THE INDIAN SYSTEM: SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVISATION


So, in my earlier article on how it goes when you apply online for learner’s licence in Mumbai, I gave a detailed account of what one can expect of. Here, in brief, come pointers which I feel needs to be known. Your feedback is always welcome, if at all you have time left in life besides sharing selfies through Instagram and liking stuff on FB.

THE GLARING GLITCHES

  • With technology explosion, India has created online mechanism to deal with several citizen services. Fine. Visit site, find what you want to find and apply. But don’t be joyous. Our system is intended but not yet perfected to solve all problems. Be prepared for chaos and complete neglect of online registration. Passport office, Regional Transport Office or any other administrative services office, online registrants must be readied to be treated just like walk-in wanderers. If you get systematic treatment, respect and quick service, feel lucky.
  • Officials do work very very hard in all these offices but then, they are Indians too. We all get grilled by similar bad things in day-to-day life so we have similar tendencies, frustrations and attitude (when dealing with others). So, those who serve us there are similar to us. transparency is reducing corruption for sure. However, favoritism and toutism stay, at many offices if not in all of them. Those who opt for it enjoy quicker, back-door and informed assistance. Those who avoid are served but, “System ke hissab se.” Maybe, part honesty and part corruption is new mantra of life.
  • And officials alone are not at fault. When they deal with sea of people, don’t get perks, promotions, appreciations or even future, they tend to progress their way, and to find peace their way.
a booth with buzzer at learner's licence exam in Mumbai

a booth with buzzer at learner’s licence exam in Mumbai

  • Those who create online, computerized systems need to experience how it actually work, the end result. They will surely find obvious snags need to be fixed. Lesser appointments, commitments of deliverables, more of manpower and extended service hours in cities like Mumbai are few must-do solutions.
  • For documents and their verification, the best system is that implemented for PAN card related service. No physical verification yet effective, near-faultless. Other offices would be encouraged to get inspirations from it.   
  • The best solution can be creating National Documents Depository Services sort of division. Any Indian, by paying charge, following-norms can duly get attested, approved, certified (notarized, certified, blahblahblah) and deposited all his / her important (officially, financially, personally,emotionally, etc.) documents, get them colour-scanned by designated banks,  advocates, Cas, CSs and so on and submitted to official service provider (can be bank, CA, advocate firm, etc.). Get NDDS account and exclusive number and that’s it. Like you sign-in with Google, Facebook, Twitter to hundreds of sites and services, without filling-in information over and over again, provide NDDS account. No paper-work, no need to carry original documents, or run from pillar to post for attestation, affidavit, photocopy, etc. Lost file, got documents damaged? Don’t’t worry, NDDS can provide a true-copy. Charge for this. Charge more if you please but have NDDS.
  • A basic document like learner’s driving licence can be certainly issued online with little extra planning and execution. If super important exams can be conducted online, if Aaadhaar card can be issued online, why can’t learner’s driving licence?
  • Lunch time… should not be visitor’s crunch time. Charge few bucks for (Rs. 30 ka learner’s driving licence becomes Rs. 40) better management, employ additional staff, extend working hours from 6.00 am to 10 pm at least in metros, but for god sake, don’t make it crunch time. In fact, metros need a system that works at least 16 hours a day instead of 6-8 hours. Also, “System down hai, slow chal raha hai, hamaare haath mein jaadu nahin hai,” sort of excuse will have no place in improved system.
  • If a police station can have chowkeys under its jurisdiction, they offices like RTA, municipalities too need to have such smaller branches to serve citizens. Why a person living in Dahisar has to go to Andheri for just a licence?!
  • Why last-minute cancellation, alteration in working hours (“Tomorrow, traffic staff is deployed on minister saab’s hospitality, tomorrow we have morcha of state employees union, so all appointments stand cancelled”) are not duly and well-in-time informed to appointees? Sticking announcement about it in RTA office, or flashing it on website is not enough. Media, messaging and automated calling system exist in this country now, please.
  • Last but not the least, most offices need to have separate provision for women, children, senior citizens andphysically disabled citizens. Though awareness is spreading on this front, we are yet to see well set mechanism. Lad’s first, and fast, please!

(Written on 20 September 2014 by Sanjay V Shah)