The launching of the G2C Wallet allows online payments for public services for the first time 

Tech: In a development that marks another major transition towards e-governance, an online payment system for G2C (government to citizen) services, the G2C Wallet, was launched, yesterday.

The G2C Wallet, which can be accessed only by Bank of Bhutan B-Wallet users for now, will allow citizens to pay for two Thimphu thromde services during a pilot phase. The two services are for the vacuum tanker and occupancy certificate.

Three more Thimphu thromde services are expected to be included in the next few weeks.

While the Thimphu thromde G2C services was only recently launched, which meant residents could apply for thromde services online, it still required them to travel to the thromde office to pay for the services.

With the G2C Wallet, the entire process is now completely online.

There are more than 70 G2C services that require a fee to be paid. The fees ranged from as little as Nu 100 to as much as Nu 15,000. Without the ability to pay online, some of these services despite being developed are not available online, and citizens still have to travel to a government office to pay the fee, even if they were able to obtain the service online.

“Around 70 services require fee payment and in absence of an online payment system, the services haven’t gone online,” G2C Office’s Lungten Zangmo said.” With various initiatives on the payment options, additional services are expected to go online, she added.

The bottleneck in making more G2C services has been the lack of an online payment system.

While an e-payment gateway that will integrate G2C services is currently being developed by the Department of Information Technology and Telecom, the first phase of the project will be ready only by June, next year.

“Hence, the primary objective of taking up this initiative was to explore the available alternatives in the market and see how best the payment options would facilitate service delivery,” it is stated in a G2C office press release.

Another challenge will be to make payment possible through other avenues like internet banking or mobile applications, like the Bank of Bhutan’s M-BoB. Lungten Zangmo said that payments would eventually become available through other online methods.

Plans are underway to include more G2C services but issues remain to be ironed out.

“The public services need to comply to the government accounting and revenue system, which has so far deterred the adoption of an online payment system,” Lungten Zangmo said.

“Upon successful launch of the G2C wallet, the G2C Office will be adding on more Thimphu Thromde services to the system. Further, we hope to roll out the online payment system in the rest of the Thromdes,” it is pointed out in the G2C Office press release.

“Our ultimate aim is to have all G2C services delivered by various government agencies, requiring payment modality to be integrated into the G2C wallet,” it is added. “Therefore, we hope that this achievement with Thimphu Thromde remains an inspiration for the other Thromdes as well as all government agencies to emulate.”

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, who launched the G2C Wallet, said that government agencies that do not exploit technology to improve public service delivery would do so at their own risk.

“The launch of the G2C wallet represents a milestone in public service delivery since for the first time the payment of a government service can be done online using an online payment system,” Lyonchen said. “Thereafter, I hope that government agencies delivering G2C services leverage on such innovative and efficient ways of delivering services or risk being left behind.”

Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay also pointed out that the G2C Wallet would reduce the possibilities of corruption, and not waste people’s time in having to look for offices or wait for officials.

He added that the Prime Minister’s Office is monitoring the application processing times of government agencies providing G2C services and that he would be aware of which agencies are not handling applications on time.

The G2C Wallet was developed jointly by the G2C Office, Bhutan Telecom and Thimphu thromde.

Its development was supported by the Government of India’s Project Tied Assistance Automate G2C and G2B (government to business) project.

“The G2C Wallet is a small leap for a giant plan,” Lungten Zangmo said.

Gyalsten K Dorji