Going the RTO way: Delhi Jal Board to make zonal offices ‘faceless’
Several services offered by zonal offices of the Delhi Jal Board will move online, in a push for ‘faceless services, said senior officials, as the city’s water utility adopts a move first made by the transport department, which moved several regional transport offices (RTO) functions online earlier this year.
A senior water utility official overseeing the shift said an order mandating the phasing out of offline services has been issued to zonal revenue officers.
“The DJB revenue department has issued a list of 10 services, such as water tanker booking, rainwater harvesting certification, borewell permissions, and others that will be available online. More services will be added next month,” a DJB official said.
The water utility operates 62 ZRO offices, which act as physical interface between 2.4 million consumers and the Jal Board.
The order, issued by revenue director Akriti Sagar on Wednesday, said, “It has been decided that all services of the Delhi Jal Board will be shifted to the online portal to make the ZROs faceless, in order to deliver services to consumers in transparent way and time bound manner.” The order added that offline services will be phased out “gradually”.
The order added that consumers will have to register and apply at the DJB’s website, even though cash counters at the offices will stay open “for the time being”.
“...But in the coming months, the cash counters will also be closed down. Once the faceless services project in completed, no manual application papers or cash deposits will be accepted,” said the order.
“Each ZRO office will also have an online helpdesk,” the official said.
The Delhi government this August launched the ‘faceless transport services’ programme, under which residents can avail 33 transport documents online without visiting an RTO.
The programme, which pushes 95% of all travel-related paperwork online, has allowed the state to shut four of its busiest transport offices — in Sarai Kale Khan, IP Depot, Vasant Vihar, and Janakpuri.
Citizens groups, however, have cautioned that the DJB will need to significantly update its online service modules and keep in place offline helpdesks as a back-up for those who may not be able access services over the internet.
BS Vohra, who heads the East Delhi RWA Joint Front said, “Online services helps save time and minimises the scope of corruption, but we also need to account for the fact that not everyone can use these services. The existing glitches in the utility’s online modules should be resolved.”
Atul Goel, who heads URJA (an umbrella body of resident welfare groups), said the DJB’s existing online services are riddled with glitches.
“When I was trying to file for a water connection mutation, I faced problems related to saving the application as well as with the size of the photograph being uploaded. Online services can be good only if they are accessible to everyone so DJB must upgrade its application modules and keep a list of helpdesks or vendors of every area,” Goel said.
For the uninitiated, Dhan Mill Compound, a former granary and a cluster of warehouses, has morphed into the city’s modish food, fashion, design and lifestyle destination. Its streets are lined with art cafes, home décor outlets, ateliers, art galleries, pottery studios, dance halls and high-end boutiques, whose facades and interiors are as interesting and experimental as the wares they deal in. Interestingly, all of these fancy establishments are housed in re-purposed warehouse buildings, which still have metal roofs.
According to a Delhi government official, a break-up of the total jobs, including the list of employers and the number of people they hired, will be shared “in a couple of days”. Notably, the government portal was launched by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on July 27, 2020, to help entry-level and blue-collar job seekers connect with employers at a time when the Covid-19 induced lockdown left many people unemployed.
“Manufactures, and start-ups which are working on alternatives to single-use plastic have to pay more GST for raw material. Hence, the Delhi government will write to the Centre and request a reduction in GST rates,” Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said.
Safdarjung, Delhi’s base weather station, recorded 0.1mm of rainfall between 8:30am and 5:30pm on Sunday. The Capital recorded 1.9mm of rainfall on Saturday and 117.2mm on Friday, making the monthly total 119.2mm so far. The normal monthly average for July is 210.6mm, said weather experts.
Monsoon elevates Adam Khan’s tomb into an emergency sanctuary for passersby (and dogs) speared by sudden showers. Perched atop a Mehrauli hillock, the monument overlooks the Qutub Minar, which appears totally bechara and defenceless in the heavy rain.