Rationalization of Affidavits for Reforming Public Service Delivery System, Punjab

Name of the Initiative and State
Rationalization of Affidavits for Reforming Public Service Delivery System, Punjab

 

Name of the Project Champion
Department of Governance Reforms, Government of Punjab 

 

Project in Brief 

The project aims at rationalization of affidavits for reforming public service delivery. Affidavits were required in support of facts given by the applicants for issue of various certificates (residence etc.). Affidavits are affirmations by the applicants (supported in some cases by third parties). Affidavits required stamp paper/ stamp fee and need to be sworn before a magistrate or a public notary. Affidavits imposed their own cost on the citizens -buying stamp paper, locating a deed writer, payment to the notary for attestation and, of course, the time and efforts consumed in these processes. On the other hand, affidavits have no particular sanctity in law and the same function can be easily performed by declarations. In Punjab alone, it is estimated that at least half the households file affidavits annually for one service or the other. Extrapolating this figure to India, the total number may be more than 20 crores citizens/ affidavits and assuming a cost of Rs. 400 per affidavit (one day wages plus stamps, fees and charges), the total expenses incurred by the citizens in India could well be to the extent of Rs. 8,000 crores approximately. This initiative was implemented in the following Departments in Punjab: 

  • Home Department 
  • SC/ BC Welfare
  • Agriculture Department 
  • Food and Civil Supplies 
  • Social Security Department 
  • Land and Records 
  • Water Supply Department 
  • Health and Local Government 
  • Personnel Certificate 
  • Police Department 

 

Highlights

  • Innovativeness of the initiative and its replicability:Before starting the practice of self-declaration, affidavits were required for various citizen-centric services like residence certificate, issuance of ration card etc. The new self-declaration practice has reduced the time, efforts and costs to the citizen. As per estimates, more than 20 crore affidavits are required in India for various services and it costs approximately Rs. 8,000 crore to the Indian Citizens in a year. 
  • Increased efficiency of outputs/ processes and effectiveness of outcomes: Number of applications regarding the affidavits has been reduced at Single User-friendly Window Disposal & Helpline for Applicants (SUWIDHA) centres drastically. In 2009, the affidavit related applications were 14,88,053, which is approximately 65.5% of  total requests. In 2012-2013, it is only 3,20,963, which is approximately 9.81% of total requests.  Due to this, the efficiency of SUWIDHA centres has been increased  in terms of providing other services to the citizens. 
  • Sustainability of the initiative: The initiative is already implemented in more than 40 citizen-related services to achieve more such services to make this initiative more useful and sustainable. 

 

Impact

  • Improvement in delivery time of services: SUWIDHA centres are delivering the other services within specified timelines and the actual number of the services being dispensed at these centres has gone up four times between the 2009-10 and 2012-13. 
  • Better beneficiaries' feedback: This is a general perception and the same is reflecting in numbers also that since the self declaration has been replaced with affidavit, the process to avail a lot of services has become smooth. 
  • Improvement in measurable indicators: Number of applications regarding the affidavit have reduced at SUWIDHA centres drastically. In 2009, the affidavit related applications were 14,88,053, which is approximately 65.5% of  total requests. In 2012-2013, it is only 3,20,963, which is approximately 9.81% of total requests. 
  • Simplified procedures: The practice of self declaration needs to be adopted in place of affidavits. This will save a lot of difficulties, and sizeable expenses for the citizen, having to procure stamps! stamp paper that is mostly not available at the place where the affidavit is to be submitted. 

 

Knowledge Resources

Presentation on Rationalisation of Affidavits for Reforming Public Service Delivery System, Punjab




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