In a bid for greater transparency and accountability in the
government's delivery systems for citizens, the union cabinet
Thursday approved a bill that will ensure public services like
passports, birth and death certificates, driving licences and
ration cards are issued within the specified periods.
The Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and
Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011, was
approved at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan
"The bill has been approved, in principle, by the cabinet," an
The bill, which deals with sections of government having direct
interface with citizens, provides for public authorities
publishing a citizen's charter that details the services and the
quality of services to be provided and timelines of delivery.
Such authorities include constitutional bodies, statutory
authorities, public-private partnerships, NGOs that are
substantially funded by the government and companies that provide
service under a statutory obligation.
The bill imposes penalty of Rs.250 per day subject to a maximum of
Rs.50,000 on officials failing in timely delivery of services.
Officials said the draft bill would go back to the ministries of
law, home affairs and personnel and training as it required fresh
paraphrasing. However, the bill need not go to the cabinet again
and can be directly tabled in parliament, they added.
Once passed by parliament, the bill will be binding on the states.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) however slammed the decision
saying it was an intrusion in domain of states.
"The cabinet decision clearing the bill is a direct intrusion on
the domain of states as it becomes mandatory for all states to
adopt the same act," BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.
More than 10 states including Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Bihar,
Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttarakhand and
Himachal Pradesh have their own citizen service guarantee bills in
place and many state legislations had provisions that were much
better than the proposed central act, he added.
The bill, which had been introduced in the Lok Sabha in December
2011 and was later considered by the standing committee, mandates
public authority to establish a customer care centre, help desk
and other support systems to ensure time-bound delivery of
It also seeks establishment of public grievance redressal
commission at the centre and state levels.
Officials said the provisions of the bill allow a grievance
redressal commission to refer a case for investigation by the
Lokpal if there is evidence of corruption in delayed delivery of
They said the legislation would prove more effective in tackling
corruption at the grassroots than the Lokpal bill, which was
drafted after protests by civil society activists led by social