oppn parties Lieutenant Governor of Delhi is Being Highhanded

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Lieutenant Governor of Delhi is Being Highhanded

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-12-28 20:16:02

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
For once, Arvind Kejriwal is right. The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal, is being highhanded and arbitrary in shooting down the Delhi government’s scheme of home delivery of vital services. The reasons he has given are specious and the decision seems designed to put hurdles in the way of the elected government. All this comes after the Supreme Court has recently taken him to task for being unreasonable. Despite Delhi not being a full state and the Constitution vesting many powers with the Lt. Governor, a line has to be drawn somewhere and the decisions of the Lt. Governor cannot be based on his whims and fancies.

The crux of the matter is that the Delhi government had decided to ease the process of obtaining some government services by the people by asking its officers to visit the homes of people who requisition such services and help them out with documentation and other formalities. This is a perfectly good service that will help people a lot. Instead of them doing the running around, government officers will do the job and deliver the service to them. But Baijal refused to sign the order. His reason: there is no need for home delivery since most services have been digitized and available on the internet.

Availability of services on the net benefits a certain class of population. Those not having internet connections or not well versed in how to use technology are left running around government offices to get simple things done. Perhaps Mr Baijal has never filled a form online. Government forms always come with several catches. Of course there are centres where one can go and get help. But this leaves the people open to being fleeced and their privacy is also compromised as these centres are known to store peoples’ documents and use them for profit later. In such a scenario, the Delhi government’s latest move is laudable.

The only thing the Delhi government must ensure is that it does not lead to corruption. It is often seen that when government officers visit peoples’ homes for anything, even if it is a free government service, they usually demand an underhand fee. People give it willingly as it saves them a lot of harassment. But this defeats the purpose of the service. Digitization is better in the sense that it reduces contact between officers and citizens and thereby reduces corruption. But there is no harm in giving home delivery a try. The Lt. Governor should revise his stand and allow it.