AAP: GOVT SERVICES COME HOME
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