Thromde launches 10 online public services

It has also automated its revenue and asset systems and upgraded its accounting system to improve efficiency

G2C: Thimphu residents can now apply online for some thromde services like obtaining a new water supply or calling the vacuum truck to clean their sewage tank.

The thromde launched ten G2C (government to citizen) online services (see box) yesterday.

Instead of going to the thromde office, residents can simply visit the G2C website (www.citizenservices.gov.bt), fill in a form and submit it. Once submitted, applicants can track the status of their application.

The submitted application will be visible on a common forum to all necessary thromde officials and the concerned one will have to “claim” it. This official will then have to communicate with the relevant division responsible for the applied service and assign the task to the person who will carry out the work.

For instance, if a building occupancy certificate is applied for, the official who claims the application will assign a building inspector to go and check the infrastructure. If found satisfactory, the applicant is then called to the thromde office and provided a certificate.

The traditional method would have been for the applicant to travel to the thromde office, fill in a hard copy form, submit it to the customer service division and then return after a week. The risk of the application getting lost was also a possibility.

“That process took almost a month,” Thimphu thromde ICT officer, Oma Pati Luitel. “Now, if all officials are on duty, they can issue within one-two hours,” he said, referring to the building occupancy certificate.

In what should further ensure quick turnaround or response time, the 10 services have also been integrated into the eDesk system, which will allow the Prime Minister’s Office to monitor the length of time applications are processed by the thromde.

The online system is also expected to eliminate favouritism by thromde officials, where previously personal connections could help in applicants jumping the queue and getting faster service delivery.

However, with no e-payment gateway, applicants will still have to physically come to the thromde office to pay for services in cash or cheque.

Oma Pati Luitel said that the second phase is to enable e-payments using a similar system to Bhutan Telecom’s B-Wallet. The ICT officer said the thromde and Bhutan Telecom are already working on creating the system. He added that the G2C office and Bhutan Telecom are also working on a mobile application that will allow for online payments. However, he was unable to provide a time frame of when the e-payment services would become available.

Besides the G2C services, the thromde has also digitalised and automated two other systems: revenue management and asset registration.

Oma Pati Luitel said that until now, revenue records like tax and service payments were maintained in physical ledgers that are subject to damage, resulting in inaccurate data and an inability to track whether payments had been made or not. “But now we’ve all the records,” he said, adding that defaulters can now be easily identified and penalised. Records will be backed up in a second server and protected by a firewall.

The system also allows for thromde officials to instantly access records of Thimphu asset owners after being provided with a citizenship identification number, instead of physically going through ledgers. Thromde officials would also be able to inform citizens with information such as how much and when their next tax payment is due.

In the second phase of development, it is expected that asset owners will be notified by SMS when their tax payments are nearing.

10 online thromde services1. Building construction

2. Building occupancy certificate

3. New water line connection

4. Water pipe line shifting

5. Main water pipe line shifting

6. Disconnection and reconnection of water

7. Replacement of water metre

8. Upgrading or downsizing of water connection capacity

9. Sewer connection to main sewer line

10. Sewage vacuum tanker services

The thromde has also upgraded its accounting and pay roll system.

Oma Pati Luitel explained that the previous accounting systems being used were out-dated and not suited for an income-generating agency. For instance, the thromde was unable to use the system to even generate a profit and loss statement automatically.

“Profit and loss is just a click now,” Oma Pati Luitel said.

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that the new accounting system would allow thromde officials to be paid based on their performance. “We want employees to be paid well.” He added that as the thromde is a service-oriented agency that interacts directly with the public, good performance has to be recognised and rewarded.

G2C office head, Sonam P Thaye, said that the collaboration with the thromde was an example of a successful partnership. “Agencies should not work in silos, we need to break down barriers that exist between agencies, we need to work together in an interconnected way and symbiotic manner,” she said.

By Gyalsten K Dorji

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