Communication and IT
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Highlights of the Bill
- The Bill requires public authorities to deliver all public services electronically within a maximum period of eight years.
- There are two exceptions to this requirement: (a) services that cannot be delivered electronically; and (b) services that public authorities, in consultation with the Commissions, decide not to deliver electronically.
- The Bill establishes Central and State Electronic Service Delivery Commissions to monitor compliance of government departments, and hear representations.
- Public authorities have to establish a mechanism to redress complaints. Complaints may be for: (a) non-delivery of services in an electronic form; or (b) deficiency in the electronic service provided. In the first case, a representation may be made against the mechanism’s orders before the Commission.
- A maximum penalty of Rs 5,000 may be imposed on a defaulting officer by the Central and State Commissions.
Key Issues and Analysis
- To provide electronic services, information may be stored electronically. However, the Bill does not provide any safeguards to protect the security of such information.
- The Bill provides for complaints against: (a) non-availability of electronic services; and (b) deficiency in electronic service. The appellate mechanism is available in the former case and not in the latter case.
- The grievance redressal mechanism under this Bill may overlap with the grievance redressal mechanism under the Citizens Charter Bill, 2011. Additionally, some states have enacted their own laws on electronic delivery of services.
- The Bill states that a government order for the appointment of a Commissioner ‘may not be questioned in any manner’. This may be in contradiction with the decision of the Supreme Court on the appointment of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner.
- The Standing Committee’s recommendations include: (a) the need to simultaneously provide services manually; and (b) that infrastructure costs to be borne by the centre.