Monday, March 26, 2012

Electronic Delivery of Services Bill

Electronic Delivery of Services Bill or in the copy hosted in the Lok Sabha site

1)     The Electronic Delivery of Services Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 27th December 2011. It has since been referred to the Standing Committee for Information Technology. The reason for introduction of the Bill and its salient features are explained below.

2)     The National e-Governance Plan approved by the Government in May, 2006 envisages to make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realise the basic needs of the common man.
3)     Though significant ground has been covered under the National e-Governance Plan on various fronts, it is felt that the pace of implementation in enabling electronic delivery of public services is not commensurate with citizens’ aspirations and expectations. It is also felt that the most critical challenge is to speed up the process of enabling electronic delivery of public services to the citizens. 
4)     To resolve issues like resistance to change, systemic inertia, procedural hurdles, lack of transparency and legal impediments experienced in electronic delivery of services, it is proposed to enact a legislation which would mandate provisioning of all public services compulsorily through electronic means from a specified date.
5)     Accordingly, it is proposed to enact the Electronic Delivery of Services Act to provide for the following matters, namely:-
a)     within a period of five years from the date of coming into force of the Act, the Central Government, the State Governments and all public authorities under them shall deliver all public services by electronic mode except such services which cannot be delivered electronically, however this period of five years may be extended by a further period of three years to achieve the abovesaid objective ;
b)     all concerned Government Departments shall, within one hundred and eighty days from the date of coming into force of the Act, publish a list of all public services to be delivered through electronic mode;
c)     all concerned Government departments to subsequently on 1st January of every year to review and verify–
i)       the date by which each such service shall be made available through electronic mode;
ii)      the manner and quality of delivery of such services;
iii)    any addition or omission in the list of services so notified.
d)     all concerned Government departments will need to simplify and improve existing processes and forms relating to these services;
e)     assisted access to electronic services will need to be provided by Government Departments;
f)       all concerned Departments to notify Grievance Redressal Mechanisms for the redressal of grievances relating to electronic delivery of services;
g)     establishment of an oversight mechanism for implementation and monitoring of the Act in the form of the Central Electronic Service Delivery Commission at the Central Government level and the State Electronic Service Delivery Commission at the State Government level;
h)     to empower the Central Commission or the State Commission to issue directions to the concerned Ministries or Departments to ensure actions in conformity with the Act;
i)       imposition of penalty on defaulting officials for contravention of the provisions of this Act;
j)       to empower the Central Government and the State Government to issue directions on questions of policy involving public interest to the Central Commission or the State Commission.

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