remain indifferent in most of the cases. 

It is, however, difficult to comprehend in most of the cases why many of the officials, staff and employees don't want to provide accurate and full information needed by service receivers. There is not always a matter of money extraction or underhand transaction.  It appears that some socio-psychological factors are active there.  Some of the officials and staff are driven by the power they have enjoyed and eager to display it. Again, some of them express their implicit grievance by not providing information.  Whatever may be the factor, one thing is clear that withholding information proves costly and ordinary citizens are paying the cost.



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