New Delhi: Following in th footsteps of several countries, Kazakhstan is exhibiting a strong commitment and an uncompromising stance when it comes to combatting corruption.
Its government recently launched a third modernisation plan, and part of that initiative is to establish an open and accountable government.
In this regard, a Law on Information Access was adopted and an open government electronic platform consisting of the five open data portals was created.
This platform enables every citizen to view his or her budgetary expenses, participate in discussing law drafts, get online consultations and file online complaints, as well as assess the effectiveness of the government authorities without leaving his or her home.
Currently, the government is working on optimising the functioning of these five portals on the basis of citizen feedback.
Today, interactions with the Kazakh citizenry are based on the principles of customer-orientedness, transparency and accessibility of services.
Currently, over 47 percent of services are available in electronic format.
All licenses and permits are issued for businessmen in electronic format only. Twenty-four percent of services are rendered through one stop shops via the Government for Citizens state corporation.
These measures have helped to reduce day-to-day corruption by two thirds.
There are five key priorities for taking this anti-corruption drive forward.
.Transparent and an accoutable state
. Formation of a modern state apparatus
.Ensuring the rule of law
. Putting in place an effective anti-corruption policy
. Promotion of international cooperation
It is planned that eventually 80 percent of public services will be transferred to electronic format, while the rest will be delivered through one stop shops.
The country currently has 229 public councils manned by about 4000 people. Out of them, 75 percent are civil society representatives. Public councils have had or are having discussions on about 500 issues. So far as per a government report, 200 research studies have been conducted; 8000 expert statutory drafts have been prepared and 213 state agency reports have been submitted for further discussion, assessment and implementation.
Kazakhstan is one of the leaders in the electronic government development index among South Eastern Asia countries. It is ranked 33rd among 174 countries according to the UN index.
The next stage of the modernisation process is the redistribution of powers.
Under this, 35 existing functions of the President have been transferred, thus strengthening the role of parliament and ensuring the autonomy of the government.
For instance, starting next year, local budgets will be adopted only after they are discussed with the public and their interests are factored in.
Currently, in the framework of modernisation in Kazakhstan, a comprehensive overview of controlling and supervisory functions of the government authorities is underway. It is planned to reduce more than 40 percent of supervisory functions and that part of the state functions will be transferred to a competitive environment. There will be a reduction of staffing by 35 to 40 percent and salaries of civil servants are expected to rise two-and-a-half-times.
The country’s civil service has switched to a career model that maximizes the principle of meritocracy.
Now it is possible that with appropriate skills, knowledge and experience in lower-level positions, the climb up the bureaucratic ladder is much smoother.W
The protection of meritocracy is maintained by a new Code of Ethics that regulates conduct of civil servants during official and off-duty hours.
On the judicial front, plans are afoot to give Kazakh citizens expanded access to justice; tightening the requirements and mechanisms for selection of judges; ensure that a judge is of high moral character and eventually make the judicial process completely automated.
To ensure that Kazakhstan emerges as a hub for attractive investment, the steps that are being taken include – existence of a state-of-the-art international financial centre; establishment of an independent court by 2018 that will be goverened by principles of English law and follow standards set down by leading world financial centres; seek the services of about 500 foreign judges; provide room for international investment arbitration and ensure protection of foreign investors.
On the law enforcement front, five key steps have been initiated and put in place. They are:
. Toughening slection process of law enforcement staff
. Ensuring police accountability to local government agencies
. Better supervision of prosecutorial authorities
. Provide 50 law enforcment services to the public
. Implement information technologies in law enforcement
Kazakhstan is progressing along the path of forming itself into a law-abiding state. (ANI)