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Govt may drop attestation of documents by gazetted officers

Modi says self-attestation should be sufficient

Vrishti Beniwal & Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

You may no longer need a gazetted officer or a magistrate to attest documents sought by government departments. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked his bureaucrats to repeal all laws and rules which come in the way of effective governance.

In a meeting with secretaries on Wednesday, the PM suggested government departments should adopt the system of self-attestation of certificates, photographs and marksheets, instead of asking for attested documents or filing of affidavits. He also told officials all government application forms should be made short and simple by doing away with unnecessary fields.

“The prime minister said self attestation should be enough because it is a hassle for the common man to get it attested from gazetted officers. Anyway, the original documents are required to be produced at the final stage,” a senior government official told Business Standard.

Obtaining either an attested copy or affidavit not only costs money but also leads to wastage of time for government officials as well as citizens, including students, job applicants and beneficiaries of various government schemes. Attestation by gazetted officers is required at many places such as applying for a ‘tatkal’ passport, admission in a central or state university or a government job.

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission, in its report in 2009, recommended the adoption of the self-certification provision to simplify procedures. Taking a cue from this, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions issued a circular last year, and some departments and state governments such as Gujarat and Goa had adopted it. But it has not been fully enforced at all levels.

The prime minister, who keeps himself updated with the day's on an iPad and clicks selfies with his smartphone, told bureaucrats that rules and by-laws which hamper the effective use of technology should also be done away with. He asked them to use technology such as internal emails and intranet in a big way.

Another official said Modi was critical of the archaic rules and by-laws which govern the country's law and order departments, and shared anecdotes on how some of those were done away with in Gujarat.

Sources said flying balloons near border areas was prohibited by law because during World War II, because they were used to transmit messages. The provision remained even decades after India’s independence, till Modi took over as chief minister of Gujarat, the sources added.

The Prime Minister has directed his officers to identify 10 rules and regulations which can be scrapped or revisited to make them more effective in today’s environment. He has directed officers to prepare a dossier of such rules and by-laws and present them for review.

He also said rules regarding transfer and postings of officers needed to be changed to ensure there was continuity of service. The Prime Minister added those who are underperforming could lose their promotion prospects.

“The PM said ‘I don’t believe in transfers. Even if a guy doesn’t perform I have to think 15 times what to do with him because I am not transferring a person, I am transferring a problem’,” said another official.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked bureaucrats to repeal all laws and rules which come in the way of effective governance. A look at what is planned:
  • The PM has suggested government departments to do away with attestation of certificates by gazetted officers; instead, documents should be self-attested. Original documents, in any case, are required to be produced in the final stages of any government work, bureaucrats said
  • He has suggested to bureaucrats technology should be adopted in a big way. All rules and by-laws, which hamper the effective use of technology, should be done away with, the PM has suggested
  • Modi has directed officers to identify 10 rules that can be scrapped or revisited, to make them more effective in current times. Officers are supposed to prepare a dossier of such rules and present them for review
  • He has proposed rules regarding the transfer and postings of officers be changed to ensure continuity of service

First Published: Sat, June 07 2014. 00:48 IST