If anyone needs any convincing about how IT can bring about a revolution, all you need is a visit to the Passport Seva Kendras run by TCS for the Govt of India.
A few weeks back, while applying for a Nederlands visa for an upcoming trip, we realized my daughter's passport needs to be renewed. Our hearts sank, because we knew it would involve endless trips, paperwork and contacts to get the job done.
But we decided to go for it, take the risk, and hope we are blessed with some good luck.
This was Sunday evening.
A little Google search revealed that we now had to apply online - and literally 15 mins later, we were done. However, the appointment slots for the day were gone, and the website asked us to get a slot when the new quota was released the next day, at 12:00 pm.
Monday, 12:15, I had the appointment dates - Wed at 2:00 pm.
We reached the Passport Seva Kendra at 1:20, and had a nice, quick lunch at a nearby restaurant. At 1:55, the security guard let us in, and at 2:40, we were out, done with the document verification, biometrics, and fees!
Friday afternoon, at 3:30, we had a spanking new passport in hand!
No bribes, no "connections", no fuss. The center itself was very clean, air-conditioned, the staff was smiling and very cooperative and helpful, the entire workflow computerized, with timers measuring the performance of the staff every step of the way! No way for a "passport agent" to get in, no role for "underhand dealings". Even the name - Passport Seva Kendra - is just so right!
Stunning what a professional IT outsourcing model can do to governance, and with Modi at the helm (and the extremely corrupt RTOs already next in line of fire), one can safely dream of an efficient, citizen-friendly India very soon!