New-look Sakala to go digital

New-look Sakala to go digital

Aadhaar will become a must for citizens who want to avail guaranteed on-time government services

Aadhaar will become a must for citizens who want to avail guaranteed on-time government services from the comfort of their home under the flagship Sakala scheme.

Sakala is undergoing a major overhaul to deliver time-bound government services in a faceless, paperless and cashless ecosystem. Sakala 2.0 was a promise made by former chief minister Siddaramaiah in his February 2018 budget.

“Faceless, paperless and cashless are standard principles of the Digital India project. An applicant can either apply for a service from home or at any citizen service centre (CSC) through a digital signature (e-sign). Payment can be done online. Certificates will be delivered to DigiLocker accounts that we will create for applicants who don’t have one,” Additional Chief Secretary (e-Governance) Rajeev Chawla said. Aadhaar is required for e-sign and DigiLocker.

Sakala, or the Karnataka Guarantee of Services to Citizens Act, was launched in March 2012 and there are over 800 services under it at present. Over 15 lakh applications are received under the scheme every month. Over time, however, authorities found flaws.

“Sakala was only a framework that said a service has to be delivered within the stipulated time, failing which officials would pay a penalty. It also said that applicants should be given an acknowledgement, which in many cases was never given because many departments don’t have an IT interface. Under Sakala 2.0, we’re building an IT interface for all government services to ensure there is a framework to receive applications, which was the biggest hurdle,” Chawla explained.

About 200 services will be brought under the faceless, paperless and cashless ecosystem this year, according to Sunil Panwar, director, Electronic Delivery of Citizen Services (EDCS). “In the first phase, 142 services has been shortlisted,” he said. “In all, we have identified 543 services that we believe will make the life of a citizen simpler.”

As part of the overhaul, departments have been asked to revisit their service delivery timelines and add services left out of Sakala. For instance, the transport department has proposed reducing delivery time of driver’s licence from the earlier 30 days to 15 days.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who holds the e-Governance portfolio, will have to take a call on whether or not departments should stop receiving physical applications once Sakala goes entirely online. “Ideally, we want nobody to go to government offices,” Chawla said.


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