Govt mulling compulsory electronic delivery for departments

Draft bill on electronic delivery will supersede all existing rules on service delivery


Deevakar Anand | March 10, 2011

The government is planning to make the electronic delivery of its services mandatory - a move that will phase out the manual distribution of services.

A draft bill - the first of its kind in terms of its ambit and which will override previous related laws - released by the department of information and technology (DIT) proposes to make it mandatory for all government departments to ensure that citizens have the right to electronic delivery of services.

DIT has invited feedback from the public on the draft electronic delivery of services bill, 2011 which is expected to take a concrete shape by the end of March. Thursday is the last day for registering suggestions.

The provision in the existing Information Technology Act, 2000, that of discretion on the part of the respective departments will take a beating as the new bill encompasses all government departments.

Each of these departments will have to issue their framework and format within six months and a cutoff date for the whole exercise. DIT itself is in the process of deciding on a binding time frame for the departments to transit to digitisation from manual delivery of services.

The bill, if ratified by Parliament, will go a long way in fixing the systemic loopholes by placing accountability on the officials and speedy deliverance of services to the eligible beneficiary. The services to the citizen will encompass, including delivery of licenses or permits, transfer of money and issuing and submission of all forms and applications.

Such electronic deliveries will incur service charges and there is provision for penalties for impersonation, and illegal access, including those carried out overseas. Also, those without the access to technology can continue availing the services through the manual delivery system.

A few government departments have already been delivering services electronically. The income tax departments offers slew of services electronically while the ministry of external affairs too allows electronic registration for passports.



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