Soon, get caste & income certificates over the counter

 In what is touted as first such facility in India, caste, income and residential certificates are now being issued over the counter in the state, from this month.

Applicants are issued these three certificates instantly - under ten minutes - without the need for any field verification, resulting in significant time-saving for both citizens as well as Revenue officials. Launched earlier this month, the facility is available in 100 taluks across 17 districts.  

Around 1.5 crore caste, income and residence certificates are issued every year, making it four-fifths of all documents issued by the state government. It is estimated that village accountants, revenue inspectors and tahsildars spend half their time in the verification process involved in issuing these three certificates.

"Around two years ago, we took the ration card database, printed village-wise booklets with family details and conducted field enquiry through which we recorded caste, income and residence details of nearly four crore citizens," said Survey, Settlement and Land Records Commissioner Munish Moudgil, who is anchoring this project.

Bengaluru has not been covered as the Revenue department does not have the resources to cover "such a big city."  

Karnataka has 1.24 crore families with ration cards, of which the department has verified and entered details of 94 lakh families.

"So essentially, we have pre-created certificates available with us in the database," Moudgil said.

"An applicant has to walk into any citizen service centre, provide the ration card number or his name. The software will throw up a list of names matching our records. The applicant, after confirming the details, will be issued the certificate over the counter without any verification required," he said. The regular mode of issuance takes nearly two weeks.

Since its roll out, 60% of applicants have been issued certificates over the counter, while the rest have sought correction in their details.  

At the core of the over-the-counter facility is a name-matching software that Moudgil, an IIT Bombay alumnus, coded. "Say you enter a name, the software sifts through the database and shows results where there's a 70% or above match," he said. It is left to the operator at the citizen service centre and the applicant to determine the best match.

The over-the-counter (OTC) facility has cost Rs 10 crore. The Chief Minister's Office is monitoring the OTC project.

"It will be functional in the remaining districts by the end of the month," Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, L K Atheeq said.

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