The smartphone applications designed by the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) have improved and reformed the public sector performance in Pakistan and are even replicated by eight countries. Dr. Umar Saif, Chairman PITB, told this while addressing World Bank Report Conference.
The inclusion of two projects developed by PITB among 15 projects around the globe for case studies in the World Bank Report titled, ‘Improving Public Sector Performance through Innovation and Inter-Agency Coordination’ was a matter of pride and honor for Pakistan.
On the issuance of the said global report during a conference, the World Bank included PITB’s projects i.e. Citizen Feedback Monitoring Program, which was used by 20.5 million citizens since 2011 to date for giving feedback, suggestions, complaints against 70,000 officials, which were rectified and action was taken according to the law.
The second project included in the program is e-Vaccs smartphone application, which has improved the vaccination coverage area from 25 % to 88 % and helped in the eradication of Polio.
The bank reported the improved performance of public employees resulted in better outcomes for citizens, particularly in the highly successful vaccine program intervention. “The increased vaccination coverage helped reduce the risk of contracting polio. After having 7 polio cases in 2013 and 5 in 2014, Punjab had only 2 cases in 2015 and 0 in 2016,” the bank said.
The World Bank said creating incentives to improve civil servants’ efficiency was a key goal of many of the PITB’s reforms.
“Application of smartphones supported a broader operational change in Pakistan,” the report remarked. The World Bank while mentioning reforms in Punjab, added that the province introduced a citizen feedback program to monitor the performance of civil servants, to eliminate petty corruption, and improve public services.
The World Bank said a district in Sindh has also implemented biometric monitoring systems to help reduce employee absenteeism in its 45,000 schools. In other parts of Pakistan, reforms have been taken to strengthen the merit-based recruitment of teachers by tightening procedures for entrance examinations.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government is also taking a legislative initiative to create new norms for millions of day-to-day state-citizen interactions, inducing higher citizen expectations, and creating new standards of behavior for government servants.