Chandigarh, October 5
The Punjab Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed the Right to Service Bill-2011 after Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal assured the Opposition that their suggestions on extension of services under the Bill and making the bureaucracy accountable would be followed.
The Bill provides for time-bound delivery of 67 citizen-centric services, including municipal services like water and sewerage connections and sanction of building plans, to the public. Police services like passport verification and permission for use of loud speakers and various other services, including verification of certificates and issuing of driving licences, also fall within its ambit.
The Bill provides for appointment of designated officers responsible for provision of the services and appointment of first and second appellate authorities. It also provides for penalty of Rs 250 per day in case the designated officer does not provide a service within the stated time frame.
The Opposition was initially apprehensive that the Bill had come too late in the day and it did not have sufficient safeguards to ensure the bureaucracy would fall in line.
In fact, things were moving towards a fractured mandate in the Assembly with Congress legislator Sunil Jakhar questioning the very need of the Bill. Jakhar also called for stern action against defaulting officers and said their delivery record should be recorded in their annual confidential reports (ACRs). Those who don’t perform should be terminated, he suggested. Congress MLA Sukhpal Khaira said more police services should be brought within the ambit of the Bill.
However, Sukhbir allayed the fears of Opposition members and said their suggestions would be followed.
Claiming the government should be supported for making a beginning in the right direction, Sukhbir said it took
their regime nearly three years to work on the concept of the Bill and remove bottlenecks to ensure its success.
Sukhbir said it was for the first time that the bureaucracy was being made answerable and accountable. He said officers would now be legally bound to deliver services within the stipulated time or they would have to face penalty besides departmental action.
Sukhbir reiterated that the ruling SAD-BJP was committed to improving governance. He said 90 per cent of land records had been computerised.
Know The Bill
- The Bill provides for time-bound delivery of 67 citizen-centric services, including municipal services like water and sewerage connections and sanction of building plans, to the public.
- It will also ensure appointment of designated officers responsible for provision of the services
- It also provides for penalty of `250 per day in case the designated officer does not provide a service within the stated time frame.