Soon, get building permit, ration card within 24 hours of applying online | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Soon, get building permit, ration card within 24 hours of applying online

This is one of the five urban reforms being pushed by the Union urban development ministry to streamline municipal services and ensure a hassle-free experience for citizens of 500 cities.

india Updated: May 27, 2017 19:53 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Building permit
Residents of select cities will also be able to pay a host of bills – including those pertaining to property tax, water and energy – through online platforms under the new reforms.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The municipalities of 500 cities with a population of over a lakh will soon have to issue documents such as construction permits, ration cards, birth and death certificates, and marriage papers within 24 hours of receiving an online application.

Civic bodies currently take anywhere between a month and a year to provide these services, depending on the nature of the request.

This is one of the five urban reforms being pushed by the Union urban development (UD) ministry to streamline municipal services and ensure a hassle-free experience for citizens. “Earlier, municipalities used to first verify each and every application before issuing the certificate. It will be the other way round now. Municipalities will start the process of issuance of certificates soon after receiving an online request. It is a new approach based on trust. You trust and offer a service, and verify later,” Union urban development secretary Rajiv Gauba told HT.

This, however, will not make the system easier to manipulate. If the verification process finds that an individual has suppressed or submitted wrong information, action will be taken under relevant municipal laws.

All the proposed reforms have been linked to monetary incentives as part of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), a UD ministry scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015 to upgrade urban infrastructure in 500 cities.

The ministry will offer higher financial incentives to urban local bodies for speeding up the service provision system. Timelines are being fixed for implementing each of the reforms.

“We have proposed increasing the incentive component from the existing Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore for the remaining duration of the AMRUT mission. We will soon seek cabinet approval for this,” Gauba said. Urban local bodies (ULBs) that implement the maximum number of reforms will be eligible for a larger share of the Rs 10,000-crore incentive pie, he added.

Under the new reforms meant to be implemented in 500 cities, citizens will also be able to pay a host of bills – including those pertaining to property tax, water and energy – through online platforms. At present, barely 50 municipalities allow virtual services of the kind.

A three-month timeframe is also being set for states to enact the land-titling law. A study by McKinsey noted that over 90% of the land records in India are replete with discrepancies. Land market distortions and unclear land titles cost the country 1.3% of its GDP per year, it noted.

The other urban reforms being pushed by the ministry include establishing dedicated municipal cadres by ULBs, filling up municipal job vacancies, raising money through innovative financing models such as value capture to fund urban infrastructure projects, and floating municipal bonds.

According to ministry officials, as many as 14 ULBs will be in a position to tap the bond market in the 2017-18 fiscal. Ahmedabad and Pune have taken the lead, and are set to float municipal bonds shortly.

“These reforms – once implemented – will go a long way in making ULBs self-reliant,” Gauba said.