While local ward blames the National Informatics Centre for failure to issue the much-touted online certificate, central officials claim nothing's wrong with their servers
The common man is no stranger to the tardy pace of work at government offices, but it seems the BMC doesn’t spare even VIPs this frustration — not even Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s niece.
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Ranjana Jaitley and BJP spokesperson Niranjan Shetty in the cabin of the D-ward health officer (right) as they tried to get the death certificate of her mother-in-law
At a time when she was grieving over the loss of her mother-in-law, the BMC gave Ranjana Jaitley further grief and compelled her to run around for days just to collect the death certificate. Ranjana finally got hold of the death certificate late last evening, over a week after she began pursuing the matter. The BMC blamed this delay on the Delhi-based National Informatics Centre (NIC), but the central agency said it had no idea about the issue.
It was to make such paperwork easier that the BMC, along with municipal corporations in all other cities, started an online registry in January to issue death certificates. However, BMC officials claim this particular application is hosted on the NIC server. Each time Ranjana visited the ward office, she got the same answer — the server was down.
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Ranjana had been following up with the corporation since her mother-in-law — a Peddar Road resident — passed away on April 15, but was repeatedly told the server was out of order. She visited the D-ward office on Wednesday and again yesterday, only to get the same response. A senior official from the ward confirmed that Ranjana had been visiting the office for the last two days but they hadn’t been able to help her because of server issues. The official claimed this was happening all over the country since it was an issue with the central server.
BJP leaders Niranjan Shetty and Shaina NC also came forward to help her. Shetty said the details of the death would have reached the ward office within three days, and as per the system, Ranjana should have received the death certificate by now. "We went along with Ranjana to the BMC ward office on Thursday and were told that the server is down. But for how many days? It’s already been more than seven days that the portal hasn’t been working properly; how long can we wait?" said Shetty.
Last evening, Ranjana finally received the death certificate but did not wish to comment on the matter, saying, "This is a time of grief for me and my family."
BMC’s IT director Mahesh Narvekar said the same thing: "The application for the death certificates is hosted on the NIC server. We were told some data migration was going on, leading to this issue. We have written four mails to them and now even the commissioner will write to NIC to understand the problem."
"If the problem was from our side, we would have rectified it, but there is no issue from BMC’s side. We have followed all of NIC’s instructions and upgraded everything that is required for running this application. But the problem has been sorted out now, and everything is functioning properly," he added.
Meanwhile, when mid-day contacted the Delhi office of NIC, the deputy director general, SB Singh said he had no idea about the issue. "I will have to check whether the particular application runs on the NIC sever or not. We cannot afford to let our server be down even for 10 minutes, so this needs to be checked," he said.
He also asked this reporter to contact the NIC in-charge in Maharashtra, Moiz Hussain, who said NIC has nothing to do with the death certificate. But after it was mentioned that the BMC has even written to the NIC on the matter, he said, "I will have to look in to this, and I cannot say anything offhand."
The death certificate is a crucial document that not only establishes a person’s time and cause of death, but also has other functions:
>> It is essential while claiming inheritances and bank accounts left behind by the deceased
>> It is required while claiming life insurance benefits as well
>> Widows need the certificate to be able to claim pension
>> There may be a dispute in terms of estate, which can sometimes be settled using the death certificate