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Gujarat dials state on service act

The political masters of Bihar and Gujarat might be spewing fire after the JD(U)-BJP split, but the bureaucrats of the two states are not averse to exchanging notes on the delivery of time-bound services to the public.

Sources said a senior officer of the Gujarat government recently contacted few Bihar government officers over phone and enquired about the successful delivery of certain services to the public under the provisions of the Right to Public Service (RTPS) Act, which came into force in the state on August 15, 2011. Gujarat, on the other hand, is still in the process of drafting rules and regulations for implementing the act.

The Gujarat Assembly had passed Gujarat (Right of Citizens to Public Service) Bill on April 1, 2013. “It is awaiting publication in the state gazette,” a source said.

The development assumes significance because chief minister Nitish Kumar and his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi hardly miss any opportunity to take a dig at each other ever since the JD(U)-BJP split on June 16.

A couple of months later, sources said, an additional secretary-rank officer of the Gujarat government contacted his Bihar counterparts over phone in September and requested the latter to send a team to the western state to provide details about implementation of the RTPS Act in Bihar.

The officer had promised to provide air tickets and accommodation to the Bihar team at Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, where a meeting of the officials concerned was scheduled to be held.

“We requested the Gujarat officer to send a formal invitation to us for the same,” a senior officer of Bihar’s general administration department (GAD) said on Sunday.

A GAD official was tipped off about the proposed visit to Gujarat and was asked by his senior to be mentally prepared to attend the meeting. The visit was cancelled later because the Gujarat government did not send a formal invitation letter. A similar request was made earlier when Deepak Kumar was holding the post of principal secretary of GAD, Bihar.

GAD’s principal secretary Dharmendra Singh Gangwar said: “Several states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Punjab and Jharkhand, have requested to share information about the successful implementation of the act in the state.”

Gangwar said he visited Jaipur a few months ago to attend a meeting on the subject. “The participants were surprised to know that about six crore applications have been submitted at delivery counters in Bihar since the act came into force in 2011,” he told The Telegraph.

Gangwar said a Karnataka team had visited the state to get a first-hand experience of the delivery system. “A secretary-rank officer of Jharkhand government contacted us recently and requested us to send a team from Bihar to share information about the RTPS Act. They will hold a meeting on the issue in January,” he said.

He said the state government went a step further in providing benefits of the act and introduced “tatkal” system, in which caste, income and domicile certificates are provided in two days.

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