BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Thursday decided to enact a comprehensive Right to Public Services Act that would empower citizens to seek over 70 services in a time frame while erring officials could invite penalties.
“Necessary preparatory work for enactment of the law has been completed and it will be placed before the Cabinet soon,” said a release from the Chief Minister’s Office.
Important public services delivered by 10 departments like Commerce and Transport, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Finance, Health and Family Welfare, Home, Rural Development, Revenue and Disaster Management, School and Mass Education and Women and Child Development have been identified for coverage under the proposed law.
Once the Act comes into force, citizens of the State will be entitled to public services in a prescribed time limit. In case of lapses by public officials, the people will have the right to appeal before the appellate authorities. Penalties will be imposed on erring public officials.
The proposed Act provides for identifying the Government functionary at any level and fixing responsibility for causing delay in providing service. The guilty could invite a penalty which will be decided by the Cabinet, informed sources said.
The law will entitle citizens to collect information as the legislation makes it mandatory for civil servants and public authorities to comply with the provisions promptly.
‘’The Right to Public Services Act will make the public service delivery mechanism efficient and transparent,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said and added this will make life easier for the common man. The services to be covered under the proposed Act include certified copies of all documents at village level, record of land rights, mutation certificate, demarcation of land, sanction of water supply and sewerage connection, electricity connection, certified copies of birth and death certificates, registration certificate of vehicles, fitness certificate for commercial vehicles, issue of driving licence and renewal of arms licence, among others.
All kinds of police verifications, including passport verification, issue of various certificates like caste, OBC, income and residence, registration of all kinds of documents, sanction of all social security benefits related to old age, handicapped and widow will also come under its purview, the sources said.
The draft Bill was discussed at a high- level meeting chaired by the Chief Minister. Secretaries of departments concerned were present.
Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh said the Government was planning to bring this legislation after it miserably failed to provide services to the citizens in time. Alleging that the Chief Minister is trying to hoodwink the people, he said the BJD Government has no control over the official machinery.