By- Vivek Singh Chauhan
Lucknow: While adopting digitisation, the government of Uttar Pradesh might have thought that it will ease the difficulties of common man in availing its services and it will act as a panacea to crackdown the nexus between the corrupt officials and ‘Dalals’ (touts), but after its implementation, now it is seen that these touts are extracting about 35% more than that they used to charge.
The Lucknow branch of ‘Registrar firms, societies and chits’,is an example of the same, where these touts are openly asking for money that is more than three times higher to the actual fee to get any firm, society or chit registered.
The moment anyone reaches ‘Vikas Dweep’, where the registrar office is situated, he will literally be mobbed by touts, having various plans to get his work done for a certain amount of money.
On enquiring about how digitisation in government offices, has affected their income, a_‘Dalal’_(tout), who works at a shop at the basement of same building, said, “We used to take Rs 4500 for registering a society when the process was offline. Since the process became online, we have started to charge Rs 6000 for the same service.”
After the change, these ‘Dalals’ have started extracting,Rs 6000 for society and Rs 15000 for firm registration, whereas according to the official website,the fee to register a society(N.G.O) and a firm, is Rs 2000 and 5000, respectively.
N.G.Os are called voluntary organisations as its members believe and work towards its motto, often without expecting or accepting any remuneration. Ironically, it may appear that one has to pay a lot of money, to set up a volunteer organisation.
Despite knowing that these touts are active in the system, Deputy Registrar Santosh Kumar Maurya, said, “Through digitisation people need not to seek help from these touts but if they do, it is their discretion. We cannot help those who are willing to have their services.”
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On being asked about the decrease in number of registrations, he added,“A short term decline in number of registrations was noticed at the time of system transformation from offline to online but now, it is back to the normal.”
An owner of a shop at the same building said, “At first, I was concern that digitisation would hit my business but after sometime of its implementation, it turned out to be a boost to my business, as now service charges for registration or renewal of an NGO or a firm, have increased by about 50 percent.”
These touts have strong nexus with the government officials, as one of the touts said to Newstrack that despite following all the rules and regulations,if anyone doesn’t process his application through them, his firm or society would never be registered. He further claimed that clerks will not clear his file for approval, and instead would particularly trace any short coming in the draft and reject it. This process will be followed every time whenever. He will try to enroll.
It was a big transition from manual to digital world,which probably is the reason why people are facing difficulties in adjusting with the new system. Lack of digital literacy has made people more vulnerable of being exploited by these touts. Digitisation can benefit people only when they have knowledge and ability to use it for their welfare, otherwise common man will have to pay the price of experiments of the governments.