The Union Cabinet has cleared the Electronic delivery of Service bill that will deliver all public services, from state and central government, electronically within a maximum period of eight years, reports PTI (via The Hindu Businessline). The bill will allow Indian citizens to gain access to services such as passport, ration card and driving licences electronically. It should be noted that this service will not be available in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Every public authority will publish a list of service that it will deliver electronically within 180 days of clearance of the bill. However, the bill notes that it won’t cover services that cannot be delivered electronically and services that public authorities decide not to deliver electronically. It’s not clear which services fall under the services that cannot be delivered electronically. The Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, 2011 (download) was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 27, 2011.

Other points to note from the bill:

– Deadlines: The bill states that every competent authority shall after the publication of the list shall review and notify on the 1st day of January of every year. It should notify about the date by which each service shall be made available through electronic mode and the manner and quality of delivery of these services. Apart from that it also states that the central government shall notify from time to time about any inconsistent electronic governance standards, as they may be necessary for ensuring inter-operability, integration,harmonisation and security of electronic services.

– Grievance Redressal: Every authority shall notify a Grievance Redressal Mechanism for the redressal of grievances, within such time and in such manner as may be prescribed

– Central Commission and office: The head office of the Central Commission will be at Delhi and the Central Commission may establish offices at other places in India with the approval of Central Government. The Central Commission shall consist of Central Chief Commissioner and not more than two central commissioners. The bill states that the central chief commissioner and the central commissioners should not be a member of the parliament, legislature, any union territory or hold an office with any other political party. Apart from that, the central chief officer can’t hold the position for longer than 5 years.

The chief commissioner and commissioners of the central commission should have not less than twenty-five years of professional experience in IT, management, public administration or governance.

State Commission: The state commission shall consist of a state chief commissioner and not more than two state commissioners. The state chief commissioner and state commissioner, too, should have not less than 25 years of professional experience in IT, management, public administration or governance. They should also not be a member of the parliament, legislature, any union territory or hold an office with any other political party. Apart from that, the central chief officer can’t hold the position for longer than 5 years.

Responsibility for central and state commission: They will be responsible for monitoring the publication of services to be delivered through electronic mode and stick to time schedule, monitor the manner of delivery and quality of service. It should also be responsible for monitoring the periodic progress made by the central & state government for delivering the e-services, recommending any simplification of processes and forms for delivering the services, monitoring the effectiveness of the feedback and grievance redressal mechanisms.

Reporting Data: The state and central commission should also submit an annual report on the implementation of the provisions of the act during the previous financial year. They should forward this copy to the state and central government. Apart from that, other responsibilities shall include: reporting the number of electronic service requests received and the number of requests fulfilled, number of electronic service requests in response to service provided in accordance with the applicable quality of service and prescribed details and number of grievances made.

Technology and Security concerns

While the cabinet has cleared the bill it’s not clear who will handle the technology to store the private data electronically. To provide such service, the government will have to collect large amount of private data from the public. Another point to note is that, the bill does not mention how the government plans to protect the data that it will collect. Due to the private nature of the data collected, if it is not efficiently safeguarded, it could be misused. Recently, Mid-Day had reported that banks were misusing the Aadhar card details to issue bank related services.

Also read

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