India launches doorstep delivery of government services
The Indian capital on Monday rolled out an ambitious scheme to deliver government services at the doorsteps of residents.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched his anti-graft Aam Aadmi Party’s pet project, describing it as “a revolutionary, historic step.”
“We always heard of pizza being home-delivered, but now one can dial the government and the government will come home,” he tweeted.
To start with, he said the Delhi government has started delivery of as many as 40 services across eight government departments, including marriage certificates, driving licences and water connection documents.
He said all one needs to do is to dial the government helpline number.
The services come at an extra price of 50 rupees (70 U.S. dollar cents) as the government has hired a private agency as a facilitator.
“We are really happy as now we won’t have to visit government offices again and again, and bribe some corrupt officials to get our work done. Now, we will get essential services sitting at home,” said Maya Rashtogi, a housewife.
Though residents in Delhi have welcomed the move, political parties, particularly India’s main opposition Congress that had ruled Delhi for nearly 15 years, have accused Delhi government of trying to woo voters, as the country is to go to polls early next year.
“Of the 40 services, 35 are already online, so why not improve those?” asked Puja Bahri, the spokesperson for Delhi Congress.
Led by former civil servant-turned-politician Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party won 67 of the 70 assembly seats in Delhi in 2015, decimating the Congress party as well as the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Kejriwal promised to bring in good governance, end corruption and make Delhi safe for women.