June 23, 2013: Ranchi is honoured at the e-India Governance Summit in Hyderabad for best use of information and communication technology in rural development
June 2, 2014: The capital district is grappling with a backlog of more than 4,500 applications for online services such as issuing of birth, death and caste certificates
The abysmal sign of regression has taken Ranchi district authorities, hitherto engrossed with one of the country’s most historic general elections, by unpleasant surprise.
That the one-time best e-district of India has 4,706 pending pleas came to light on Monday when deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey decided to review progress of virtual services.
“Yes, there is a backlog of over 4,500 applications. I can understand why: almost everyone from top to bottom was engaged with Lok Sabha poll responsibilities. But, that cannot be an excuse to keep other important work pending,” Choubey said, adding that he had directed all circle officers to clear appeals within a week.
“I have directed officials of the e-district project to distribute certificates immediately and also clear applications that are under-process (applied in the past 30 days),” the deputy commissioner stressed.
But, the aam aadmi has almost lost hope.
Durgamani Devi (24) of Lowahatu panchayat area in Rahe block feels she was better off without the e-amenities. She is now a regular visitor to the local Pragya Kendra where she had applied for her income certificate eight months ago.
“Last year when I conceived, a neighbour told me about the Laadli Laxmi Yojana (a scheme for the girl child). I had all documents except for an income certificate. I applied for the same in September. Today, I am blessed with a daughter, but am yet to receive the certificate. My daughter’s birth certificate too is awaited,” she said.
Around January, economics graduate Bhubaneshwar Mahto of Bundu decided to apply for a government job for which he needed a caste certificate.
“Char mahina to ho gaya hoga apply kiye huye, certificate nahi mil raha hai. Pehle to Pragya Kendra mein kaam ek mahine ke andar ho jata tha (It must have been four months since I applied for a caste certificate, but am yet to get it. Earlier, documentation was done within a month),” he rued.
In Jharkhand, the e-project kicked off in 2011 — the Centre gave the state Rs 319.69 lakh — with Ranchi as a pilot district. Inaugurated by former chief minister Arjun Munda, it started on September 13 that year from Arsandey panchayat in Kanke block.
Till May 2013, the project was limited to rural areas alone, but from June last year, urban Ranchi was also brought under the e-project ambit.
Officials in the deputy commissioner’s office said the highest number of pending applications was from urban areas (see box) followed by Ormanjhi, Tamar, Silli, Bundu and Kanke.
With the mayoral polls scheduled this month, generating certificates in urban areas will certainly be delayed further. “However, the rural backlog will be cleared within no time (as directed by the DC),” said a project official.
Last year, around 10 nominations from various states had been filed for the e-district award, but Ranchi made Jharkhand proud.
The reason why Ranchi had won was that while others restricted e-services to blocks, the capital district went ahead with Pragya Kendras in every nook and cranny. But then, good things have a shelf life.