Covid-19: Delhi govt yet to restart doorstep delivery of services
Issuance of income certificate is one of the 70 services provided by the Delhi government under its ambitious doorstep delivery of services project, which was launched in September 2018. It was suspended this March in view of the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).Updated: Jul 06, 2020 15:36 IST
Shikhar Arora (18), a resident of Krishna Nagar, east Delhi, on Thursday returned disappointed from the subdivisional magistrate’s office as he couldn’t get an income certificate of his family, which he needs urgently to apply to the Delhi University.
Arora, who is seeking admission to a BA Pass course, said he won’t be able to apply under the economically weaker section (EWS) category without the income certificate to show that he is eligible. “I have been going to the office for nearly a month, but have not been able to get the certificate. They have now asked me to apply online,” he said.
Issuance of income certificate is one of the 70 services provided by the Delhi government under its ambitious doorstep delivery of services project, which was launched in September 2018. It was suspended this March in view of the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
While the government has further relaxed restrictions from July 1, under the Unlock 2.0 plan, the Delhi government is yet to restart the doorstep service delivery project. Under the project, 70 services from 10 different departments, including those of social welfare, transport, and food and supplies,among others, were being provided to citizens at their doorstep.
Arora said, “Had the service been operational, it would have saved me from unnecessary trips to the SDM’s office.” He is one of the many people queuing up outside the district revenue offices for certificates needed to apply to colleges/jobs.
An official at the East Delhi district office said, “Currently, only the registry of property is being done manually. For all other certificates, citizen have to apply online.”
The office is also in the process of setting up help desks to help applicants fill up online forms, he said.
Ananya Mandal (18) is seeking admission to BA (Hons) in Economics at DU and she had visited the SDM’s office in Mehrauli to get an OBC (other backward class) certificate, a mandatory document to apply under the OBC quota.
“I was told that we will have to apply online since the staff at the SDM’s office are currently busy with Covid-19 duty. I tried to fill the form online but that the portal was not working properly. Still, I managed to apply for the certificate online and submitted the acknowledgement slip along with my admission form. But I don’t know by when I would get the certificate itself,” she said.
A senior official at SDM Mehrauli said, “We are accepting applications online. We are trying to clear all EWS and income certificate related applications at the earliest as these are required by students.”
The government, however, has no immediate plan to restart the service. A senior official with the administrative reforms department, on condition of anonymity, said, “The service was suspended due to Covid-19. Currently, there are a lot of Covid-19 cases being reported from the national capital. There is no immediate plan to resume the service in these circumstances. We will do so only when the Covid-19 situation is under control.”
The official added, “The doorstep delivery was an additional service. People can still apply for essential documents either online or manually at the offices concerned.”
Under the government’s doorstep delivery scheme, people could just call on the centralised number -- 1076-- and place a service request. The services included the issuance of certificates (caste, income, domicile, delayed birth order; duplicate registration certificate of the vehicle, transfer of vehicle ownership), and new water and sewer connections, among others.The government had outsourced the operations to VFS Global, which had set up the centralised call centre and hired ‘mobile sahayaks’ to ensure timely and hassle-free delivery of services.
“In light of the Covid-19 pandemic situation in Delhi, the doorstep delivery operations were suspended from March 23, 2020, and we are awaiting further instructions from the Delhi government,” a VFS Global spokesperson said.
As the city crawls back to normalcy with further relaxations in restrictions imposed earlier to contain the spread of the infectious disease, citizens say the doorstep delivery of service should be resumed as people could then avoid visiting crowded places.
Atul Goyal, president of United RWAs Joint Action (URJA), said, “It was a good scheme and would have proved beneficial during the present times when the number of Covid-19 cases are on the rise. While government offices have resumed public dealings, people want to avoid going to public places for fear of contracting the infection. But those who need crucial documents are forced to step out. The government should encourage online systems or provide doorstep delivery of services.”
Explaining the reason why the service cannot be resumed, a government spokesperson (CHECK)on condition of anonymity, said, “We can’t resume services immediately, as the entire staff at the call centre and officials of the revenue department are deployed on Covid-19 duty. It will be restarted once the Covid situation improves.”