Three digital one –stop platforms for Pourashava services inaugurated

Staff Correspondent, Barta24,com, Dhaka
Sajeeb Wazed Joy, Photo: Collected

Sajeeb Wazed Joy, Photo: Collected

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Three digital one-stop platforms -- Eksheba, Ekpay and Ekshop -- to enable people to get different government services and pay utility bills and fees were launched on Sunday (Oct.20).

Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy launched the platforms in a ceremony organized by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) division at the ICT Tower in Dhaka.

The platforms were developed by the Access to Information (a2i) program under the ICT division.

By 2021, the government plans to deliver majority of the citizen services through the mobile phone or union digital centers, said Joy at the launching ceremony.

Using the Ekpay platform citizens will be able to pay all kinds of utility bills, tuition fees for education and other government payments like holding taxes easily. The citizens will also get nine types of certificates digitally through his is own smart phones or service points.

Currently, EkPay is offering bill payment solutions to over 50 assisted agents and more than 50,000 syndicated agents.

Some 15 banks have already been integrated with the platform and more than 30 service providers are currently allowing their customers to pay bills with their cards, bank accounts including internet banking, mobile financial services, among other options.

Currently, there are just six options, but in the coming days more and more options will be integrated with the payment gateways and all the banks will be connected, said Rezwanul Haque Jami, head of commercialization at a2i.

“This service will bring relief to users. They will no longer need to go from one bank to another to pay their utility bills, which can now be done with a few taps on one’s mobile phone,” Jami added.

Ekshop is a platform for buying and selling and thousands of remote product developers are connected with it.

Anyone can upload their product information after getting listed with the platform, while buyers can also purchase products from popular online shopping houses.

Some 16 leading e-commerce platforms are now listed with the platforms while about 10 lakh products are being showcased. Users will also get support from the government’s union digital centres to buy and sell their products.

The platform has logistics and payment facilities incorporated, so it will be easy the get any kind of online shopping related support from here.

Sellers also can sell their products to other countries through the platform, which has already partnered with a Malaysian company, according to Jami.

Within a short time, this service will be launched in Singapore, Nepal and 21 other countries, said a2i officers.

Joy also launched an online service delivery gateway Eksheba, which has 167 government services on board and a2i has targeted to place more than 3,000 services here.

Using this program platform users can browse all government websites, apply for online services and verify other government services. Any fees or charges related with the services can be paid directly from the platform, a2i officials added.

Jami said they have developed an interconnected architecture for digital services that will help citizens to get government services easily and also save their time and money.

“In future this architecture will bring new innovations,” Jami added.

LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam, State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak, ICT Division Senior Secretary NM Zeaul Alam and South Korean Ambassador in Dhaka Hu Kang-il addressed the function.

At the same program Joy also unveiled the digital municipality services system to provide five citizen services in Mymensingh City Corporation and nine municipalities including Faridpur, Goplaganj and Pirganj under the pilot program.

The government has targeted to reach 300 municipalities by 2021. Joy went on to term the launch of the digital services as ‘buildings blocks’ to implementing the Digital Bangladesh vision.

Bangladesh has moved up to the 115th spot in the e-government development index of the United Nations among 193 countries. Ten years ago Bangladesh’s position was 162nd.

He also expressed his optimism that the country would be able to move another 50 notches ahead in the next five years in the e-government index.

Korea International Cooperation Agency helped the ICT division to formulate the e-government master plan that was also unveiled at the event.