The Uttarakhand government plans to vest the Right to Services Commission with powers to penalise officials who are found delaying public services instead of facilitating them.
As of now the panel in question doesn’t enjoy powers to penalise officials. “To ensure that it (the panel) is vested with penalising powers, the government plans to make the Right to Services Act more effective,” a source in the department of good governance, eradication of corruption and public service said. “In that connection, a draft Right to Services (Amendment) Bill will be enacted in the Budget session to be convened in June.”
Sources said Rawat issued orders to revamp the Right to Services Act while reviewing the Samadhan Web portal, an official online service for registration of public grievances, at a meeting on Wednesday.
“An initiative in that direction is on,” Cabinet minister Madan Kaushik, hinted when asked if the government plans to make the Rights to Services Act more effective. He added that the proposal recommending an amendment in the law was yet to be brought before the Cabinet for approval.
Kaushik suggested that, if enacted, the draft Right to Services (Amendment) Act would bring transparency in governance and bring down corruption.
In 2011, the erstwhile BC Khanduri-led BJP government enacted the Right to Services Act, which couldn’t be effectively enforced after the Congress came to power after the 2012 assembly election. There are some 128 services such as issuance of certificates relating to birth and death certificates and ration cards that fall within the ambit of the Right to Services Act, according to officials.
Rawat has directed officials to set up call centres at the state and district levels and to launch a toll-free number for the people to register their complaints online against officials not addressing their grievances. Officials were told to provide complainants, acknowledgement receipts of complaints within two hours after which they would be posted via that portal. Rawat suggested that a special app be introduced for a speedy resolution of online complaints.
“The Samadhan web portal, call centres and social media will be integrated to make the public grievances disposal system more effective and responsive,” an official note quoted the CM as saying.
The CM directed officials to appoint a senior official for speedy hearing of public complaints lodged through the Samadhan web portal, call centres and social media. He suggested a nodal officer could be deputed in various departments for “a speedy disposal” of public grievances.