It was touted as a one-stop shop. The promise was that one could instantly obtain a copy of any government document by just walking into the nearest ‘MeeSeva’ centre. But if you really thought things could be as easy as that, you are in for some disappointment.

Take the case of M. Sudhakar of Malakpet, who went to a MeeSeva centre to obtain his son’s birth certificate. He expected to get a certificate instantly, only to find that he had to wait for three days instead.

And while it takes about 10 minutes to obtain an Encumbrance Certificate from a Sub-Registrar office, at the MeeSeva centre you would have to wait for up to two days. The delivery duration for an income certificate is seven days, a birth or death certificate, 15 days, and a caste certificate, 30 days! The only ‘instant’ service available is the payment of utilities bills.

“I applied for three caste certificates last month, but got only one. I have to come again just to collect other certificates,” rued M. Lingaiah of Zaheera Nagar.

Santosh Kumar, a marketing executive, wanted an Encumbrance Certificate and also pay his electricity bill.

“It would take just ten minutes to get both these jobs done at the respective departments. Here, I have to wait for more than an hour for my turn and come back tomorrow for the certificate,” he said.

However, MeeSeva representatives point out dependence on various departments and their respective Citizen Charters, stipulating various gestation periods for delivering certificates, as the reason for the delay.

“We just raise a request for a certificate and the concerned department has to verify the facts, generate the certificate and affix a digital stamp on it. Only then we can give a printout of that certificate,” he said. Once a certificate is generated, subsequent copies will be given to the applicants immediately, he added.

While authorities cite these issues, citizens are left wondering if the MeeSeva service is just another extension counter.

“With all departments getting digitised, why should generating certificates take so much time? The concept of MeeSeva will be defeated if we have to wait this long,” Mr. Kumar added.

There are about 61 services available currently and about 60 more will be included in the MeeSeva bouquet soon. For the convenience of applicants, the estimated delivery time is printed on the receipt and a SMS will be sent to them once their certificate is generated.

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