Technology is transforming governance landscape in Punjab, report by World Bank

Faisal Saeed Written by Faisal Saeed · 2 min read>
Arfa Software Technology Park

The Government of Punjab with the help of the Punjab Public Management Reform Program (PPMRP) has been working to modernize the digital services in Pakistan. This reforms will help to improve administrative services, transform citizens’ experience and boost public employee performance and public resource management system, as reported in a blog post of World Bank.

The technology is transforming our world faster and Pakistan has now over 64 million internet users and 62 million people are connected to mobile data services. With this much presence over the internet, the Pakistanis demand better digital services from their government.

Previously, the Punjab government was facing several challenges in delivering better public services, which in turn impacted the social outcomes in the province. The health sector performance was too affected by the absence of vaccinators, which further resulted in a low immunization rate in Punjab. Same was the case with the education and agriculture departments, where the absence of teachers, students, and agriculture workers affected the process in the field.

Access to public services

The Government of Punjab under the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013, has become more open and accountable through various technology solutions. Citizens can now easily access information related to policies, institutions, procedures and investment projects on the website of 84 provincial public entities. This also includes government administrative departments, attached bodies, hospitals, and universities.

Citizens can acquire information regarding the processes and procedures of selected services through a 24/7 “Citizens Contact Portal” currently established in Lahore.

PPMRP is also helping to facilitate the online application and processing of other government services including registering a vehicle, paying for stamps, collecting agriculture subsidies, and applying for a government job or college admissions.

Smart Management to upgrade staff performance

The PPMRP with smart management tools is helping government department to improve their staff performance and overall user experience. For instance, with the help of smartphone applications and central dashboards, you can track and analyze the activities of hundreds of field workers in the education, health and agriculture departments more effectively.

Moreover, with the user’s feedback facility, this data helped to identify the low performing areas and also to apply remedial measures.

In the health field, the E-VACCS has helped to tackle the absence of field vaccinators by locating their daily activities and activity routes, in-turn enabling the management of health department to check whether the vaccination has reached the remote areas or not.

Due to this effective management system, the immunization coverage saw a rise from 49% in 2014 to 84% in 2017. Similar management tools have helped to monitor the staff performance in the schools and agriculture sector as well.

Digitizing tax collection

The PPMRP has also improved the technology to collect taxes in a more effective way thus expanding the tax base and improving transparency in the process. The old manual cadastres of the urban properties have been completely digitized, thereby adding one million new properties to the tax base.

See also: FBR tests AI-powered online tax collection system to end corruption

Moreover, the system has helped in issuing digital tax invoices and provided an online tax calculator and online property title verification system. People can also access detailed information about their transactions and can find out when the payments are due.

As a result, in Punjab, the urban property tax receipts have increased by 115 percent since 2013. These smart technology reforms have helped to improve the governance landscape in Punjab and brought the government services a step closer to citizens.