On Day 1, 25,000 calls for Delhi’s doorstep delivery service

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has instructed officials to double the number of operators and increase phone lines for the flagship programme that aims to provide 40 services to citizens.

Updated: Sep 11, 2018 01:49:16

By Sweta Goswami

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said 30 more services will be added to the facility next month. (PTI)

Overwhelmed by an enthusiastic response on the first day of Delhi’s doorstep delivery service, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal instructed officials on Monday to double the number of operators and increase phone lines for the flagship programme that aims to provide 40 services to citizens.

Till around 10pm, a total of 559 appointments were booked, out of which the maximum of 224 were for services under the revenue department. Caste, domicile, income and marriage registration certificates, which the scheme covers, fall in the purview of the revenue department.

However, there was no data available on which service was the most sought-after. Transport (202) and food and civil supplies (70) followed the revenue department in popularity.

Officials said telephones started ringing constantly about 20 minutes after the launch of the scheme at 10.45am. By 6pm, the government received more than 25,000 calls; many of them were from “curious people” who wanted to know more about the initiative.

Under the scheme, Delhi residents will get home deliveries for driving licences, vehicle registration papers and water connection services, among others, by calling a helpline number. Each service will cost ₹50, and necessary documents will be collected from an applicant’s house by government agents or ‘mobile sahayaks’. Delivery of the final document will be either person-to-person or by post.

Operators could respond to about 5% of the calls made till 6pm on the opening day. As many as 2,728 calls got connected, and just 1,286 could be answered by the 40-odd operators who were on duty. About 21,000 calls were on waiting even as the government said operators will call back on these numbers.

“Looking at the huge number of calls received on the first day, we are increasing operators from 40 to 80 from tomorrow. Similarly, the number of lines is also being increased from 50 to 120 Tuesday onwards. However, the number of calls as compared to day one is likely to go there were many callers who called just out of curiosity and to know whether the scheme has started,” said a media advisor to the CM.

Calling the move a “revolutionary change in governance”, CM Kejriwal launched the scheme on Monday morning, stressing that 30 more services will be added to the facility next month. He also informed that the number of services will be increased to 100 by the end of this year.

“Delhiites now won’t have to stand in queues in government departments. It will save people’s time. Citizens will not need to pay touts to get their work done. Some are criticising that the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) government is spending ₹1,000 crore on this project. If even 2.5 million people avail of this service, it will cost just ₹12 crore to the exchequer,” Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal said he was open to suggestions from people on improving the services and informed the teething problems will settle down in two-three days.

The phone number (1076) on which a person will have to call to fix an appointment for a service is open 24x7, and appointment slots should be between 8 am and 10 pm. The government has hired a private company, VFS Global Services Pvt Ltd, through which services will be provided to citizens.

The company’s head of operations, Manpreet Singh Arora, said Delhi’s 11 districts will have six ‘mobile sahayaks’ and one supervisor each. “After police verification, 66 ‘mobile sahayaks’ (facilitators) have so far been hired through the company to set up a call centre. The process of hiring more mobile sahayaks is underway as police verification for them is under process,” he said.

Arora added every ‘mobile sahayak’ will be equipped with necessary equipment, such as biometric devices and a camera.

Manoj Tiwari, the Delhi unit chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alleged that the helpline number did not work when he tried to make a call. “I dialled the number in the presence of media but there was no reply to the call. This scheme seems to be an attempt to mislead the people of Delhi. The service will give rise to touts.”

But Dunu Roy, the director at Hazards Centre that provides professional services to community and labour organisations, said, “With this move, the government has made it easier for people to apply for a service.”

First Published: Sep 11, 2018 01:46:17


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