India improving its eGovernance platforms to increase online applications for Government services
According to information gathered by the Registrar General of India, about 25% of children born in India do not have any identity. While the information collected might be dated, since it refers to a survey conducted in 2007, the data gathered shows that the birth of 6.6 million children went unregistered in 2007 and 2.8 million did not get registered the same year. In India, approximately 26 million births and about nine million deaths take place every year.
The numbers do move up and down with an increasing number of people registering for their birth certificate and death certificate toward the last five year. The Government is making changes in the way they handle the process, making it a lot more user friendly, which is something that can benefit all the users. Furthermore, they learned that people do not like to travel to the office and have to make multiple trips since they do not always have all the information.
Working through Government processes usually means travelling back and forth to get the documents that one might need, which can get quite challenging. The main reason for the challenges could be the 21-day deadline, during which the family will be adjusting to the birth of their child or in the case of the death certificates, recovering from the death of a loved one.
When it comes to applying for a passport, applicants should know that the process takes about a month from beginning to end since they have to coordinate with multiple agencies. The passport office in most parts of India is outsourced to several agencies, with a couple of the states are working with Tata Consultancy Services. While they do coordinate the documentation needed and the meetings for the photograph, clicked in person, with other agencies also having a part to play. Passports need a security check on the individual as well, and that has to be done by the police department since they are efficient at finding and providing that information. They even go to the individual’s house to double-check that the address mentioned is accurate.
While all these documents can be coordinated through different agencies online, the Government is working on improving their eGovernment presence to allow more people to get through the process. Currently, people are staying away from Government offices since the process takes too long or is difficult to get through. Many websites allow their applicants to gather the information that they need t get through the passport application process with ease. The forms are available on the website, and they can either be applied for online or downloaded and provided in person. Additionally, they can also download the list of all the supporting documents that they would need to get through the process so they don’t have to make multiple trips to the passport office and can get everything done in one go.
In many cases, the Government is coordinating with multiple other agencies to assist in a smoother process and easy collection of information, but these agencies other than playing the middle man cannot issue documents, and those have to come from the Government office. In the case of applying for a birth certificate or a death certificate, they would come from the Registrar of Births and Deaths while passports come from the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
The online process allows people to coordinate their application processes without having to leave their homes through the pandemic, which is beneficial. Furthermore, the websites used are mobile optimised so they can be accessed from phones to make the process a lot more convenient since a large population in India accesses the internet through their phones. The last couple of years have seen an increase in the number of people applying for birth certificates showing that the eGovernance system put in place is working. Although birth and death certificates are mandatory documents that every person has the right to and in most cases is coordinated by the close friends or family, it is a requirement. Passports are not a requirement for people staying within the country. However, if they are planning on leaving the country, they can apply for one and would need to get the appropriate visa before leaving.