56 more services to be provided through Sewa kendras in Punjab

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Chandigarh, Feb 9 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday virtually launched 56 more citizen-centric services which will be provided through Sewa Kendras.

With this launch, the number of services at Sewa Kendras now stands at 327. These centres see a daily footfall of 60,000, he said.

The chief minister said that his government is committed to bring in greater transparency and efficacy in governance by taking the total number of citizen-centric services available at these centres to 500 in the next three months.

The 56 new services added to Sewa Kendras include 37 that were earlier provided by the police department through 'Saanjh Kendras', according to a government statement issued here.

Eighteen services which were under the purview of the transport department and one (mutation service) that was under the revenue department and was being delivered through 'Fard Kendras' in the state, have also been added to Sewa Kendras, it said .

The chief minister directed Chief Secretary Vinni Mahajan to ensure that more services are included in the portfolio of Sewa Kendras in a time-bound manner. A call centre will also be launched next month for citizens to register their grievances, the statement said.

During the launch event, Singh slammed the previous SAD-BJP government for turning this initiative, he had launched in his previous term, into “loss-making white elephants” with their inefficiency and ineptness.

Singh accused the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) poorly managing and under-utilising Sewa Kendras. This had a huge impact on the state exchequer, he said.

During the tenure of the previous government, the footfall at as many as 2,144 Sewa Kendras was minimal and delivery of services poor. Only 170 government services were available in these Kendras under the previous regime, the chief minister alleged.

Besides, a sum of Rs 400 crore was “recklessly” spent on constructing these Kendras, which cost Rs 250 crore annually to the state government to run these centres, he claimed.

Singh said after his government came to power in 2017, it decided at its very first cabinet meeting to establish Unified Service Delivery Centres for online delivery of services.

Apart from this, a decision was taken for amalgamation of all existing centres such as Suvidha Kendras, Saanjh Kendras, Fard Kendras with complete backend computerisation and digitisation to ensure public delivery system in a seamless manner, he said.

The rationalisation led to reduction in the number of Sewa Kendras from 2,147 to 516, and subsequent fresh tendering transformed the project into a self-sustaining revenue sharing contract model, with no burden on the state exchequer, Singh added.

Noting that the state government started earning Rs 6 crore annually from these Sewa Kendras rather than paying for their operation, the chief minister said consequently, the number of services was increased to 327 from 170 being provided during the tenure of the SAD-BJP government.

Thus, the present Congress government reversed a huge annual loss of Rs 250 crore imposed on the state exchequer by the previous SAD-BJP government, he claimed. Transport Minister Razia Sultan shared details of some of the services added to the Sewa Kendras, including driving licence appointment booking, NOC for inter-state transfer of vehicles, change of address, among others. DGP Dinkar Gupta said that 21 police-related services, such as passport verifications, arms license verifications, registration of foreigners, would now be provided through Sewa Kendras. PTI CHS VSD ANB ANB