Friday, June 17, 2011
Here is your One-Stop-Shop
As the monsoon rains begin to wreck havoc in the region, showers of achievements aplenty were not only highlighted but also detailed with impressive figures by the Prime Minister in response to the Opposition Leader’s query of one-stop service centers. The question was simple enough: “Would the Hon’ble PM please explain the status of the Government’s “one stop service centre”? Which services can our citizens currently avail from a single counter, without having to run from office to office?” The Opposition Leader asked.
The Prime Minister response was a barrage of impressive facts and figures capable of convincing even the most cynical lot. There was the philosophical bent on the pain of now being able to provide the comfort and the necessary services to each and every citizen. That people still faced great hardship and the insurmountable task of providing equity. It bodes well that the lack of services in an equitable manner was admitted as a frustrating problem, but in the end, it is nothing new as the poor and the vulnerable are and have always been the first casualty – both in times of peace and prosperity and in times of war and hardship, together with the ‘truth’.
The Prime Minster explained the service as delivering government services quickly at the convenience of the citizen, at the least cost, with transparency and in an equitable way without having to depend on those who have power and influence. The fear here is the same old fear of rosy rhetoric without the presence of thorns that prick the poorest sections of any society the most. The Prime Minister was adamant. He explained that upon assuming the role of governance, the present government issued directives to make services transparent, efficient, cheaper and qualitatively better as well as equitable. Some of the challenges to the service stops were security risks, questionable personnel, misuse etc. In fact, that is why there are complicated procedures. Therefore, the need to make sure that all these are considered even as we speed up services was the call. But here again one wonders about the many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in between the ‘yes we can’.
Here are some of the salient bullet points.
1) The easy online services on the health front.
2) Easier access to education by removing unnecessary and burdensome documents.
3) Making security clearances a tad less cumbersome and speeding it up.
4) Empowering Dzongdags to issue Lhakhang renovation approvals and timber authorizations.
5) Empowering DFOs and Beat Officers in issuing wood, sand, timber etc.
6) Better information and employment for the youth.
7) Labor improved upon in terms of security and processes.
8) Easier licensing for means of livelihood.
9) Fast passport services.
10) A speeding service delivery RASTA
11) RAA online audit clearance.
12) Tourism’s sustainable growth, jobs and revenue.
13) Capital for farmers from BDFC.
Forming the G2C project with the mandate to identify services, delivery and accessible.
The Prime Minster concluded what was a veritable list with the kicker that fiber optic lines will connect 131 gewogs by July 2012 with 18 Dzongkhags having been already connected, and the rest by the end of the Plan period.
Needless to say, these are good tidings for the common citizenry. Some of the plans seem a tad too ambitious, specifically the services pertaining to ICT. After all, how many Bhutanese actually own a computer? But that’s besides the concern. The proof of the pudding will come when the rhetoric becomes a working reality when the majority of the masses at the bottom of the food chain can walk out of an office with a smile on their faces. Right now there is a look of bewilderment.