Kerala to simplify procedures for name, signature change

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Inordinate delays and cumbersome procedures for an individual to change his name, signature, caste or religion in Kerala are going to be a thing of the past, thanks to an initiative by the state government to switch over to online publication of the Government Gazette.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will launch the novel project named ”COMPOSE,” Comprehensive Operation and Management of Presses Over Secure Environment, on October two.

Once the project is launched, an individual can apply directly or through Akshaya Centres, a network of Common Service Centers (CSC) envisioned to deliver a multitude of G2C(Government to Citizen), G2B(Government to Business) as well as B2C(Business to Consumer) services to the public under a single roof, for change of name, signature, caste or religion. Online gazette will be published within seven days with digital signature.

It was the United Democratic Front Government that sanctioned Rs 2.20 crore in 2014 for such a project, but could not be implemented due to the opposition by trade unions and the delay in the preparation of a suitable software. However, the project got a new lease of life as soon as Dr Raju Narayana Swamy, IAS took over as the Secretary of the Printing Department.

Official sources said work is in full swing for the online publication of the 300 page gazette (Volume- X, No.38) with the help of the National Informatic Centre.

The sources pointed out that at present, applicants would have to wait for 45 to 60 days to get the matter published in the gazette. In addition, there will be further delay in the processing of applications. They would have to approach District Form offices in 12 districts or in Thiruvananthapuram for submitting the application. So, it used to be a herculean task for a job seeker to get his or her certificate.

Dr Raju Narayana Swamy, an efficient IAS officer highly known for his staunch stand against corruption, wanted to streamline the procedure so that government services can be provided to the public in a swift and efficient manner. He chalked out an action plan to ensure that the project is launched without any further delay.

As part of the project, an e payment system would be launched for online payment of fees for various services.

Similarly, the process of issuing Legal Heir Certificates is also simplified as Tahsildar can now upload relevant documents directly from the Taluk office. This would bring to an end the existing practice of waiting for several months to get a legal heir certificate after the death of their relatives.

The Kerala Gazette, an official weekly journal, publishes all the texts of the new laws and government decisions. Kerala Gazette notification is the official authentication of the State government. Apart from government notification, any individual can give private advertisements in respect of change of name/signature/religion and correction of casts made on payment basis.

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