Government of India has launched a legal aid portal called Tele-Law, with the objective of making legal aid accessible to citizens in rural areas. This service will be provided through the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY) Common Service Centres (CSC) network, at the panchayat level. During the first phase, Tele-Law will be piloted across 500 CSCs in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. However, no indication has been provided as to how long the pilot phase is expected to run.
Citizens will be able to seek legal advice from lawyers through video conferencing. They will also be able to connect with law school clinics, District Legal Service Authorities, voluntary service providers and Non-Government Organisations that work on legal aid. Apparently, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) will ensure that a panel of lawyers from state capitals are available through video conferencing to provide legal advice and counselling, on Tele-Law.
For ten days every month, a Para Legal Volunteer will be available at each CSC, who will be the first point of contact. They will help citizens connect with lawyers, explain the advice given by the lawyers, and provide assistance in case further action is required.
This adds to the Government’s long history of overtly ambitious e-services projects, launched over the past three years, with little outcome:
April 2016: Online trading platform for farmers, connecting them to a network of wholesale agricultural markets.
November 2015: Launched ePathshala platform that hosts educational resources for teachers, students, parents, researchers and educators.
July 2015: Rs 200 crore cleared to set up an online agriculture marketplace, integrating 585 wholesale mandis across India to giver farmers better access to market prices for the produce.
– The government launched an online marketplace called e-Basta for students to download school books and ebooks.
August 2014: The National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) launched a B2C e-commerce portal called msmeshopping.com, that aims to help Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country sell their products online.
Image from CSCeGov’s Twitter page.