IGSA workshop held in Rangpur
Speakers in a workshop held at Rangpur on ‘Inclusive Governance and Social Accountability (IGSA)’ said, the present government of Bangladesh is well aware to ensure inclusive governance and social accountability so that people can be served with utmost care and concern. The day-long workshop was held on 20 June 2019 at a city hotel in Rangpur organized by Platforms for Dialogue (P4D), a European Union funded project in partnership with the Cabinet Division and implemented through the British Council.
About 170 government officials of various local tiers of Rangpur division attended the workshop where Mr N M Zeaul Alam, Secretary, ICT Division of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was the Chief Guest. The inaugural session of the workshop was presided over by Mr Sultan Ahmed, Additional Secretary of Cabinet Division and also the Project Director of P4D.
In his speech, Mr N M Zeaul Alam stressed accountability in the functions of various institutions. “Without accountability, democracy cannot comprehensively be functional,” he said. Mr Alam also stressed the people’s participation in the decision-making process so that they feel they are the owners of the state. P4D will contribute more to enhancing inclusive governance, he expected.
Mr Sultan Ahmed urged the government officials to be more aware of accomplishing good governance along with ensuring social responsibilities. Without people’s participation and inclusive governance, democracy would become meaningless, he opined. He also forewarns government officials by uttering that establishing good governance is very much critical in a country like Bangladesh.
Ms Jessica Magson, Project Director, P4D from British Council, said, “Bangladesh should assure good governance at any cost to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as some of its schemes are directly related to good governance.” P4D project works here in Bangladesh to reach this mileage, she added.
In his speech, Mr K. M. Tariqul Islam, Commissioner of Rangpur Division expressed his anticipation that this project would significantly benefit the people of this country. He emphasized the positive mindset from both the service providers and service receivers to foster social accountability.
Mr Arsen Stepanyan, team leader of P4D, detailed the project activities, objectives and expected results. He said, to facilitate a constructive dialogue, P4D is working with five policy instruments: Citizen’s Charters, Right to Information Act, National Integrity Strategy, Grievance Redressing System, and Annual Performance Agreement. The P4D project is facilitating the civil society and the government by developing the capacity of the service providers, Mr Arsen added.
In the working session, the second part of the workshop, N M Ziaul Alam, Secretary, ICT division presented the keynote where he detailed the concepts of the inclusive governance system and the role of P4D project in fostering this process in Bangladesh.
After the presentation, an interactive session was held where the participating government officers shared their confusion and queries in implementing good governance through proper utilization of the aforesaid social accountability tools. The keynote speaker answered the questions and provided them with necessary way forwards.
After the interactive session on the keynote presentation, the participants were divided into small groups for brainstorming in two thematic areas: Grievance Readdressing System (GRS) and Citizen Charters (CC). All the groups were assigned to explore the challenges of the GRS and CC implementation as well as to suggest effective way outs to address the emerging challenges.
At their group presentations, the participants came out with challenges they faced and the way outs to ensure social accountability.
• Lack of proper education of both the service providers and clients
• Negative mind setup of both the groups –the service providers and the service recipients
• Lack of awareness regarding Citizen Charter and Grievance Redressing System
• Absence of open door solution
• Lack of training on ICT
• Lack of effective monitoring system
• Regular discussion and dialogue between government service providers and citizens
• Researching effective service delivery system
• Keeping opinion box at every government office
• Instant feedback system
• Establishing monitoring cell
• More publicity on how to access government services
• Building a positive attitude among public service providers
• Initiating third-party monitoring system in the government offices
• Arranging public hearing
• People’s participation in formulating annual work plan and budget preparation
• Sensitization about RTI and GRS
• Maintaining GRS register in all the government offices
• Displaying Digital Monitoring Board at every government office containing GRS updates
• Introducing the inter-departmental e-filling system
• Practising fair political activities
After the group presentations, Mr Sultan Ahmed concluded the program by expressing to achieve a milestone in good governance and social accountability throughout this project. IGSA is a priority for the government, he remarked.