Online Environment Clearance Certificate

Environment Clearance goes online for greater usage and better monitoring

Re-engineering the application process for Environmental Clearance Certificate to be accessed online 24/7 by anyone from anywhere making the service simple, accessible, transparent, accountable and responsive. Show more

D

emand- and supply-side problems with the manual application system

Amanat, owner of a crop drying yard in Savar, Dhaka district, had to produce an environment clearance certificate when seeking bank loan. Though the Environment Protection Law in Bangladesh mandates holding an environment clearance certificate for establishment of any kind of (small, medium and large) factories, Amanat has been reluctant to apply for it owing to the extremely hassle some, expensive, and time consuming process involved.

Multiple factors surrounding the manual application process for Environment Clearance Certificate of the Department of Environment (DoE) under the Ministry of Environment and Forests were responsible for this counter-productive behavior:

  • With only 42 offices covering more than 4,500 unions in Bangladesh, the applicants for the certificate had to cover long distances that could be as much as 150 kilometers.
  • The application form had a complex and rigid structure with minimal instructions allowing for confusion among the applicants and created chances of missing out on providing supporting documents.
  • Outdated document collection and management system created chances of documents getting lost or destroyed.
  • Absence of an application tracking system restricted the management from conducting performance measurement of its employees and created chances of corruption and bribery.
  • The manual process of certificate renewal meant re-submitting all the documents that were submitted when applying for new certificate.

Even though the industrial growth rate in Bangladesh was close to double digit figures, the DoE was receiving only 560 applications for this certificate every month.

Process innovation resulting in easier, better, responsive service delivery

The DoE understood that by continuing with the complex and time-consuming manual process, it was not only missing out on the latent revenue of the potential applicants who would have otherwise applied for this certificate, but also jeopardizing the chances of meeting SDGs 9 and 13.

It was at this point when the DoE applied for and received a2i’s Service Innovation Fund to develop a web-based Environmental Clearance Certificate Application System (www.ecc.doe.gov.bd) that could be accessed round-the-clock via internet connectivity by anyone from anywhere. Now entrepreneurs like Amanat could self-guide themselves to fill and submit a simple, online web form with scan copy for all necessary documents attached. Even if by chance Amanat had missed a supporting document, he would receive a notification SMS telling him exactly which document he has missed out and where to make those available thus negating interference by middlemen. The entire application processing system can be smartly tracked allowing for the management to do random performance checks. When the certificate is ready, a notification SMS and an email are sent with address of the office from where it is to be collected.

The Department of Environment has thus re-engineered the ECC application system making it more transparent, accessible, accountable and user-friendly resulting in 200% more applications and 20%/57%/33% decrease in time/cost/visit respectively within 7 months of its launching, doubling its revenue and demonstrating visible progress on SDGs 9 & 13.

Cases and Stories


Department of Environment’s online based service enhancement

Amanat Ali has been running a CHATAL (crop drying yard) near Savar for the last five years. He used to be a farmer in his native and he went through severe hardship…

Department of Environment’s online based service enhancement

Amanat Ali has been running a CHATAL (crop drying yard) near Savar for the last five years.  He used to be a farmer in his native and he went through severe hardship on his earlier days to save money for this business investment. “The much I saved was not enough. I had to take a bank loan too.” Amanat Ali shared, “The legal procedures are very difficult. I had to collect so many documents and papers for loan application especially the environment clearance certificate.” Amanat Ali had to face many hassles in getting the environment clearance certificate. He said, “I had to visit the DOE office more than 5 times just to get the certificate. I missed out few things that needed to be submitted so had to revisit. Then again the delivery was not on time so I had to return empty handed twice. It was such a trouble.” Similar complaints were found from few more organizations. Access to Information (A2I) Programme has been playing a critical role in revolutionizing public service delivery in Bangladesh. Service Innovation Fund (SIF) under A2I has been facilitating innovators with required support for the development purpose. One of the fund recipients is the Department of Environment (DoE), Ministry of Environment and Forest. The fund has been provided to set-up local area network (LAN) in five regional (divisional) offices of DoE, develop and maintain software that will enable end-users to apply and get online environment clearance certificate. “This new system will be really helpful for me to renew my environment clearance certificate. This will save me lots of time and unnecessary visit expense.” said the very pleased Amanat Ali.

Bangladesh is lagging a decade behind when it comes to technological advancement. Majority of the documentation, especially in the government sector, are yet persisted manually and the work processes are very hectic for people. Department of Environment (DoE) manages some vital aspects of the society but they are not operating in advanced methods which are neither cost effective nor rapid to meet the public demand. Numerous applications and permits get piled up due to the tedious manual process. Citizens are the sufferers.

The online based system is expected to be more dynamic and less arduous. It will strengthen monitoring and enforcement activities. Data won’t be lost anymore and the renewal system will be easier. Anyone from anywhere in Bangladesh is now able to avail DoE’s services. The clients are able to track progress of the process online and through SMS without any hassle of visiting any office physically, thus reducing time taken to receive services. Henceforth, this resulted in a better monitoring and transparent system. The applicant will be notified about delivery details through email and sms. The most satisfying outcome of the project was the introduction of the online application system. The manual application process was difficult and lengthy whereas the online system is a breath of relief with less complicacy and more efficiency.

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