Category Archives: Open Governance/E-Government/Right to Information

Major progress in e-bidding

Major progress in e-bidding

Rejaul Karim Byron

An electronic payment system will be introduced in February as a major breakthrough in the government bidding system, freeing the process of corruption and hassles.

The Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) of the planning ministry yesterday held final discussions with Bangladesh Bank and 12 commercial banks on the new system.

A high official of CPTU said the government is going to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the scheduled banks by the end of this month.

In the first phase of the electronic government procurement (e-GP) system, the contractors have to go to a CPTU-approved bank to pay cash, demand drafts of pay orders to sign up for the system, CPTU said.

The contractors must download tender documents and process tender security or bank guarantees.

In the second phase, there are possibilities of opening various channels such as ATM, debit card, credit card or internet banking.

In the second phase, CPTU will sit with respective e-payment providers for further discussion, the official said.

A Bangladesh Bank official told the meeting that the central bank is going to introduce the e-payment gateway which will enable the contractors to make payments staying home.

The meeting also discussed charges for e-payment and decided that the banks will fix their service charges but Bangladesh Bank may interfere to ensure that does not vary too much from bank to bank.

The headquarters of banks need to instruct their respective branches to receive e-payment, CPTU said. Banks agreed that after signing the MoU they would request their branches to receive e-payment through the e-GP dashboard.

CPTU informed banks that every bank should engage one appropriate focal person for this project, who will act on behalf of the bank and coordinate with CPTU as required.

Secretary of the IME Division Md Habib Ullah Majumder presided over the meeting organised by the CPTU. Director General of CPTU Amulya Kumar Debnath, Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank Nazneen Sultana, and CPTU Director Aziz Taher Khan were present on the occasion.

Representatives from different banks including Janata, Sonali, Agrani, Uttara, Pubali, National, Dutch-Bangla, UCBL, Krishi Bank and Islami Bank also attended the meeting.

The CPTU made a presentation on e-payment options in the e-GP system in the meeting. The bank representatives discussed the existing payment system, its capacity and how they can be involved in the process of electronic payment.

The CPTU is implementing the Public Procurement Reform Project-II (PPRP-II) supported by the World Bank. The e-GP, one of the four components of the PPRP-II, is going to be introduced initially at four target agencies — LGED, REB, WDB and RHD.


e-governance from next month: Yeafesh

e-governance from next month: Yeafesh

DHAKA, Dec 29: In line with the government’s vision to build Digital Bangladesh by 2021, the much-awaited e- governance is going to be implemented in the country from next month, State Minister for Science and Information and Communica-tion Technology Architect Yeafesh Osman said today. “With the implementation of e-governance, all government works will be digitalized, reducing dependence on paper documents,” he said while inaugurating the Digital ICT Fair-2010 at Multiplan Computer City at Elephant Road in the city.

After the framing of ICT Policy-2009, he said, 306 action plans have been undertaken so far and the government is working fast to execute those plans.

Listing various government measures for building Digital Bangladesh, the state minister said online tender and payment system at all government offices will be introduced soon to check corruption as well as ensure transparency and accountability in the government activities.

He called upon all to work like a team, saying that if the government and people work unitedly, all achievements could be possible.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Maj Gen (retd) Zia Ahmed stressed the need for rapid expansion of ICT sector in the country and said with the increase in the number of internet users, trade and export also rise.

Govt to introduce e-GP system by next year

Govt to introduce e-GP system by next year
FE Report

The government will introduce e-government procurement (e-GP) system by 2011 to make the public procurement process more dynamic and modern in the country.

The central procurement technical unit (CPTU) of implementation monitoring and evaluation department (IMED) of the Planning Ministry will implement e-GP under its Public Procurement Reform Project (PPRP-II) with support of the World Bank.

To implement the new system, a contract on e-GP system development and implementation was signed between CPTU and GSS America Infotech Ltd, India at the Planning Ministry on Monday.

CAG to post audit reports online

CAG to post audit reports online

Star Business Report

The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) plans to post audit reports on its website, allowing people a wider access to the documents, said CAG Ahmed Ataul Hakeem yesterday.

