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Going digital has been a godsend

Date: 28 March, 2023

Writer : Faisal Ahmed
Source : Dhaka Tribune

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

28 March, 2023
Writer : Faisal Ahmed
Source : Dhaka Tribune
· Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Going digital has been a godsend

Going digital has been a godsend

Analyzing the socio-economic impact of the digitization of public service and how it has saved citizens time, cost, and visits in accessing public services.

Bangladesh is a country that has undergone significant changes in recent years, particularly in terms of digital transformation. With increasing availability of technology, a growing awareness of its potential among the population, and the government’s efforts to support its development, this transformation shows no sign of stopping any time soon.

Bangladesh’s significant strides in recent years towards digitizing its public services must also be commended. This digitization of public services in Bangladesh has had several positive socio-economic impacts, including saving time, reducing costs, and minimizing the need for in-person visits(Together coined TCV).

One of the main benefits of digitization is the convenience it offers citizens. People no longer have to spend time waiting in long queues or making multiple visits to government offices to obtain public services.

Instead, they can access services online through various government portals and websites. This saves time and reduces the inconvenience of travelling to government offices, especially for people living in remote or rural areas.

Digitization has also reduced the cost of accessing public services. Previously, people had to spend money on transportation, photocopying documents, and other expenses related to obtaining public services.

With digitization, however, most services can be accessed online, reducing the need for physical visits and associated costs.

Up until December 2022, a2i has calculated the time, cost, and visits saved on 1,955 digital services belonging to 318 agencies and 39 ministries. Data shows that over 6 billion total services have been delivered from 1,955 unique digital services rendered by different ministries, departments, and agencies.

Because of the government’s digitization efforts, service recipients saved 16.83 billion days, $21.92 billion in cost, and 12.7 billion visits. Compared to the pre-digitalization state, the government’s existing digitalization and service simplification efforts saved 73% on time, 68% on cost, and 85% on the number of visits of service recipients.

In addition to these benefits, the digitization of public services has significantly impacted Bangladesh’s socio-economic development. It has improved transparency and accountability in government operations by making it easier to monitor the delivery of public services. This has led to increased trust and confidence in the government and its institutions, which is critical for promoting social and economic development.

The digitization of public services has also helped improve the efficiency of government operations. By automating processes, government agencies can now handle a larger volume of requests with greater speed and accuracy. This has reduced the time it takes to process applications and deliver services, resulting in increased productivity and better outcomes.

Furthermore, the digitization of public services has contributed to the growth of Bangladesh’s digital economy. It has created new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs to develop innovative products and services that can be integrated with government portals and websites. This has not only stimulated economic growth but has also helped create jobs in the technology sector.

The digital transformation of Bangladesh is also having a significant impact on the way that people interact and communicate with each other. With the widespread adoption of digital technologies, traditional forms of communication and social interaction are being transformed.

The digital transformation of Bangladesh is having an impact on the way that people access and consume information. With vast amounts of information available online, people are increasingly relying on digital media for news and information, which has the potential to shape their perceptions of the world.

At the same time, the rise of online platforms and e-commerce has made it easier for people to access goods and services from around the world, which is changing the way that people think about consumer culture and globalization.

However, with increased digitization also comes newer threats and risks. For example, while the rise of social media has created new platforms for political activism, it has also led to the spread of misinformation and hate speech.

Another key challenge is the lack of digital literacy among citizens, especially in rural areas. Many people do not have access to the internet or do not know how to use online services, making it difficult for them to access public services digitally. While there has been progress, the government must continue to invest in digital literacy programs and infrastructure to address this challenge.

We can say, however, that the digitization of public services in Bangladesh has had significant socio-economic impacts, including saving time, reducing costs, and improving transparency and efficiency in government operations. There are many challenges still to overcome, chief of which is increasing digital literacy among citizens and ensuring that they receive all the benefits digitization offers — and are not left behind.

Faisal Ahmed is Data Coordination Officer at a2i.

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