Business services go online

This is part of the government’s commitment towards efficient public service delivery

eGov: You can now apply for a business license online and get it approved within a short period of time.

This is just one of 34 online Government to Business (G2B) services, which the government launched yesterday. The services include issuance of new license, renewal, change of license for micro trade, retail, wholesale, cottage and industry, among other services.

The online G2B services pertain to a wide range of services provided by the departments of Trade, Small and Cottage Scale Industry, and Industry under the economic affairs ministry.

This is part of Prime Minister Tshering (PM) Tobgay’s commitment towards enhancing accountability and efficient public service delivery. The online services, which were under the Prime Minister’s Office, were handed over to the Ministry of Economic Affairs following the launch.

Upon online submission of the documents and subsequent verification by the economic affairs ministry, the applicant will receive a system generated text message through the G2C SMS gateway to visit the nearest regional trade and industry office for collection of their certificate and to make their payments.

A demonstration of how one can apply for a business license was held at the regional trade and industry office (RTIO) in Samdrupjongkhar and was shown live via Skype to the Prime Minister, and other officials at the launch in Thimphu. The whole process from application to approval was completed within minutes.

Speaking at the launch, Lyonchoen stated it is no longer acceptable for the business community to endure long waiting lines and frequent visits to government offices that are anchored on a paper-based and personality driven system. He said that an important impact of this system worth noting is on accountability and transparency.

Lyonchoen also expressed optimism that the introduction of the online services would help curb corruption. “Online system will reduce the interface with public officials, which in turn will promote accountability and transparency – the basic tenets of democracy,” Lyonchoen said.

The government believes the launch of the 34 online G2B services is a significant milestone as government to business services are going online for the first time. It is also significant due to the number of the services.

With the launch, the expected outcomes are reduction of waiting time for the business community, streamlining of procedures and overall improvement in public service delivery in line with the mandate of the G2C Office.

The next step for the G2C Office is to integrate the 34 G2B services with the PM’s eDesk, an online monitoring tool, for effective monitoring and continuity of the services to the business community.

Lyonchoen said economic development was crucial for self-reliance, for which he said the government has identified “five jewels”. He was upbeat that he is presiding over a much-improved economy today.

“Today, loans and Indian Rupees are easily available, which was not the case a few years back,” he said. He added that Bhutan’s “ease of doing business” rank has improved significantly to 71 in the world.

“Banks are also lowering their interest rates. I hope all these would contribute to economic development,” Lyonchoen said.

The development of the online system has been supported by the Government of India.

MB Subba

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