Assam passes better services act - Act to provide better public services

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 30.03.12
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Guwahati, March 29: The Assam Assembly today passed a law to provide better public services to the citizens in a time-bound manner.

The legislation titled “Assam Right to Public Services Act, 2012” will ensure better delivery of public services which the government is mandated to provide to its citizens.

The new act will provide rights to the citizens to get “notified public services” within a definite timeframe and also fixes responsibility on public servants to provide these services in a time-bound manner.

“Notified public services” means any service notified by the state government under this act.

The appellate authority or the reviewing authority will be empowered to impose penalty or take direct disciplinary action against the designated public servant for his/her failure to perform.

Madhya Pradesh pioneered the provision for delivery of public services within a specified timeframe when the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government implemented the Madhya Pradesh Lok Sewaon Ke Pradan Ki Guarantee Adhiniyam on August 18, 2010. Several states such as Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi have followed suit since, bringing in similar legislation for improving services to the people.

A number of other states is in the process of working out similar laws.

“At present, the focus of the entire world is on good governance. Efficiency transparency and accountability are important components of good governance. It is the duty of the government to provide services to the citizens in efficient, transparent and time-bound manner,” said chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who is also in-charge of the administrative reforms and training department, in the statement of objects and reasons of the bill.

The bill was passed in the Assembly amid boycott of the Assembly proceedings by the Opposition MLAs protesting the Speaker Pranab Kumar Gogoi comparing AIUDF legislators with crows on Tuesday.

According to the Assam government, this act will confer rights to all the eligible citizens to get notified public services within a given time period.

This act is seen as the next logical step after the landmark implementation of the Right to Information Act, 2005, whereby any citizen of India can get information from the government on all matters other than those that endanger national security or impinge on policy-making.

The notified service is likely to include ration cards, birth and death certificates, water, power connections and works related to land revenue departments.

The state government from time to time will notify the services, including provisions of fast track service delivery or Tatkal Sewa.

The Assembly today also passed eight other bills, including five amendment bills. On penalty, the act states that wherein the appellate authority is of the opinion that the designated public servant has failed to provide the notified service without sufficient and reasonable cause, he may impose a lump-sum penalty at the rate specified from time to time as prescribed in the rules to be framed under this act.

The Assembly today also passed eight other bills, including five amendment bills.