Touts still in business despite doorstep delivery scheme, says one of first Delhi residents to avail service under new system

Touts still in business despite doorstep delivery scheme, says one of first Delhi residents to avail service under new system

This is the first time Anuj Kumar has availed any government service. The 27-year-old applied for a driving licence under the Delhi government's Doorstep Delivery of Services scheme, and his first acquaintance with the administration's service was good.

Anuj is among the many residents of Delhi who were the first ones to apply for and also receive services under the doorstep delivery scheme launched by the Government of Delhi on 10 September.

 Touts still in business despite doorstep delivery scheme, says one of first Delhi residents to avail service under new system

Anuj Kumar, one of the first Delhi residents to receive a service under the doorstep delivery scheme. Image Courtesy: Kangkan Acharyya

"I was reading the newspaper in the morning, where I saw an advertisement that said the Delhi government had launched the scheme that very day. So I decided to avail the services under the scheme,” said the resident of Shakurpur in Northwest Delhi.

Interestingly, an executive answered the minute he dialled the number for the call centre and asked him which service he wished to avail.

At present, the doorstep delivery scheme offers 40 services, to avail which a Delhi resident has to call 1076. Under the scheme, a ‘mobile sahayak’ visits the applicant’s home and digitally completes the process. The scheme is meant to ensure that the applicant receives the desired services at his doorstep without having to visit a government office, unless it is mandatorily required.

“I have heard that many people who called failed to get through on the launch day. But I did not face any such hassle,” Anuj said, explaining how smoothly the driving licence was delivered to him.

“I was in need of a driving licence but was not being able to get one due to paucity of time. So I decided to get one under the scheme,” said Anuj, a teacher at a private coaching institute who is also preparing for various competitive exams.

The call centre also asked what time would be convenient for him to attend to the mobile sahayak visiting his home

“I said 12 September would be convenient for me. It was a pleasant surprise that the mobile sahayak visited my home at exactly the time I had given,” he added.

Elaborating on his experience with the scheme, Anuj said that the mobile sahayak scanned his documents, uploaded them in the system and took the fees on behalf of the government. He also received messages on his mobile phone, acknowledging the payment and his application for the service.

“The system also instantly fixed my appointment with the concerned official at the Transport Department for the mandatory driving skill test I had to go through two days later,” he said.

On 14 September, Anuj went through the mandatory driving skill test and was handed his learner’s permit, making him one of the first recipients of a service from the much-talked-about doorstep delivery scheme.

“I have always heard about the hassle a person has to go through to acquire a driving licence. But my experience was smooth, thanks to the doorstep delivery of services,” he said.

Anuj’s father Arvind Kumar, nearly 60 years old, has experienced endless apathy and corruption all his life while trying to avail services at government offices like millions of other citizens. Now, he considers his son fortunate enough to have such a hassle-free first encounter with a government service.

“Earlier, even renewing a ration card was an uphill task. I would leave home early to stand in queue at the Supply Department’s office. Soon after the office gate would open, all applicants would race to submit their documents,” he said.

“We would soon realise that it was just the beginning of the struggle. To renew our ration cards, we would have to visit the department up to six times. But my son received his licence in four days flat under the newly-launched scheme,” Arvind said.

The Delhi government launched the doorstep delivery scheme with the aim to weed out corruption in the various departments. But has the scheme attained this goal?

“Not entirely,” said Anuj.

He added: “Although the scheme is ambitious and likely to ease hassles in availing government services, authorities have to take special care to ensure that touts cease to operate in government offices.”

Sharing his experience with touts while trying to get a driving licence, Anuj said: “When I went to take the mandatory driving skill test at the Transport Department, I was told that I would have to submit photocopies of my documents again. But when I went to photocopy my documents, I saw that there were some people outside the office who were charging Rs 50 per page for a page that normally costs Rs 1. I spent Rs 220 for photocopies and printouts alone as there was no other shop open then. I think the government should ensure that these elements do not function.”

When asked whether he has any suggestion to improve the newly-launched service, he said “The mobile sahayak who visited me told me I need not submit any documents while taking the driving test. But when I went there, I was told it was mandatory to submit hard copies of my documents. The government should ensure that these differences in the understanding of the scheme are sorted out.”

Till the fourth day after the launch of the scheme, the doorstep delivery call center received 71,637 calls, and mobile sahayak's visited 372 households, as per data released by the Delhi government. No official data has been released yet about the number of people who have received services under the scheme.

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Updated Date: Sep 21, 2018 17:26:09 IST