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Enjoy services with a time tag

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 2: The state government today launched the much-awaited public services for citizens under the Odisha Rights to Public Service Act, 2012. The act makes it mandatory for public servants to provide services to the people within a stipulated time frame.

Under the new act, the authority concerned will be penalised if they fail to provide 34 services provided by seven departments — commerce and transport, revenue and disaster, finance, home, health and family welfare, rural development and women and child development — to the people. Moreover, non-compliance of the service on the part of errant officials shall amount to misconduct and attract disciplinary action under the service rules. It will attract a fine of Rs 250 per day if the service is not delivered within the fixed time.

At the moment, services such as issue of driving licence, caste, birth and death certificates, trade licence, police verification certificate for passports, getting certified copy of land pattas (record of rights), marriage registration, hand pump repair and issues relating to Value Added Tax (VAT) will be covered under the new act.

As all services will be provided in a time-bound manner, transport officials will have to issue driving licence within five days of the applicant clearing the mandatory test before the appropriate authority.

Similarly, registration of vehicles will be done within seven working days. Within 30 days, police will have to issue the no-objection certificate for getting passports, while the authorities concerned will be liable to issue birth and death certificates within seven days.

Launching the scheme, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said: “Now every citizen would consider public services as their right and not a ‘favour’ bestowed on them. The Act will bring in much more accountability, transparency and equitability in the delivery of the public services.”

Odisha becomes the 12th state after Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Bihar,Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh to implement the act.

In the long run, citizens will be granted right to another 66 services such as issue of ration card, payment of various taxes, holding tax assessment, delivery of school and college certificates, supply of FIRs to the complainants, issue/renewal of arms licence, passport verification, character and antecedent verification, permission to use loud speakers and holding fairs/exhibition.

After rolling out the public services under the act, the chief minister interacted with the district collectors of Keonjhar, Kandhamal, Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj and Koraput.

People have also responded positively to the Citizen’s Charter (Odisha Rights to Public Service Act, 2012) under which their problem will be sorted out within a specified time period.

General secretary of the Confederation of Citizens’ Association, Bhubaneswar, Subhranshu Rath said: “We welcome the government’s move because citizens will no longer have to wait for months to get their work done.”