Officials involved with the land management system are reluctant to digitalize its services, governance watchdog Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has said in a new report titled “Union Digital Center in citizen services: Role, possibilities and challenges.”
Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, made the remark during the report publishing ceremony at Meghdoot Conference Room of TIB on Sunday.
He said: “A part of the land management sector does not want the system to be entirely digitalized as they will not be able to earn illegally and corruption will decrease drastically.”
According to the report, citizens are being able to avail service without being victims of corruption at the Union Digital Centers (UDC) under the areas where land records have been digitalized.
On the other hand, 56% of service seekers were forced to pay Tk737 on average as bribe to retrieve their registration records in land offices at the district level.
The service-seekers have not faced any financial corruption in UDCs but UDCs do not provide land registrations. The officials said the land registration service was not open in UDCs because all the land offices in the country do not have UDC facility yet.
The government introduced Union and Service Centers in 2009 with the aim of increasing access to services at the grassroots and better transparency and accountability. In 2014 they were renamed to UDC. These one-stop service centers are essentially micro-enterprises run by ‘citizen entrepreneurs’ – one male and one female, in tandem with elected local government representatives.
The UDCs surveyed in this study stayed open six days a week and nine hours a day on average. Almost all of the service-seekers, 93.2%, said they found UDC officials at the premises.
According to data from December 2016, on an average each center provided services to 26 people every day.
The majority of service-seekers, 71.8%, were there to get a birth registration.