Change is at your doorstep. Applying for government certificates is now as simple as ordering pizza on phone. Not only the certificates will be delivered at your doorstep, but the documents needed will also be collected from your home.
Maharashtra launched this m-governance (mobile governance) initiative on Independence Day. Soon, it will be available throughout the state.
Sounds good. But how does it work?
First, give a missed call to *166#. You will then get an SMS asking your name, taluka, pincode and the certificate required. Once you furnish these details, you will be provided a token number and contact details of a representative, called VLE (Village Level Entrepreneur) who will handle your request.
Which are the certificates on offer and areas covered?
Senior citizens certificate, nationality and domicile certificates, income certificate and residence certificate. More will be on offer later. Right now, the service is available in Thane on a pilot basis, where it was launched at Sawarkar Nagar and Kisan Nagar. It covers only those with Tata Docomo connections. Other operators will be added later. That time, the number may change.
Do I have to pay for it?
Yes. The VLEs will charge you Rs 50, plus Rs 6.18 as service tax. You may also have to pay Re 1 for the responsive SMS, wherein you provide your details. This fee is likely to be waived off later. Rajesh Aggarwal, principal secretary, Maharashtra information technology (IT) department, said it would be extended to other districts based on the feedback on the service and fees from Thane.
But how do they collect documents from home?
Alright. Once you provide your details, a VLE will contact you and visit your home. He will take additional details, click your photographs, scan fingerprints and collect the documents. They will then electronically submit those details to the tehsil office, using the smart app on their Android-based tablets or phones. The tehsil office, in turn, will electronically verify the documents and process the application in 4-8 working days and issue the certificates with a digital signature.
How will my details be authenticated?
The e-KYC of UIDAI, or your Aadhar card, will enable proper authentication when VLEs come calling. This will ensure that the service is provided to the right people. Meaning, you need to have an Aadhar card to avail the service.
Who are these VLEs?
VLEs are Village Level Entrepreneurs. There's a network of around 7,000, operating Citizen Service Centres (CSCs). It's the pincode-based mapping of these CSCs and VLEs that intimates them about your missed call and enables them to provide you a token number. "This is a revolutionary step in m-governance," said Prasad Kolte, chief operating officer (COO), Mahaonline Ltd, a joint venture between the state and TCS, which provides an electronic gateway into the government's various services.