Random Thoughts
D Dhanuraj
Download as PDF
Print this Page
Send to Email
Post a Comment
 


The other day my brother asked me to pay the CESS for the two wheeler that I use. For many days he repeated the advice and I decided to visit the Road Transport office (RTO) which is on my way to the office. I was warned by my brother that the CESS comes around fifty rupees and if I don't pay, the police may catch me and I may end up paying a heavy sum!!! Anyways, I should be a law abiding citizen...

I started from my home to office at 8.30 a.m. for a forty five minute drive to cover 17 Km. I don't understand why I should pay CESS to the Government on such a terrible conduit of the traffic in a city measuring 22 K.M per hour speed or less than that. Again, I have to be a law abiding citizen and that is why. I reached RTO office at 9.30 a.m. and I was told that I had to wait till 10.15 to start the fee collection. Since I did not have the time to wait and a meeting to attend, I thought of paying the fee some other day. Next time when I went to RTO, it was already afternoon. Sadly, fee collection was only till 1 p.m. and after that the counter reopens next day morning only! I had to go back and choose another day for paying the fee. I know the probability of averages say that if you miss one, you will end up missing three. The next time I went, I was wondering what was there in stock for me to miss another one. Oh my Goodness!, it was a second Saturday and they close even before 1 p.m. Then I thought that I might have as well paid the bribe to the police, if got caught, than spending valuable hours on all the working days to keep going to RTO to pay just Rs 50. What to do, I am a law abiding citizen!!

Next time I made it. I went there in the morning and waited till the counter got opened. This time they started collecting the money by 10.05 onwards. I thought I was lucky but the lady staff who collected money informed that she did not have any exact balance in their counter since it was early morning. Either I had to wait or give the exact denomination at the counter. Finally I did pay the amount.

What does it mean? Does it point fingers at the classical and traditional way of collecting fees in the IT age? Does it mean that the mindset of the bureaucracy is yet to change? Are we lagging behind a lot with respect to the introduction of the technology in these public offices to offer a better service to the general public? My immediate reaction to this issue was to suggest to get these things done online. But this would look like a solution suggested by upwardly mobile IT savvy youth!! In our country the internet penetration is only 45 million thanks to Government policies. What else can we do? Why doesn't the State Government have an understanding with all leading banks so that these kinds of remittance can be done through ATM counters. Today, having the common ATM platform for all the customers, I propose this would be a great value addition to the working culture of the state where most of the car and two wheeler owners belong to middle class families who cannot miss even an hour's work for paying the collection charges like above. It is very apparent that Kerala having high number of savings accounts, there is no doubt that all these vehicle owners would possess an ATM card. Alas! Same is the case with the payment procedure we should look for all the public services including water, electricity etc. We have a proven example in the telecom sector and how it worked there. What can I do to implement it; bandh, protest, lobbying? No chance, I am a law abiding citizen!!

D.Dhanuraj is the Chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research, Kochi, Kerala, India

MindTEXT
Advanced Search
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
 
   
  1 Comment          
[1]  July 6 2009
I think we should keep in mind t fact that the government has recently alloted lakhs of rupees for e-governance. We have a long way to go. Akshaya Centres all over the state cater to this need as payment for BSNL(Landline and Mobile) phones, Water charges and University fees can be done. While Civil Supplies
Local Body, Revenue and RTO are soon to be launched (www.e-kendra.org). this is a welcome step. But the implementation of which is the issue. The Passport office has been the scene of controversy for some time araound and voices for payment of passport fees through Akshaya Centres fell through deaf ears. Unless the apathy and laxity is demolished, no construction will happen, but destruction would be inevitable. (Note: RTO got disrupted by a virus attack causing the office staff to sit without work for 2 days)
 
--- Madhus
div  
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © MindTEXT