The Access to Information (a2i) program is a pioneering initiative of the Government of Bangladesh that aims to transform the country through the use of digital technology and innovation. Launched in 2007, a2i is a joint venture between the government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that focuses on developing innovative solutions to social and economic challenges faced by the country.
The vision of a2i is to create a digital Bangladesh where citizens can access government services and information quickly, easily, and affordably. The program seeks to promote transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in governance by using technology to improve service delivery, reduce corruption and enhance efficiency.
One of the key objectives of a2i is to establish digital centers or “Union Information and Service Centers” (UISCs) in every union in the country. These centers are equipped with computers, printers, scanners, and internet connectivity, and offer a range of services to citizens, including online birth registration, e-commerce, online education, health information, and agricultural information.
a2i has also developed a number of innovative projects to improve governance and service delivery in Bangladesh. For instance, the “Digital Land Management System” is a web-based platform that allows citizens to access information on land ownership, transfer, and registration. The “E-TIN” project provides an online tax identification number system that simplifies tax registration and payment procedures for businesses.
Another major initiative of a2i is the “E-Government Procurement” system, which allows government agencies to procure goods and services online, thereby reducing the time and cost of procurement and ensuring transparency and accountability in the process.
a2i has received international recognition for its innovative approach to governance and service delivery. In 2015, the program won the United Nations Public Service Award for its “Digital Bangladesh” initiative, which aims to provide basic services to citizens through the use of mobile technology.
The success of a2i can be attributed to its strong focus on innovation, collaboration, and citizen engagement. The program has forged partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, including government agencies, civil society organizations, private sector companies, and international development partners.
a2i has demonstrated that digital technology can be a powerful tool for social and economic transformation, and has set an example for other countries in the region and beyond. The program’s vision of a digital Bangladesh where citizens have access to quality services and information is gradually becoming a reality, thanks to its innovative and collaborative approach to development.