Attempts being made to scuttle Sakala, say NGOs

Four years after its launch, the Sakala Mission, which guarantees services to citizens, has been headless for the last six months.

According to two NGOs Rashtrotthan Sankalp and Karnataka Sakala Watch, which carried out a detailed analysis on the scheme, there is an impression that a systematic attempt is being made to fail this “unique” citizen-centric project that can curb corruption substantially.

At a press conference on Saturday, Santosh Nargund of Rashtrotthan Sankalp presented a status paper by the two NGOs on Sakala titled 'A mission in jeopardy'.

The paper reads, “Four years after Sakala was launched, the hopes of citizens at large to avail various services like water connection, building permission, trade licence, driving licence, vehicle registration, various other certificates, licences and permissions and so on from the government without running from pillar to post and without paying a bribe, still remain a dream.”

It adds, “Mission Sakala, the largest and the most ambitious and promising project ever launched in Independent India to directly relieve the citizen of delays and corruption in obtaining services from government establishments is in jeopardy.”

Reasons for failure
The reasons cited by KSW and RS are that 60 per cent of people are not aware of Sakala while hoardings to publicise the scheme in cities, towns and villages have also vanished.

Even radio and TV advertisements have been withdrawn while Sakala Mitras to popularise it have not been implemented. As a result, the applications received have just doubled in four years though the number of services offered have increased 15 times.

The report adds that the monthly report for the performance of Sakala has not been released since May 2015.

A mere 135 out of the 725 services are offered online, which is less than 20%. And what is startling is that not a single service has been added to the online category in 2015, the report observes.

Although it is a citizen guarantee scheme offering services in a time-bound manner, the pendency of applications rose to nearly 15,300 by the end of 2015. Further, the number of complaints received under Sakala by the end of 2015 was nearly 40,000, of which nearly 20,000 remain unresolved. Helpdesks were decommissioned as early as 2014 and not a single cyber cafe was added in 2015.

Further, no disciplinary action has been initiated against officers who did not provide the service under the Act in its four years of implementation.

“A mere Rs 68,000 has been paid as compensation to citizens so far in four years of its operation under the Sakala Act against the corpus fund of Rs five crore created by the State government,” says the report.

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