Politics

Kejriwal Government, LG Clash Over Proposal for Home Delivery of Public Services

Anil Baijal has sent the Delhi government’s proposal back “for reconsideration”, saying it will increase pollution and put an additional burden on the exchequer.

File photo on Anil Baijal and Arvind Kejriwal. Credit: PTI

File photo on Anil Baijal and Arvind Kejriwal. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal today questioned who had the final say in a situation where the lieutenant governor and the elected government had a difference of opinion. His question came after Delhi LG Anil Baijal returned “for reconsideration” to the government a proposal to provide doorstep delivery of 40 public services.

In a tweet, Kejriwal said while the LG believes digitisation is enough, his government wanted to provide doorstep delivery along with it.

The issue had led to a war of words between deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and the LG’s office yesterday.

After Baijal returned the proposal for reconsideration, Sisodia had tweeted angrily terming it a “rejection” of a scheme meant for the benefit of the people. Today he also questioned if the objection to the proposal was aimed at protecting certain old corrupt practices. He said this was like saying that home delivery of pizzas should stop or that postmen would no longer deliver post and instead people should collect it from the post office.

Sisodia said home delivery is “super digital delivery”. “Digital delivery alone will not do. We need to go beyond it in ensuring that all the services reach people,” he said at a media briefing.

In a series of tweets, Sisodia had questioned the LG’s conduct.

He had also tweeted about the benefits of the proposed scheme.

Sisodia also tweeted that the LG was insisting that the digitisation of services was enough. “LG rejects proposal of doorstep delivery of 40 govt services like caste-birth-address certificates, licences, social welfare schemes, pensions, registrations..etc. LG sends it back for reconsideration. LG says digitalisation of services enough. No need for doorstepdelivery.”

He also pointed out that the scheme was necessary as people still had to run to government offices for work. “Most of these services r already digital. Yet, long queues in offices. Despite digitalisation, most people still hv to run around govt offices with docs etc. Under doorstep delivery scheme, a govt rep wud visit ur house on a ph call to collect, certify n upload ur docs”.

Finally, he charged that the LG was not in touch with ground realities. “LG has taken decision without knowing field reality. Announcement of doorstep delivery scheme was welcomed by all sections of society. Huge setback in Del govt’s efforts to provide good and corruption free governance.”

LG says proposal not rejected; would add to pollution, extra cost in present form

The LG’s office responded with a statement clarifying its position on the subject. It said, “the proposal for doorstep delivery of services has not been rejected. It has only been advised to reconsider the proposal and suggest alternate model to eliminate corruption and improve public service delivery.”

Further, on the need to return the proposal for reconsideration, the statement said, “The present proposal has implications for safety and security of women and senior citizens, possibility of corruption, bad behaviour, breach of privacy, loss of documents, etc and adds unnecessary expenditure for the government and the people.”

It noted that “there are issues with the model proposed by the government as it would introduce another layer of human interface with its attendant complications. Further, the service delivery persons would have to undertake lakhs of unnecessary road trips on the already congested Delhi roads adding to the air pollution.”

The statement also said the proposal would put an additional burden on the exchequer. “The present model would also cost the government and the residents of Delhi as the government would have to pay service charges and the people would have to pay facilitation charges as per the proposal of the government.”

Finally, the LG’s statement said the solution lay in ensuring 100% online delivery of services. “To provide access to internet, the government can consider enabling unemployed youth to set up internet kiosks where these services can be accessed and made available. The government can also devise a model to provide soft loans to the young entrepreneurs to set up such kiosks,” it suggested.