A wake-up call for babus

Failure to serve people seeking such services would invite punitive action for the errant officials, including loss of pay.

The Centre is planning to implement the concept of “service level agreements” (SLA) with a view to fixing accountability on officials in providing services to the public.
The system, being implemented at the behest of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is aimed at empowering citizens with their right to secure services, besides binding the authorities to deliver them in a time-bound manner.

Under the proposed system, the Centre has identified some basic services such as issue of ration cards, voter’s identity card, SC and OBC certificates, driving licences, birth/death certificates, registration of voters and registration under the Value Added Tax.

The government will issue a notification making SLAs statutory and fix a deadline for the delivery of each service. As soon as the applicant submits a request seeking a service, the process begins.

The applicant will get an acknowledgement with the name of the officials handling it. If the official fails to provide the service even after the deadline, a complaint can be lodged, and the erring hand will be fined. Also, the official will be duty-bound to rectify a wrong application at the time of accepting it.

The government proposes to computerise all services under the e-governance initiative to ensure that the new system is foolproof. Once the application is submitted, it will be downloaded into the computer, and the functioning of the officials will be electronically monitored.

The system will be implemented first in the Delhi government on a pilot basis from April 1, 2010. If proved successful, it will be extended to other Union territories and subsequently to the states. As service delivery is purely a state subject, the Centre will ask state governments to adopt it.

The fine for poor services is yet to be fixed as it will vary from one service to another. The delivery time will also vary.

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