The motion to bring community information centres (CIC) under the gewog administration didn’t get through at the National Assembly yesterday.

Of the 43 Member Parliaments (MPs), 17 voted for the motion while 24 MPs voted against it and two abstained.

Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi, said people had problems availing services from the centres. “The operation of CICs were not streamlined and there were glitches in providing services to the people.”

He said that while about 200 online services were available only about four services were provided. “CICs need to be brought under gewog administration to streamline the services.”

CICs would have been brought under gewog administrations by July 1, had the motion passed.

Dragten Langthil MP, Gyem Dorji said it was important that these services were provided to people. “CICs are meant to provide people with instant services and it was established in the 10th Plan as one window service for the people.”

However, CICs being pushed back and forth may not solve the problem. “If CICs are brought under the gewogs, would it enhance the quality of services? It would be more beneficial if services were strengthened and more people were engaged in providing services.”

Tashichhoeling MP Dil Maya Rai said that while participating in a local government support programme during 2012 and 2013, she had the opportunity to meet the people. “One of the concerns the people shared was that during vacation, when students wanted to access emails or avail any other Internet services, people had to wear formal dress as the CICs were inside the gewog administration compound.”

Maenbi Tsaenkhar MP, Choki Gyeltshen said that during the local government elections in 2016, all forms had to be brought from CICs. “However, staff of the CICs don’t come on time and when we asked Gups on this, they had no authority.”

He said that in general, these services were to be provided to people on time but CICs were closed and services unavailable.

Information and communications minister Karma Donnen Wangdi, said the CICs were established in 2010 to deliver four kinds of services to people namely, G2C services, business e-citizen services, banking services and offline services. “The government also has a project called Digital Drukyul which is also geared to provide IT related services in the 12th Plan.”

He said that from the services a total of about Nu5.8 million (m) was earned in 2017.  “Expenditure of about Nu34.7m was incurred and there was a loss of about Nu 28.9m.”

The main concern was providing quality services to people on time, he said. “BDBL also requested a subsidy of Nu376 million for five years. It is important to provide services as there is no good system.”

Lyonpo Karma Donnen Wangdi requested for time to look into the issue and assess it.

Opposition leader Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) said that if efficient services were needed, local government should be given the responsibility. “Local government is closer to the people and that it is an important institution.”

Prime Minister, Dr Lotay Tshering said the decentralisation policy was not about placing all responsibilities on the local government. “We need to work to provide easy and efficient services to the people.”

Everyone agrees, he said, that quality services needed to be provided to people on time, he said. “However, I feel that good research has not been conducted yet. At the moment, we need to look at the core reasons like why quality services were not being provided to people?”

He said that while meeting with about 18 gups, they mentioned about the inconsistency of Internet services being the main problem.

Rinchen Zangmo