Time bound deliver of services bill approved by Govt


Welcome move by the Government.

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave in principle approval to a bill providing for time-bound delivery of services like pensions, passports, caste certificates, death certificates, ration cards and tax refunds, among others, to the citizens. Defaults will attract a penalty of Rs 250 a day subject to a maximum of Rs 50,000.

The Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011, was approved by Union Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime MinisterManmohan Singh here.The bill envisages penalty of up to Rs 50,000 against a government official failing to provide his or her duties, official sources said.

It lays down an obligation upon every public authority to publish citizen’s charter, stating therein the time within which specified goods shall be supplied and services be rendered and provides for a grievance redressal mechanism for non-compliance of its provisions.

The sources said the issue of inclusion of NRIs in the ambit of the bill to access time-bound delivery of services will be dealt with separately by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and the Law Ministry.

The proposed legislation, spearheaded by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, also mandates a public authority to establish a call centre, customer care centre, help desk and people’s support system to ensure time- bound delivery of services.

It also seeks establishment of public grievance redressal commission at the Centre and every state.

According to its provisions, a person aggrieved by the decision of the commission may prefer an appeal before the Lokpal at the Centre (in case of decision by the Centre’s public grievances redressal commission) and the Lokayuktas in the states.

All services provided by both the Centre and the state governments will be extended to citizens in a time-bound manner under the bill.

Addressing a joint sitting of Parliament last month, President Pranab Mukherjee had said that his government attaches priority to the enactment of the legislation proposed in this regard.

Although many states offer time-bound delivery of certain services, the list is not as exhaustive as conceived by the Centre in response to the Anna Hazare agitation that shook the Manmohan Singh government through 2011.

Official sources said the bill on delivery of services promises a more tangible sense of empowerment than a Lokpal as it deals with every day corruption and red tape that fuelled public support for the Hazare stir. “Problems like power bills and caste certificates will be covered, it will be applicable through out the country like RTI,” they said.

The standing committee that examined the citizen’s charter concluded that the Centre has the power under entry 8 of the concurrent list dealing with “actionable wrong” to legislate as long as the states are independent in implementing the bill.

The panel also examined the time-bound services bill introduced in the Lok Sabha in December, 2011, and in its report submitted in June, 2012, suggested several changes that have been largely incorporated by the bill.

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