In a move to simplify processes and bridge governance deficit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday put his weight behind an initiative to encourage departments to accept self-certified documents rather than insisting that citizens file affidavits.
“We have asked all ministries and state governments to make provisions for self-certification and abolition of affidavits not required by law,” Modi tweeted. “The step towards self-certification will be citizen-friendly & will benefit all citizens.”
The initiative would not only reduce the harassment people face to get affidavits but will also help them save Rs 8,000 crore — the amount that the Centre estimates people spend on affidavits annually. “Obtaining an attested copy of an affidavit costs money to the poor. It also wastes time of both citizens and officials,” a department of administrative reforms circular to all departments and states said.
Punjab was the first state to switch over from a regime that demanded citizens file affidavits to self-certification. The UPA government last year adopted the Punjab model but never pursued its implementation.
That push came on Friday when Modi stepped in to push for minimum use of affidavits and shift to self-certification.
In a statement that recalled Modi’s meeting with top bureaucrats in early June, the Prime Minister’s Office said this was the first step towards fulfilling the PM’s focus on reforming the public service delivery system and bridging the governance deficit.
“The requirement of attestation by gazetted officer is also sought to be replaced by self-certification by the citizen,” the PMO statement said. “All affidavits not required by law shall eventually be done away with,” the statement promised.