e-Nothi (Electronic filing system) is the single online platform for 19,000 government offices and 1,50,000 officials to serve the 160 million people of Bangladesh. e-Nothi is one of the most important interventions to facilitate the Digital Bangladesh initiative by ensuring e-administration under e-governance in the government arena. The ultimate goal of e-Nothi is to ensure "Paperless Government" by 2021.
As part of actualising "Vision-2021", the government has emphasised the Digital Bangladesh initiative, and so far, tremendous progress has been made in making more and more services available at the doorsteps of the people with increased digitalisation wherever possible.
The present government has expressed its firm determination to establish "a modern, technology-efficient, corruption-free, patriotic and mass-oriented administrative system" through "ending delay in decision-making and implementation, corruption, bureaucratic complexities and all harassments" in the 2018 election manifesto.
Furthermore, the ICT Act 2006 (amended in 2009 and 2013), Secretariat Instruction 2014, National ICT Policy 2015 (amended in 2018) also provided a legal obligation for electronic filing management system.
Using e-Nothi assists in achieving the SDG goal 16.6 i.e. "develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels" too.
Keeping these factors in mind, the Access to Information Programme (a2i) under the ICT Division with the guidance of the Cabinet Division has launched an e-filing (e-Nothi) solution for ensuring faster movement of files through the different layers in government offices with increased transparency throughout the organisation and increased accountability in governance.
It has been driven by an overarching philosophy to put citizens first by means of cutting red tape, improving service delivery, engaging public sector employees, and getting faster results for citizens.
The e-Nothi system aims at making the government administrative duties more efficient and effortless along with the goal of establishing paperless government offices while diminishing the present time-consuming, complex and corruption-prone manual filing process.
In order to implement e-Nothi in all government offices countrywide, several gazettes have been circulated by the Cabinet Division and the highest marks in e-nothi indicators are allocated in the Annual Performance Agreement to foster the use of e-nothi for effective file management and record-keeping so that it can ensure transparency, accountability and dynamism in public administration.
Transparency and accountability are ensured through a customisable smart monitoring dashboard.
Present Implementation Status
The use of e-Nothi in government offices started in March 2016 and has seen steady exponential growth.
Effectiveness of e-Nothi system
An impact study on e-Nothi has revealed the following results:
According to the figure, the effectiveness of the e-Nothi system is as follows:
- The e-Nothi system made quick disposal of files allowing additional time for civil servants that they can spend now on carrying out other responsibilities
- The system has increased accountability and transparency and decreased red-tape
- The system reduces required number of visits to the senior officer's room that decreases hassle and helps concentrate on citizen service delivery
- As it is easy to locate the file through mobile application that is working as "mobile workstation", there is no "office boundary" in the system that has sped up the work by disposing the file at a faster rate
- The system has increased the speed of work compared to the previous manual procedure as the file can be tracked and located from anywhere at any time through mobile application that works like a "portable workstation"
By using the system, the inter- and intra-departmental communications have enhanced. Without physical visit, the offices can receive and send both letters and files.
e-Nothi mobile application
The aforementioned impact study has exposed that about 50 percent of the respondents are regular users of e-Nothi mobile application and they are benefitting much form it.
The mobile application has been developed targeting the senior officials (mid to top-level management officials) so that they can provide prompt decision (quick disposal of file).
The mentionable facilities of using e-Nothi mobile application are as follows:
- Accessible app for both iOS and android users
- Decision for Dak and forwarding Dak and Nothi
- Note writing and forwarding
- Approval of draft letter
- Draft letter correction and forwarding
- Monitoring dashboard for the whole office
- Multi-role access to perform multiple roles at a time
Currently about 50 percent of the users are members of the Nothi Facebook group. The facilities of using the group are getting a good platform to get troubleshooting solutions from helpdesk officers, helpful in gathering e-Nothi-related information, and getting introduced with e-Nothi users and creating a community of them.
Besides, there are three dedicated hotline numbers (01315654047, 01315654048, 01315654049) that always provide support to make the system user-friendly.
There is also a dedicated email (email@example.com) for providing relentless support.
International recognition of 'e-nothi'
Besides positive effectiveness, some challenges of the e-Nothi system have been revealed such as getting online infrastructure in field offices, ensuring server stability, lack of necessary hardware, and capacity development etc.
To mitigate these challenges and to make this system sustainable, the "Nothi Team" of the a2i is working relentlessly.
After the inception of the e-Nothi system, delay in decision-making and bureaucratic complexities will come to an end as online accessibility of official documents provides opportunity to deliver decisions from anywhere and anytime. Smart monitoring dashboard ensures accountability and automated registration, and preservation ensures transparency.
Citizens have become empowered as they can apply to any government office through "Ekseba" online platform (which is integrated with e-Nothi) and get the privilege of electronic/virtual communication with the government offices while sitting at home. It allows them to lodge their demand or requirement or application, and track them real time online which was literally impossible in the traditional filing system.
Thus, the vision of "Digital Bangladesh" is coming into reality by ensuring pro-people and pro-active public service delivery through a modern and technology-oriented digital office management by using e-Nothi.