Hakeem said he would first submit the reports to the president. The posting of the audit reports on the web will help citizens see the government expenditure procedures, he added.

“Until now, no audit report has been posted on the web in Bangladesh,” said Hakeem who inaugurated a three-day training for journalists on “Understanding Contents of CAG Audit Reports” at his office in Dhaka.

If necessary, the CAG office will also relay other vital information to the Anticorruption Commission, Hakeem added.

He said corruption in public offices could be reduced significantly if the government implements auditor recommendations.

Hakeem also said he will take steps to enhance journalists’ access to the CAG office, so that they can collect information to be published in newspapers and disseminate important information to the public.

USAID PROGATI, in collaboration with the office of CAG, and Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI) organised the training for business journalists on audit related activities.

AKM Jashim Uddin, director general of Commercial Audit, Hasibur Rahman, executive director of MRDI, and Ralph Frammolino, a consultant, also spoke.

E-governance project starts next month

E-governance project starts next month
Bss, Dhaka

The government has taken a three-year plan to bring all departments, agencies and associated organizations run by the ministries under e-governance, a state-of-the-art service delivery system.

Under the scheme, a central data centre (CDC) will be set up and be connected to offices of deputy commissioners (DCs), Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs) in all 64 districts, according to the science and ICT ministry.

State Minister for Science and ICT Yeafesh Osman told the news agency that a project styled `Development of National ICT Infra-Network for Bangladesh Government ( has been taken up.

Osman said the Korean government agreed to provide Taka 273 crore as soft loan with 0.50pc interest rate for the project that will be implemented during 2010-12.

The project will have inter-connectivity in all ministries with a special focus on the e-governance system, the minister said and expressed his hope that the project would help make a `Digital Bangladesh’.

The main objective of the venture is to build a basic infrastructure to impart IT literacy to the officials and employees under all ministries resulting in developing a skilled manpower in Bangladesh.

Talking to the news agency, Executive Director of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCS), an organisation run under the science and ICT ministry, M Mahfuzur Rahman said they are expecting to take off the project next month as necessary preparations are now nearing completion.

He said district level ICT centre will be set up during 2010-11 and at upazila level in the period of 2011-12.

E-governance is an information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled service delivery system that rocked the governing systems in the world to a degree by achieving good governance.

Experts say the e-governance project will have people’s participation by ensuring transparency, shortened service delivery, poverty alleviation, curbing corruption and strengthening democratic practices.

RTI changing rural lives

RTI changing rural lives

Community learning centre at Chanderhat Ganokendra, Narsingdi.

Z.A.M. Khairuzzaman

THE Right to Information (RTI) Act, which completes nine months in the statute books in November, is reaching the rural areas too, where villagers have access to services provided by different government (GO) and non-government organisations (NGO).

The Uttar Shilmandi (Daripara) village in Narsingdi district is one such example. Most of the villagers are either marginal farmers or manual labourers. In view of a variety of structural disadvantages, i.e. illiteracy, malnutrition, and social complications, they fail to progress. After the enactment of the RTI Act, people are being provided with necessary information on rural development programs, agricultural extension and utilities as well as information on social development, such as health, education, finance, legal etc.

The Chanderhat Ganokendra, a community learning centre established by Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), a major NGO, has been addressing the information needs of the rural population and spreading awareness about the Act. As a result, villagers are gradually waking up to the power of RTI.

Chanderhat provides “one-stop” access to various information resources to benefit the disadvantaged community. “Villagers have started seeking information related to their problems,” DAM Regional Coordinator Tapan Kumar Sarker said.

The centre provides linkage services of government and non-government organisations. It has become the heart of the poor community. From here, they get easy access to different services.

During a visit to the Ganokendra, this correspondent noticed that villagers, most of whom were ultra-poor, had lined up to receive services from various centres located at the Ganokendro. The centres included an immunisation centre run by the government’s Health Directorate, a nutrition centre of Vard, a satellite clinic of the government’s Family Planning Directorate and Surjomukhi Mohila Unnyan Dal, which is managed by Village Development Society.

People learn about their rights, such as their right to health, work, legal system, and various public services including VGF card, elderly allowance and widow allowance, said Hasina Begum and Masuda Akhter, two members of the Ganokendro.

