New Delhi: The Cabinet has given in-principle approval to a bill providing for time-bound delivery of services. This effectively means that bureaucrats will now have to face the music for delay in dispensing services like pensions, passports, caste certificates, ration cards, tax refunds and police procedures.
Any delay in providing these services can result in a fine for the bureaucrats concerned. Despite the in-principle approval, the Cabinet now remains split over which ministry foots the bill on paying the penalty.
Ministries like Law, Home and the department of post and telegraph will fine-tune this. This bill has been brought to the Cabinet 15 months after it was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2011.
The Bill envisages penalty of upto 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.
(With additional information from PTI)