Waiting in long queues to pay mobile phone and EB bills, or taxes, or get copies of birth or death certificates has become a thing of the past for many, with websites of various agencies providing online payment facilities.

Aimed at making things more convenient for the office-goer and cutting down paper usage, online services are becoming popular by the day. According to a senior official of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, the number of consumers paying their bills online has doubled from 30,000 to 60,000.

Similarly, there has been a marked improvement in the number of consumers paying water tax through the Chennai Metrowater website. The number grew from 8,254 consumers last year to 14,957 this year.

Last year, over Rs.5.4 crore was collected through the Chennai Corporation website as property tax. Civic body officials said the moment a person enters property details, it gets recorded in their database. The civic body gets an instantaneous record of the payment made by a resident.

For payments through credit or debit cards, a consortium of banks has come up with Verified by Visa and Master Secured where a password or pin number has to be created to use online services through intermediaries.

However, many consumers including senior citizens continue to use conventional payment modes. “Lesser number of payment gateways and security issues concerning online payment need to be addressed,” the TNEB official said. Officials of Chennai Telephones said only 3 to 5 per cent of customers used online services. Rakesh Chordia, a resident of Sowcarpet, said that though he was comfortable with cash transfers and paying cellular phone bills online, he does not pay taxes and EB bills through this mode. “Once I placed an online order for a set of collectors' coins from a government Mint and it took me two months to get confirmation. So I avoid government websites,” he said.

Santhosh Babu, Director, Tamil Nadu eGovernance Agency (TNeGA), said eGovernance Services would soon be launched integrating more than 120 kinds of information and payment services in the State government website www.tn.gov.in

Mr. Babu, who is also the Managing Director of Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu, said the organisation was computerising various welfare schemes of the government, online services of Taluk offices, tax administration of commercial taxes and payments of various departments.

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