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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Govt to punish any delay in e-services

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 20, 2013
First Published: 00:05 IST(20/1/2013) | Last Updated: 00:08 IST(20/1/2013)

Soon, when you face a delay in online services - such as obtaining a marriage certificate or setting up an appointment for a driving licence - any employee responsible will be punished for it.

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So far, according to the draft Electronic Services Delivery Bill, 2011, punishment was prescribed only for government officials responsible for the delay.

Now, the government has agreed to make changes to the bill to ensure private players are also held accountable.

The bill was introduced in Parliament in 2011 after social activist Anna Hazare's agitation against corruption.

It prescribed levying a fine of up to Rs. 5,000 for the first violation and Rs. 20,000 for persistent failures, but only on government officials.

However, a parliamentary standing committee found that since most online services were "outsourced" by the government, public officials would often blame private employees, who could not be punished, for delays.

Now, the department of information technology has agreed to make changes in the draft bill to also cover all employees of private agencies that provide online services.

The new law, when enacted, would supersede all existing rules and cover the entire country.

An official said that most state governments have agreed to adopt the proposed law, which gives them up to five years and, in some cases, a maximum of eight years to provide all public services through the online mode.

In 2011, 77 million online transactions were made in India. However, internet penetration in the country was only 1.4%.


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