New Delhi: Providing a big relief to the common man, the Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a bill providing for time-bound delivery of services like pensions, passports, caste certificates, ration cards and tax refunds etc.
The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill also comes with a penalty of Rs 250 a day subject to a maximum of Rs 50,000 for default.
The Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of Grievances Bill will be enacted under the concurrent list, which means all states will now have to offer the entire gamut of services listed by the Centre`s Citizen`s Charter, once the bill is approved by the Parliament and signed by the President.
Although many states offer time-bound delivery of certain services, the list is not as exhaustive as conceived by the Centre in response to the Anna Hazare agitation that shook the Manmohan Singh government through 2011.
Provisions of the bill allow a state or central grievance redressal commission to refer a case for criminal investigation or inquiry by Lokpal if the panel concludes there is evidence of corruption in delayed dispensation of services.
Public authorities required to provide services include constitutional and statutory bodies, public-private partnerships, notified entities, government-funded NGOs, government companies and private firms offering services outsourced by government.
The bill — introduced with much fanfare in 2011 December as a counter measure to the Anna Hazare’s movement — is one of the key measures of the UPA to provide better governance.
Government sources believe the bill on delivery of services promises a more tangible sense of empowerment than a Lokpal as it deals with every day corruption and red tape that fuelled public support for the Hazare stir.