Is CM’s e-governance just another jumla?

Sangeeta Naik sharing her firsthand experience

Sharing here a quick firsthand experience of e-Governance in Goa, the non-e-way! I wanted to change the address on my driving license. I filled up the form online and paid the fees digitally on the national Vahan portal.
I submitted an Aadhar card as proof of my residence. At the end of the process, I got a message on the screen to ‘print’ the E-form and submit it ‘physically’ (LOL) at the local RTO office. I took the print of all the forms, photocopies of the submitted documents etc., almost 10-15 pages (and all these years I thought EGovernance implied paperless offices, my bad! ) and went to the Transport Department office in Panaji, one fine morning.
I went inside the office and inquired as to what to do next. I was told to go to the PRO window outside and get the application approved. The queue at the PRO window was indeed an extra long one… I stood in the queue to have the PRO glance at the form.
People in the queue were restless as 12.30 pm was when the PRO would wind up with his office for the day. And, without a glance and a sign from him, no forms are accepted in the RTO.
After the long wait, I was privileged to get the blessed glance on my form. The PRO murmured something like the online fee amount of Rs 480 was not right or something to that effect.
After a little reluctance, he asked someone to fetch a blank paper and insisted that I WRITE an application seeking a change of address – the TO and FROM address.
I guess he did not believe in the 10-15 pages of print I submitted, giving all the requisite details as sought in the online form! Or maybe he wanted to test my letter writing skills. After I wrote the letter and gave it to him, I was redirected to wait in another queue called the inspection /inward queue.
This queue was still long as the time this window would remain open was till 1 pm. Half of my fellow queue members had completed the formalities online, but Line to apunke nasib me hi hai bhaya, Kare to kya karen ! (My bad liuck).
Some old-timers in the queue vouched for the erstwhile PHYSICAL system, referring to it as much more hassle-free and efficient. Incidentally, Do gaj ki duri went for a toss in both the queues as there was hardly place to squeeze in.
Finally, my form was accepted by 10 minutes to 1 pm; I was told to come back and check PHYSICALLY at counter number 6 ‘maybe’ after 6 to 8 days. After waiting for 10 days on the safer side,
I sent my staff to check as I really couldn’t afford to waste precious 3-4 hours standing in queue to get yet another dose of EGovernance, the non-E way.
He was told that my old license had to be surrendered. So he made another trip to the office on my behalf and surrendered my license, following which he was told that the new license would be sent to me by post.
Finally, after a long wait, I got my license delivered to me by post yesterday! Such simple processes can be completely automated because the Aadhar, Licenses, Digi Lockers and hundreds of documents related to citizens are available to all the govt departments as an online repository for checking and verification.
In addition, Digital payment systems have become very flexible and easy. But, no efforts are put in to use all these technologies on hand to give even little respite to common citizens. E-governance has not picked up as a concept in the state despite Goa being one of the frontrunners in its adoption because no one wants to let go of the power in their hands- from the peon carrying the file around to the babu who is the final signing authority.
Friends and family have shared nightmare stories for ‘going online’ of more complicated processes like building construction licenses, NOCs for projects, professional licenses, registrations, etc.
More about them at some later point in time. But for now … Non-E-governance ki Jai Ho!

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