Chief Minister thanks Baijal for approving proposal
After much back and forth between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and Raj Niwas for nearly two months, an ambitious programme aimed at doorstep delivery of public services proposed by the former has been cleared by Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal, who had initially red-flagged several provisions in the scheme.
The L-G’s office on Monday issued a statement announcing the decision minutes after the Chief Minister thanked Mr. Baijal on Twitter for approving the scheme which was cleared by the Cabinet on November 16 last year. “Hon’ble .@LtGovDelhi approves Delhi govt’s scheme for ‘Doorstep delivery of services’ All citizens of Delhi are grateful to u sir. Thank u [sic’],” Mr. Kejriwal tweeted.
No more visiting offices
Under the scheme, assistants will turn up at the doorstep of individuals willing to avail certain government services and upload requisite documents online, ending the need for them to visit government offices.
Mr. Baijal had advised the government to reconsider the proposal and focus on digital delivery of services, “as 35 out of 40 services listed in the scheme are already available online” and set up internet kiosks by unemployed youth for those not able to access the internet.
The government had insisted that setting up internet kiosks was a “failed idea” and should not be implemented, and that on an average 25 lakh people visit government offices for these 40 services annually, despite they being available online. However, the L-G office’s statement on Monday made it clear that Mr. Baijal approved the proposal after Mr. Kejriwal’s assurance that the AAP government will simultaneously strengthen the online mechanism. It said the setting up of internet kiosks will provide employment opportunities to educated unemployed youth and also help in delivery of the services. The CM has also assured to work out a financial model to provide soft loan to set up these kiosks, it added. “On the assurance that both the systems will function as complementary to each other, Hon’ble L-G approved the proposal and advised the administrative department concerned to finalise the proposal for setting up ‘internet kiosks’ within a month,” the statement read.
War of words
A fresh tussle had erupted between the AAP government and Raj Niwas over the latter’s alleged rejection of the Cabinet’s decision to deliver 40 services at the citizens’ doorstep by the first half of 2018 in late December last year.
“LG sends it [the proposal] back for reconsideration. LG says digitalization of services enough. No need for doorstep delivery [sic],” Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged in a tweet.
Raj Niwas, however, countered Mr. Sisodia’s claim saying the proposal for doorstep delivery of services had “not been rejected”. L-G Anil Baijal had only advised the government to “reconsider” it in its present form and suggest an “alternative model”, the L-G office had said