The amount of money that Modi Government wasted on advertisements and propaganda to promote Digital India could have been better utilised by using it for technology and pushing use of electronic records and Digital India in Government Departments and Ministries like MSME.
Narendra Modi Government has been advertising about Digital India project since 2014 but till June 2019 the project has remained a big failure. From Government Departments/Ministries to basic level public service portals, everything is in bad shape.
We at PTLB Projects are already working upon to bring transparency and accountability in Government Departments/Ministries on the one hand to strengthen Digital India on the other. We have launched many successful Digital India projects like TeleLaw Project that have actually made Digital India successful.
But on the Government side the position is really bad. Ministries like MSME are openly flouting Digital India norms and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is silent on the same. First we lodged a grievance with the PMO and the grievance officer of PMO sat upon the grievance. It is only after we filed the Right to Information (RTI) application, that the grievance was forwarded to Ministry of MSME.
But this has given rise to another problem. The RTI portal of Modi Government is in a very bad shape and it proves that Digital India is a political rhetoric. Compare the RTI portal of Modi Government with RTI portal of Delhi Government (AAP), and differences are very clear. If RTI portal of Delhi gets a score of 8 out of 10 (greater being good), the RTI portal of Modi Government would hardly get 4 out of 10.
The RTI portal of Modi Government has a unique feature. It completes everything, including payment deduction, and then flashes a message of failed filing. Applicants have to run after the portal administrator for 2 days to get the RTI application number. Without the RTI application number the application would not be pursued further though the concerned Department/Ministry is aware about the filing and contents of such RTI application.
We filed an RTI application before PMO on 01-07-2019 and till the time of writing of this article, the RTI application number has not been generated. The portal claims that a maximum time of 48 hours is taken to manually tally the payment to the RTI application but even that time period is over.
What is frustrating is the fact that this is not a one time experience but a regular process at the portal. Still neither the portal nor the Modi Government deemed it fit to remove this nuisance.
(1) Update I (04-07-2019): Even after 3 days and deduction of Rs. 10 for filing the RTI Application at Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the RTI Application has still not been registered. When we tried to file a second RTI Application to PMO, the RTI portal collapsed and it remained so till late evening.
(2) Update II (04-07-2019): Despite many e-mail reminders and Twitter discussions, the DoPT failed to tally the payment of Rs. 10 with the RTI Application filed on 01-07-2019. Frustrated with the bad e-governance and worst e-delivery of services in India, we were forced to file a second RTI Application on 04-07-2019. However the second RTI Application also faced similar fate. RTI Portal of Modi Government is a big failure and shouting slogans of Digital India and Digital India New India is futile.
(3) Update III (04-07-2019): On the contrary the RTI Portal of Delhi disposed off our RTI Application in just 1 day. This is incredibly good and Digital India project of Modi Government is in serious trouble. It is devoid of any e-delivery and digital empowerment goals.
(4) Update IV (05-07-2019): After much follow up, the RTI at PMO was finally registered today. While RTI Portal of Delhi Government is instantly registering the RTIs yet RTI Portal of Modi Government is taking 4 days just to register and communicate the RTI number. Now think how much time would be taken by Modi Government to dispose off the RTI Application. On the other hand, RTI Applications in the Chief Minister Office (CMO) and Deputy Chief Minister Office (DyCMO) of Delhi are moving in a 1 day cycle. So a RTI filed before Delhi Govt is not only instantly filed but it is also forwarded for prompt action within 1 day and this includes the time of filing of RTI Application too.