Erratic internet connectivity, poor service by Akshaya centres

While the people are increasingly banking on the e-District programme for basic certificate services at village offices here, officials say hiccups such as uncooperative Akshaya centre staff and erratic connectivity remain.

Statistics from the district’s Information Technology Cell shows that village offices in the district received about 4.75 lakh service requests under the e-District programme since April 1, 2013. About 96 per cent of this has been processed and a final decision taken.

Village offices provide online service with regard to 23 certificates, all basic documents.

The applications can be submitted through Akshaya centres, managed by private entities. There are over 150 such centres across the district. The government has plans to introduce more of them so that each panchayat will have at least one Akshaya centre.

“The processing fee set by the government for Akshaya centres is Rs.20 for certificate applications and Rs.2 for scanning a page. We receive complaints that Akshaya centres demand extra money from applicants,” an official said.

Moreover, there are complaints that the staff at the Akshaya centres are delaying the processing of applications.

The increasing number of complaints on the services rendered by the Akshaya centres was discussed at a high-level review meeting held by Additional District Magistrate P. Arumughan at the Collectorate recently.

Inspection planned

Taking serious note of the issue, the district administration has announced that a special squad of revenue officials will be set up in each taluk and a district-level one to monitor the functioning of Akshaya centres.

The Revenue Department has cautioned that heavy fines will be imposed on centres found defaulting in services. A list of Akshaya and Aadhaar sub-centres is also being prepared to be submitted before the district e-governance society.

Sources in the Revenue Department complain that disruptions in Internet connections affect village offices in remote areas the most.

“Service in remote areas, if disrupted takes time to fix, often affecting service delivery,” a Revenue official said.

Technical Director, Information Technology Department, and District Information Officer Mercy Sebastian, whose office provides the technical support for the programme, however maintains that the e-District programme here has achieved much in the past months.

“The village offices are well-connected online. There are no issues regarding connectivity now,” she said.

More In: Kozhikode