27 May 2023, 09:55

Modern public service improves rural livelihood in Rajshahi

By Dr Md Aynal Haque

RAJSHAHI, May 27, 2023 (BSS)- Modern public service has been contributing a
lot towards improving living and livelihood conditions of the public in
general in the rural, including the remote and hard-to-reach areas for the
last couple of years.

Like the city residents, the villagers are seen deriving the benefits of
modern information and communication technologies (ICT) to get a number of
important public services, easily adding a new dimension to the rural life.

The existing Union Digital Centre (UDC) and many private online entrepreneurs
are playing pioneering roles towards reaching the public services to the
grass root level after the best use of ICT-knowledge and devices.

Abdur Rashid is a marginal farmer living in Barobaria village of Poba
upazila. Once he had to go to the district headquarters to collect documents
for land-related services.

But when he learnt about the UDC from a neighbour, it was surprising for him
who previously had to spend a lot of time and money to get services through
the traditional system.

"When I went to Rajshahi, I had to spend around Taka 300 on transport and
food. But now I receive the same services from UDC very quickly. It costs
only Taka 100," Abdur Rashid told BSS here on Thursday.

He said the villagers have been availing scopes of improving their living and
livelihood conditions as a result of implementing various demand-driven
programmes by local government institutions as per the direction given by the

UDCs are working as a model towards successful implementation of digital
Bangladesh and decentralization of public services besides providing the
government and non-government information and capacity building through
entrepreneurs' development.

Ziaul Haque, entrepreneur of Huzripara UDC, said he got laptops, scanners,
printer and photocopy machines from the ICT-related project. Not only that
but also each of the Union Digital Centres got need-based devices and
machines from the project, he added.

The grassroots people are getting around 100 types of digital services from
the UDCs regularly. "We are reaching all the union level services to the
villagers like urban people together with strengthening the digitization
process," Haque continued.

Many unemployed youths have got jobs after receiving training on computers
from the center, he said adding students, youths and working-people are
imparted training in his centre, which is helping them to be skilled.

Union Parishad (UP) has been working on various important activities,
including communication, education, health, water supply, natural resources,
agriculture, sanitation and human resource development for elevating the
livelihood of the marginalized population.

Full-length implementation of the time-fitting policies related to ensuring
transparency and accountability of the small-scale investments has added new
dimensions to the rural livelihoods.

A total of 1,586 concrete roads and 300 culverts were constructed through
implementation of 1,786 projects aimed at improving living and livelihood
conditions of the villagers in the district.

Besides, 4,500 tube-wells and 170 submersible pumps were installed through
implementation of 540 projects for ensuring safe drinking water.

The infrastructural development projects were implemented in 1,914 villages
in the last five years on behalf of Local Governance Support Project-3 (LGSP-
3) with involvement of around Taka 74.68 crore.

The project is being implemented for uplifting living and livelihoods of
around 21.37 lakh populations of 72 UPs in nine upazilas of the district
since June, 2016.

Each of the UP people, including chairmen and members, were imparted training
for elevating their capacity coupled with boosting their knowledge about
their roles, responsibilities and mandates to their respective communities.

Demands of the people were shortlisted through ward meetings for
implementation on priority basis.

"We have learnt the methods and techniques of implementing village-level
projects with transparency and accountability," said Sohel Rana, chairman of
Matikata UP in Godagari upazila, adding that the villagers are deriving total
benefits of the allocated money.

LGSP-3 District Facilitator Akter Hossain told BSS that sewing machines,
bicycles, sanitary napkins and hygiene materials were distributed among the
women to make them self-reliant.

Apart from imparting training, 650 sewing machines among women and 174
laptops with printers were distributed among union digital centres (UDC) for
human resource development.

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