EghtesadOnline: As part of a push to reduce the country’s burdensome bureaucracy and to boost citizens’ access to government services, President Hassan Rouhani’s administration has introduced a mobile government application.
The application aims to expedite public access to various services offered by state bodies and curb the paperwork that has been a source of exasperation for generations.
Striving to trim bureaucracy, the application is the culmination of efforts to employ e-governance for public services, the website dedicated to the app reported.
According to officials, the e-governance plan is designed to eradicate lack of coordination between state bodies and ease citizens’ access to services through the application of information and communications technologies, Financial Tribune reported.
Head of the Information Technology Organization Rasoul Saraian announced the initial launch of the application on April 30 during a news conference, promising 24/7 access to the portal. Since then, gradually the range of services offered through the app has been expanded and the software has been debugged.
Up to now, 16 organizations offering 50 different services have been listed on the app. According to Saraian, with 12,000 registered users, so far two million service requests have been submitted through the app.
The most requests have been for the National Organization for Civil Registration, most likely due to the identification process, which checks the compatibility of one’s National ID number with their mobile phone number.
ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi discussed the scheme during his recent trip to Gilan, saying, “The project will create transparency, help tackle corruption, decrease costs and maximize efficiency.”
According to the minister, Iran is ranked 100th in the e-government development index. The young minister says the Iranian Parliament has required the administration to improve the country’s standing by the year ending in March 2019.
Android users can download the software from local Android markets Cafe Bazaar and Iranapps, or from the website mob.gov.ir. The application is also available for iOS and can be downloaded from appstore.ir, a homegrown version of Apple’s App Store.
Citizens can submit their suggestions and criticisms regarding the app in the program itself or dial 195 to voice their opinions.
The very first aspect of the application capturing attention is its simple elegant design, adorned with national emblems.
Users can conduct two types of tasks via the app, general and personal. The general tasks are available to everyone while the personal tasks can only be accessed if the user’s SIM card is registered with their National ID number.
While the function works as a safety mechanism to assure the privacy of user’s information, lack of other methods to access accounts can cause problems for many whose SIMs are not registered under their own names.
Instances of the general services are weather forecast, emergency numbers, stock and foreign currency market statistics and postal package tracking.
There are 16 state bodies listed in the application, with the Industries Ministry offering the widest range of services.
Utilizing the Industries Ministry’s services, users can check whether their mobile phone has been imported into Iran through legal channels by entering the IMEI number or scanning the barcode printed on the device’s package. Furthermore, users can activate newly purchased phones, transfer ownership of handsets and request basic information about it.
A laudable feature of the app is the information it provides for the disabled, including granting them easy access to support services offered by the State Welfare Organization and the individuals’ medical records.
Users can inquire how many SIM cards are registered with their ID number, a security check delivered by the Communications Regulatory Authority to unmask impostor scams.
One of the other services offered through the app enables users to request their educational and sports records with a few taps. Furthermore, by typing in a commodity’s registration code, its conformity with local standards can be checked.
Moreover, the application can be employed as a bill payment service and also supplies information on one’s insurance policy and tax debts.
While for the first time in the history of the country the public can have effortless access to certain information, the application is still a far cry from the e-governance agenda which has been promised as a key element to cut red tape.
Many organizations have not yet cooperated with the ICT Ministry to share their database and offer online services.
Furthermore, while the application is advertised to be 24/7, some features tested outside office hours were not available or required users to register with the organization’s website to supply the service.
In order to make the application fully operational, several entities including the Central Bank of Iran, the Customs Administration and the Ministries of Education and Health need to contribute more to the implementation of the government’s push, which is yet to be realized.