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Create a harmonized system of public websites that reduce the hassle, time and costs incurred by citizens in accessing and availing government information and services.
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I

Empowering citizens’, particularly the underserved

In the backwaters of the rural areas of Bogra in Bangladesh, young Rahim stood confused between paying a hefty amount to an “immigration broker” for migrating to the dream land of Malaysia, and leaving his hopes for a bright future ahead and joining his poor farmer father in cultivating others’ lands for a living. One day, a big brother from the neighborhood, took him to a nearby UDC and showed him a website. Starting from information about application for migration to Malaysia to applying for government jobs, this portal had all the information he needs! He no longer has to run after dubious brokers for the information and the opportunities he needs. He has finally found his Midas Touch!

Impact of the National Portal

While a typical villager had to travel to the district government office about 40km away multiple time to get a certified copy of land records, she can now apply for it online and receive doorstep delivery of the document. Thus reducing time from 30 days to 16 days, cost from USD 3.3 to about USD 1 and the number of visits required to the government office from 5 to zero

In recognition of these remarkable achievements, Bangladesh received the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Award from ITU in 2014 and 2015 for best use of ICT for information and service delivery to the underserved

Challenges addressed

With only a small fraction of the 27,000 offices being endowed with functional websites, the web presence of Bangladesh public service was fragmented, and insignificant, at best.

In addition to the non- standard way the information was represented across the websites, most of the information focused mostly on internal departmental information that did not take account of the citizens’ perspectives. Hence, most government websites suffered from old, sometimes irrelevant and incorrect information, differing significantly both in structure and design.

In addition to posing various problems in matters related to accessibility, information sharing and integration of data across the websites, the existing websites were not RTI-compliant, resulting in the government’s inability to utilize existing resources to uphold RTI Act for proactive information disclosure.

National web Portal Framework addresses these problems and limitations focusing on the free flow of information from grass-root to ministry level. From its inception till now, the websites of 25000+ government organizations have been threaded in a single platform through this framework to ensure easy accessibility of information for citizens, and uniform online presence of all government organizations on the internet.

More benefits for citizens

From the citizens’ perspective the NPF ensures the utmost user friendliness while browsing information across all levels of government offices, representing one of the biggest information ecosystems in the entire world

In addition to containing elaborate information of all development activities and projects of the government that are put in here to ensure transparency and accountability, NPF highlights activities that are in compliance with the RTI Act such as- the name and designation of the information officers, their duties, the laws relating to human rights. NPF allows the government to implement proactive information disclosure mandated by the RTI Act.

Way forward

At present, this framework contains about 2.1 million contents that are being continuously checked and updated. In the future, technologies such as Natural Language Processing and Accessibility will be integrated with the platform to ensure accessibility and availability of information to every citizen in Bangladesh

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