Doorstep service delivery scheme in Delhi partially solves larger problem: Experts
The Delhi government, which launched its ambitious ‘doorstep delivery of services’ scheme on Monday, now needs to focus on reducing, if not ending, “babudom” in its offices, experts said.
Under the scheme, Delhiites can avail of up to 40 government services such as getting caste, income, domicile and marriage certificates, new water connections, driving licence, vehicle registration, scholarships and pensions.
Reacting to the launch, experts said this would only solve a part of the larger problem.
“The queues are going to move from physical ones at the SDMs offices to a virtual one with this online system. This is because the number of officers who will ultimately process all the applications and issue the certificates are still the same. All Delhi government departments continue to be short-staffed. With this service, the government has only made it easier for people to apply for a service,” said Dunu Roy, director at Hazards Centre, which provides professional services to community and labour organisations.
Roy said it could be a possibility that the time taken to get an application processed could be more than usual as the number of those who apply is bound to increase under the new system. On the launch day itself, the government received over 25,000 calls from people out of which it could answer only 1,286.
Compared to the high demand, which the government claimed was “unexpected” for the first day of the scheme, the facility has only 66 agents or “mobile sahayaks” who are tasked to go to the houses of every applicant.
The Delhi government, however, said it is open to modify the system to resolve the teething problems.
“To start with, we are immediately augmenting our team of operators and increasing the number of lines for the ‘1076’ phone number, calling on which people can avail the service,” a government spokesperson said.
Experts also pointed out that the scheme would benefit only an estimated 40% of Delhi’s population.
“It is a good idea, but we have to wait and watch. Seeing the list of services, it is clear that those who do not have address proof of Delhi but live in the city would be out of this system. I am quite sceptical about this,” said Colin Gonsalves, human rights lawyer who has actively worked on the right to food and livelihood.
He hoped the government in its next phase would add ration cards in the available services.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari claimed the helpline number 1076 did not work when he tried. “I dialled the number in the presence of media but there was no reply to the call. This scheme seems to be an attempt to mislead the people of Delhi. The service will give rise to touts,” he said.