Centre ushers in new electronic service delivery

 
Official sources told Deccan Herald that the Centre has issued necessary guidelines for ESD regime after amending the Information Technology Act 2008, under Section 6A of the said IT Act.  The draft rules called Information Technology (Electronic Service Delivery) Rules 2009, the Centre, notes shall extend to the entire country and State governments adopt them or notify the same immediately in their Official Gazette.

The ESD will cover delivery of public services of receipt of forms and applications, issue or grant of any license, permit, certificate, sanction or approval. It also entails receipt or payment of money by electronics means or any such public service. The states can appoint an authorised agent or service provider with an electronically enabled kiosk or front office, to deliver public services to the users. They can use cell phone, personal digital assistant or a combination of both to communicate, send or transmit text, video, audio or image and authenticated through electronic signature/electronic signature certificate.

The state governments, says the Centre, may prescribe the form and the manner in which license, permit, certificate, approval or receipt of payment or any other such public service can be delivered under the ESD system. The license, permit, certificate, sanction, payment receipt or approval, will have a unique identification number given by the appropriate authority which can be used to verify its authenticity and content.  These will also have a bar code for the same purpose, sources said.

Service fee

The state governments can allow receipt of payments through the ESD system in compliance with the financial code and treasury code. Further, authorised service providers or agents, sources said, can be allowed to collect, retain and appropriate such service charges as prescribed by the state government for providing services.

The fee must be clearly indicated on the receipt given to the person availing the services. State governments can specify the scale of service charges to be charged and collected through necessary notification.

For electronic signatures, State governments have been asked to identify and notify the list of signing authorities of different classes of licenses, permits, certificates, sanction, payment receipt, approvals and local limits of their respective jurisdictions. 

The Centre has also called for creation of repository of electronically signed electronic records by government authorities. 

Besides audit of information systems of service provider/authorised agencies, the government may prescribe different types of stationery with accompanying security features for the ESD system.

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