People spend Rs 8K cr on attestation; Govt for self-validation

NEW DELHI, Oct 29:
Citing that Indians spend about Rs 8,000 crore on affidavits annually, the Centre has asked all its ministries and state governments to promote self-certification of documents in various official works.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has asked the Central Government ministries to review the existing requirements of affidavits and attested copy by Gazetted officers in various forms in a phased-manner and wherever possible, make provision of self-certification of documents and abolition of affidavits.
“Some ministries have adopted the provision of self-certification of documents such as mark sheet, birth certificate, etc by the applicants or stakeholders. Under the self attestation method, the original documents are required to be produced at the final stage,” it said in a letter.
The DoPT said the self-certification of documents is “citizen friendly” as making affidavits cost money to the poor and involves wastage of time of the citizens as well as of the government officials.
The state governments have also been asked to review the existing requirements of affidavits and attested copy of Gazetted officers in various forms in the departments and boards, corporations and field offices in a phased manner and wherever possible, make provision of self-certification of documents and abolition of affidavits.
“Affidavits impose 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,” according to a background note on ‘reforming public service delivery systems in India’ made by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
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 crore citizens or 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,” the note said. (PTI)

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