Services Bill gets voice vote

Services Bill gets voice vote

Officials found guilty of delay in services to cough up compensation

Services Bill gets voice vote

Presently, as many as 152 services spread over 11 departments have been listed in the Bill. The services include sanctioning of water connection, issue of khata, birth and death certificates, building plan, caste and income certificates, driving licence and RTC.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar, who piloted the Bill, said the government would explore possibilities of incorporating more services in the legislation.

Suresh Kumar promised to cut down the timeframe fixed for the delivery of certain services like issue of caste certificates and income certificates, which are mainly useful for students. The Bill has proposed to fix 15 days for issuing these certificates.

If the legislation comes into effect, the services will be provided to citizens within the stipulated time. If the designated officer for the service delivery fails in this regard, a compensatory cost of minimum Rs 20 per day to a maximum of Rs 500 will be paid to the aggrieved citizen. Besides, the government will conduct an inquiry into the reason for the delay on the part of the officer in providing the service and recover the compensatory cost from her/him, if found guilty. The legislation will not only ensure time-bound service delivery, but also help curb corruption in the lower bureaucracy.

"The Bill is not exhaustive in its present form. But it has adopted all important provisions of the existing legislations in other States. The government will take necessary measures to improvise the proposed legislation," Kumar said.

Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar and Delhi governments have already provided this right to their citizens.

The State's Bill is said to be almost on the lines of Delhi's legislation, except the compensatory cost payable to aggrieved citizens. In Delhi, the compensatory cost is fixed at a minimum of Rs 10 and a maximum of Rs 200. Compensatory cost or penalty on erring officials is highest in Bihar, where the minimum is Rs 500 and maximum is Rs 5,000. The compensatory cost is the lowest in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said the government would try to make the legislation more effective while framing the rules and that it will welcome suggestions from all quarters for this purpose. "People need not run from pillar to post to get their work done in government offices, once the proposed legislation is implemented," he said.

Support across party lines

The legislation received thumbs up from all the members of the Assembly. The members, cutting across party lines, welcomed it and gave tips to the government to make it more effective to curb corruption. However, JD(S) floor leader H D Revanna said the government should introduce the Bill in the next session, after thoroughly verifying all the provisions in it.

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah agreed with Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar, who said that there is a need to introduce a separate legislation to curb corruption among elected representatives, if necessary.

"We must put an end to the menace of corruption. People of the country have joined hands with Anna Hazare to fight corruption. Bring such a Bill, we will ensure that it is passed," he stated. Suresh Kumar said a deep introspection among the political class is necessary to prevent corruption.