AAP: GOVT SER­VICES COME HOME

India Today - - INSIDE - By Kaushik Deka

Su­nil Ku­mar, a 57-year-old res­i­dent of Delhi’s Vas­ant Kunj, is vis­i­bly ex­cited. The for­mer banker, who took vol­un­tary re­tire­ment five years ago, will have to re­new his driv­ing li­cence this Oc­to­ber but is wary of vis­it­ing the crowded re­gional trans­port of­fice. The Delhi gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to start home de­liv­ery of 40 ser­vices— such as is­su­ing driv­ing li­cences, mar­riage cer­tifi­cates, caste cer­tifi­cates and wa­ter con­nec­tions—with ef­fect from Septem­ber 10, will come as a big re­lief to res­i­dents, notwith­stand­ing the chaos that marred the first day of the scheme’s im­ple­men­ta­tion.

The AAP gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive is a first of its kind home de­liv­ery of gov­ern­ment ser­vices in any state. And apart from the ob­vi­ous con­ve­nience of doorstep de­liv­ery, its ap­peal for cit­i­zens also lies in the fact that it will, if it works as promised, cut through the bu­reau­cratic maze and elim­i­nate touts in ser­vice de­liv­ery, which has of­ten marred pub­lic ser­vice de­liv­ery in In­dia.

Launched by Delhi Chief Min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal, the fa­cil­ity was em­broiled in con­tro­versy with the AAP gov­ern­ment al­leg­ing that Lt. Gov­er­nor Anil Bai­jal was try­ing to stall it. The Delhi cabi­net had given an in-prin­ci­ple ap­proval to the project in Novem­ber 2017, but Bai­jal re­turned the file for “re­con­sid­er­a­tion”, sug­gest­ing that the fo­cus should be dig­i­tal de­liv­ery of ser­vices “as 35 of the 40 ser­vices un­der the scheme are al­ready avail­able on­line”. He also asked the gov­ern­ment to set up kiosks to be man­aged by un­em­ployed youth for those who are un­able to ac­cess the in­ter­net. The row snow­balled into a big­ger con­tro­versy with Deputy CM Man­ish Siso­dia al­leg­ing that Bai­jal was try­ing to pro­tect a cor­rupt sys­tem. On Jan­uary 15, Bai­jal gave his ap­proval to the scheme af­ter the gov­ern­ment re-sent the pro­posal, as­sur­ing him that it would also strengthen the on­line mech­a­nism.

The scope of the scheme can be gauged from the fact that last year, 2.5 mil­lion ap­pli­ca­tions were filed for these 40 ser­vices. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials say that the scheme will save time and also bring trans­parency in the sys­tem, as there have been in­stances of peo­ple pay­ing bribes to get their work done.

Un­der the scheme, one can get an ap­point­ment for a ser­vice by mak­ing a phone call or through the in­ter­net or a mo­bile app. A mo­bile sa­hayak (fa­cil­i­ta­tor) will col­lect doc­u­ments, photo, bio­met­ric de­tails and any fee, if re­quired. The sa­hayak will use a tablet com­puter to up­load the doc­u­ments. The doorstep de­liv­ery will be avail­able at a fee of Rs 50 and the com­pleted cer­tifi­cate or doc­u­ment will be posted to the ap­pli­cant’s ad­dress. How­ever, res­i­dents will still have to visit gov­ern­ment of­fices where their phys­i­cal pres­ence is nec­es­sary, such as in a driv­ing test. They can also con­tinue to com­plete for­mal­i­ties through on­line plat­forms. To en­sure safety of the ap­pli­cants, po­lice ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the mo­bile sa­hayaks will also be done, says Rakesh Bali, the sec­re­tary of Delhi gov­ern­ment’s ad­min­is­tra­tive re­forms depart­ment. He says the depart­ment will run a call cen­tre and a project man­age­ment unit will also be set up to mon­i­tor the scheme.

This is a first of its kind home de­liv­ery of gov­ern­ment ser­vices. Last year, 2.5 mil­lion ap­pli­ca­tions were filed for these 40 ser­vices

SER­VICE PROVIDER Ke­jri­wal and his cabi­net col­leagues at the launch of the scheme

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