BY ELNUR MAMMADOV, ECONOMICS SECTION
Geography and scope of ASAN Service is expanding so rapidly that it is difficult to follow them. In Baku and regions of the country, there are already more than a dozen offices of this innovative service, which greatly facilitates the life of society, providing different types of services at the highest level. The activities of the service, which the people rightly call the brainchild of President Ilham Aliyev, have drawn attention in and outside the country. Progressive experience that saves people from the bureaucratic bacchanalia, bribery and extortion is adopted today by the developed countries too. And the service continues to grow threatening to sweep away every red tape in its path, helping people save time, money and nerves.
Only in May of this year, a presidential decree envisaged creation of a new service 'ASAN Kommunal.' And now, after seven months, on the new year's eve, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has opened in Baku, 'ASAN Kommunal' Centre No.1.
What is so remarkable about ASAN Kommunal? Let's try to answer this question. The new two-storey centre has been established with the support of SOCAR (State Oil Company), JSC 'Azerishiq' (electricity operator) and 'Azerigaz' (natural gas provider). These companies will provide the people a total of 45 types of services. That is at the centre there are the largest companies providing public services. These services are not only about paying monthly electricity and gas bills. The centres will provide for concluding contracts with subscribers to connect to the electric, water and gas networks, issue specifications. There will be addressed issues of installation and replacement of meters, issuance and replacement of smart cards for meters, the establishment of free limits for IDPs, recovery of erroneous payments and much more.
And in the future ASAN Kommunal centres will also provide organisation of heating services, telecommunications, cable television, Internet and other public and private entities operating in the communal utilities sector.
As for the payment of utilities, citizens will carry them through banking terminals installed at the ASAN Kommunal centres and 'ASAN ödəniş' (payment) system. In addition to improving transparency in this field and eliminating the negative phenomena the new centre will employ 105 people. This centre will provide services to 653,600 citizens registered in Nasimi, Narimanov and Binaqadi districts of Baku. But there will be created other centres of ASAN Kommunal. Such centres will soon appear in the settlement of Ahmedli and near the Central Railway Station, and in the future they will be built in the regions.
President Ilham Aliyev himself told in details about the activities of the new ASAN service. According to him, ASAN service should and does influence all the spheres: 'In fact, the creation of this system was a revolution in the field of public services and public relations. This in itself is a great progress, great innovation. However, the influence of ASAN Service is not only in this, and is not limited to services provided at these centres. In general, ASAN Service brought innovation in the relationship 'citizen - official,' gave us more strength in the fight against bribery. That is, it has shown that bribery can be fought and defeated. This is the meaning and significance of ASAN Service. Citizens also approve of this Service very much, and hope that ASAN Service centres will be opened in their regions. Gradually, we will do it. According to our plans, in 2018, 10 more centres will be established in the regions of our country. After that, the process will be more intensive,' said teh head of state.
Yes, next year 2 new 'ASAN xidmət' centres will be opened in Quba and Mingachevir, and there will begin construction of other centres in Shaki and Imishli. 'ASAN xidmət' initiative is social in character, for these centres are given a single purpose - serve the people well. And it is no accident the approval rate of 'ASAN xidmət' is almost 100 per cent. This is the assessment, which has been given by the society to the Azerbaijani government represented by this service. 'ASAN xidmət' widens its geography, increases functions: the country is covered by 11 centres, six of which are located in the regions!
The head of state stressed the goals of the 'ASAN Viza' service, noting that its creation was in fact predetermined by a vital necessity, for this new functional institution creates the conditions for a mass influx to Azerbaijan of an increasing number of tourists and incentive to travel business. And it is a great contribution to the economy: hotels are working, public places, and it provides the inflow of foreign currency. But obtaining a visa to travel to Azerbaijan used to be accompanied by a number of bureaucratic delays: there were many violations, unreasonable demands, often consular services abroad were turning this service into a fairly lucrative business. Potential tourists were forced to queue up months in advance, register in our embassies and consulates to obtain visas.
So, the authorities have implemented ASAN model here as well. The mechanism is quite simple: a tourist can in three days receive an e-visa and come to Azerbaijan. As a result, this year, even before the entry into force of 'ASAN Viza' the number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan increased by about 10 per cent, and from some countries the number of tourist arrivals even increased by 30-40 per cent. In the future, the flow of tourists will be increasing.
Now, the head of state have familiarised himself in Bilajari with a completely new project of the unique innovative service: travelling 'ASAN qatar' (ASAN train). The travelling 'ASAN qatar' using extensive railway network of the country, the existing infrastructure, communication lines and the latest technologies, will provide services to citizens locally. We have become accustomed to travelling service in the regions, but they were specially equipped buses, which brought ASAN employees to remote areas. Ten such buses have already provided services to approximately 915 thousand citizens. And now these same services will be provide by ASAN train system. The project was implemented jointly with the railway department of the country. Special trains willbe prepared for that purpose. They will travel in the northern, southern, north-western, western and south-western directions. The first train, which will travel to Qazakh, consists of four carriages fitted with all the necessary equipment. It has the waiting room, the laboratory, the service room, special compartments for employees. Naturally, such a train along its route can reach much more settlements, and for the employees of 'ASAN xidmət' there will be all the necessary conditions.
'ASAN Viza,' 'ASAN Kommunal,' 'ASAN qatar.' What other spheres will be covered by this service, what other form will it acquire? Difficult to say. ASAN is being actively and successfully implemented in all teh strategic areas of public services, affirming in the life of the society the central postulate of the president: relentless and selfless service to the source of power - the citizen.
Just four years ago, as part of the measures envisaged by the head of state on the modernisation of public administration ASAN Service was created, which now cooperates with the majority of government institutions. There have already been more than 13 million applications to this service. And now ASAN trains and buses rushed to the regions, to ram and smash the bureaucratic domination of yesterday's Azerbaijan.