333 call centre has started its journey in Bangladesh to provide citizens with information on procedures of receiving public services. Anyone can dial helpline 333 from anywhere and receive information about government offices/ officers, tourist attractions, 64 districts and redressal of different social problems. Today, on April 12, 2018, Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser H.E. Mr. Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed, as chief guest, launched the call centre service (333) at the Prime Minister’s Office. Minister of Posts, Telecommunications, and Information Technology H.E. Mustafa Jabbar was present as the Guest of Honor. State Minister of Information & Communication Technology H.E. Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak M.P., Secretary (Co-ordination and Reforms) of the Cabinet Division Mr. N. M. Ziaul Alam and Acting Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office Mr. Sajjadul Hassan were present as special guests. The launching ceremony was chaired by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Md. Nojibur Rahman.

In his speech, Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed said- “Our dream and electoral pledge was to achieve “Digital Bangladesh” by 2021. Access to Information, Prime Minister’s Office was the first to take on the responsibility of implementing “Digital Bangladesh.” We could present “Digital Bangladesh” to our nation two to three years ahead of its time because of our speed of work and a2i’s relentless effort.” Main objective of “Digital Bangladesh” was to reach out to rural citizens with government services. And to attain the goal, we had introduced digital centres at union level as well as 3G and 4G networks in the country. Citizens will not have to go to government offices, services will come at citizens’ fingertip. Now our target is to turn Bangladesh into a “Developed Country” by 2041. It is believed that Awami League will be able to attain it ahead of its time, if the citizens of the country keeps voting “Awami League.”

According to Honorable Minister, Mustafa Jabbar, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications, and Information Technology- “The dream we had of turning our nation into a “Digital” one was a far-fetched dream. The journey of turning an agro-based nation into a digital one had always remained a very difficult and it was possible to achieve it ahead of its time because of everyone’ relentless effort. With the call centre 333, information and government services is now available to citizens 24/7 a day, 365 days a year and is likely to reach a new height in terms of achieving Digital Bangladesh. “

Managing Director and CEO of Robi Axiata Limited said- “Robi is proud of being one of the strategic partners of Government’s 333 initiative. He believes that 333 will be able to provide information and government services to citizens 24/7 a day. 333 will also significantly play a positive role in providing essential government services to citizens’ fingertip. Digital Bangladesh is expecting to deliver 24/7 citizen services and 333 is likely to create opportunities to meet that expectation.”

333 has started its journey with the motto “Government information and services, anytime”. Locals can anytime 24/7 dial to 333 and NRBs can dial to 09666789333 to receive information on the procedures of receiving public services, contact information of people’s representatives and government employees, tourist attractions of different areas, and detailed information about different districts. Also citizens can now inform about and complain against different social problems, and get response from Deputy Commissioners and Upazila Nirbahi Officers themselves. Furthermore, using this helpline, they can seek assistance from Deputy Commissioners and Upazila Nirbahi Officers during disasters. Initially, the call centre service was piloted in all 64 districts of Bangladesh by the Access to Information (a2i) Programme. Under the piloting, over 6 lakh citizens have received different information services until March 2018. Among these, over 4,000 social problems have been addressed by Deputy Commissioners and Upazila Nirbahi Officers, including 541 cases of food adulteration, 431 cases of child marriage, and 391 cases of illegal drugs distribution. To ensure sustainability of the service, a2i has already provided hands-on training on operation related issues of 333 to one Additional Deputy Commissioner, three Upazila Nirbahi Officers, and one Assistant Commissioner in every district.  Robi Axiata Ltd. (the country’s second largest private mobile operator company) and Genex Infosys Ltd (one of the country’s strongest call center service providers) are providing technical assistance to operate the call centre.

Gradually, the services of different ministries will be incorporated in this call centre, and the entrepreneurs at over 5,000 digital centres will be engaged so that people could also receive services from them. In addition, new features, like SMS, IVR, USSD code based services, Live chat, and Social media will be added to the call centre. Apart from providing information and services, this call centre will be used as a medium of promoting public services. With the help of this call centre, every citizen of the country can be brought under the coverage of public services. This will effectively reduce citizen’s time, cost and hassle in receiving information on public services and remedy to social problems.

Among others, Director General of Prime Minister’s Office and Project Director of a2i Programme Mr. K. M. Ali Azam, a2i’s Policy Adviser Mr. Anir Chowdhury, Robi’s CEO Mr. Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, Genex’s Managing Director Mr. Adnan Imam, National Consultant and a2i’s project lead for ‘333’ Mr. Mohammad Ashraful Amin (Senior Assistant Secretary), senior officials from different ministries, and media personnel were present at the event.