Inspired residents of the village questioned the school administration about the studies of their children. The school administration immediately replied to their queries.

Chanderhat helps people get their children admitted to schools, discourages school dropouts, improves the standard of literacy, sets up sanitary latrines, prevents child marriage and dowry, provides health care service, helps in birth and marriage registration, and motivates people to improve the social atmosphere.

Its activities are being supervised by an executive committee elected from among its members, 60% of whom are women. People’s drama, essay competition, poetry recital, debate, rally are also held at the centre, where people also bring out wall magazines.

The Papri Community Resource Centre (CRC), another resource centre at Moddhya Shilamandi, also renders similar services to the rural poor. This correspondent observed that a group of youth were undergoing an elementary computer training course for free to increase their capacity for employment.

This has been possible due to launching of ACCESS Project of DAM, which is funded by CORDAID of the Netherlands.

The project was launched in January, 2007, and will continue till December, 2009. The program is being implemented through 553 Ganokendros and 23 CRCs of 44 unions in eight upazilas of eight districts. A total of 55,300 people are being benefited under the project, resulting in improvement in their lifestyle.

Earlier, people had a tough time in getting VGD-VGF cards, elderly allowance, disabled allowance and other essential services in the project areas. But this year, 3,525 people got VGD cards, 34, 216 VGF cards, 7,048 elderly allowance, 859 disabled allowance while 12,673 got elementary education. Not only that, 671 school dropouts were readmitted to school and 25 child marriages were prevented.

Apart from this, 227 received computer training, 47 attained mobile servicing skills, 15 were imparted honey cultivation training, 6,311 others were provided with necessary information relating to health, agriculture and livelihood, 129 got government forms, 660 were connected to service-oriented organisations through cell phone and 240 others were provided with results of public examinations, job information and e-mailing through Internet services.

Moreover, special programs were implemented in six villages of six upazilas in nine different areas with a view to create illiteracy-free villages.

Computer training was imparted to villagers through 23 community resource centres of 23 unions in six districts.

The project has created a positive change in the backward areas.

According to ACCESS Project Coordinator Komol Kumar Joarder, this is a way to empower poor villagers. It is like a lifeline to rural Bangladesh. DAM has shown great potential to transform the life of rural society, he said.

All unions to be under internet network by 2012

All unions to be under internet network by 2012
UP bill tabled giving govt huge control

All Union Parishads (UPs), the country’s lowest tire of administration, will be brought under online networking system and connected to information super highway by the year 2012 as the Local Government Division will set up Union Information Service (UIS) centres at all unions.

Local Government Division (LGD) Secretary Monzur Hossain Monday told BSS that the government has decided to set up UIS at all 4,498 unions with computers and internet connections for realising the vision of building digital Bangladesh.

Under the project, 100 UIS will be set by end of this year, 2,000 by 2010, 3,000 by 2011 and rest of within 2012, the LGD secretary said.

The site selections for first 100 centres have already been completed and 31 centres have started the activities under the project on trial basis, he said.

The project formally to be launched in the next month will be a landmark in efforts to digitise the country’s governance system from the grassroots to highest levels, the secretary said.

The LGD would appoint two computer service providers, one male and one woman from local youth for the centre, which will also serve the government’s commitment of creating employment.

Before appointing, the computer service operators will be provided information technology (IT) training as they could easily browse the internet as per the requirement of the rural people.

Farmers and rural entrepreneurs can collect various information of farming and prices of essentials through this UIS with minimal service charge.

The UIS is expected to change the scenario of rural Bangladesh as it will definitely create momentum in the rural economy through ensuring both way flow of information at grassroots level, Monzur said.

National Institute of Local Government (NILG) Director Prasanta Kumar Roy said, the UIS would be built by the own fund of the UPs, allocated from the Local Government Support (LGS) Project.

Meanwhile, adds: Parliament saw the Local Government (Union Parishad) Bill 2009 tabled Monday that proposes handing the central government much control over the lowest tier of local government.

The House also passed the Local Government (Pourashova) Act 2009, which empowers local MPs to be advisers to the pourashova or municipalities, but MPs’ suggestions will not be mandatory for the local government bodies to follow.