New Delhi: The Standing Committee on Information and Technology has recommended that the government should reconsider introduction of a separate legislation for electronic delivery of public services, saying that the purpose can be met by amending the IT Act, 2000.
"The Committee strongly recommends reconsideration of the whole issue of bringing EDS (electronic delivery of services) legislation in consultation with the legal and IT experts before the Bill is taken up for consideration by Parliament," the Committee report tabled in Parliament on Thursday said.
It added that the purpose of facilitating electronic delivery of services would have been achieved through some amendments to the IT Act, 2000.
The Committee also recommended that government should incorporate a specific provision in the Bill that no fee or other charges would be payable by the citizens, particularly the poor persons for availing the services.
Introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 17, 2011, the Electronic Delivery of Services Bill (EDS), 2011 was referred to the Committee on January 5 this year for examination.
The EDS Bill, 2011 proposes that the Centre, states and public authorities will have to deliver all public services electronically within five years of the commencement of the Act, bringing in transparency in public dealings and checking corruption.
The bill, prepared by the Communications and IT Ministry, aims at reducing interface between the public and government officials to save time and costs as well. It also proposes penalties for officials in case they fail to adhere to the norms.
The Committee noted that with the existing constraints in e-delivery mechanism which includes poor broadband connectivity, inadequate power supply, lack of qualified manpower, mindset of the officials etc, providing services through electronic mode seems to be a "distant reality" for the Central and state government and public authority. electronically in a month as per the data made available
The Bill requires each Ministry or Department to identify the basket of citizen-centric services to be delivered through the electronic means along with the delivery channels, with stipulated timelines and service levels for each service.
Each ministry will be required to assess its readiness and accordingly fix the timelines for mandatory electronic service delivery.
The Committee further recommended that the Bill should be modified to allow the citizen to choose whether they prefer the service delivered electronically or through manual mode.
It has also recommended that the Department of IT should take all the initiatives to ensure a robust security mechanism and strict provision in this regard should be made in the proposed legislation or through suitable amendment in the IT Act, 2000.
First Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012, 20:21