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No grievance bill in winter session

NGO led by Aruna Roy protests absence of the bill, says they may have to fight for it. Prasad Nichenametla reports.

delhi Updated: Nov 17, 2011 00:31 IST
Prasad Nichenametla

It seems the government’s confrontation with the civil society over anti-corruption measures will not end with a strong lokpal bill.

The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), an NGO led by social activist Aruna Roy, has strongly protested the absence of The Citizens’s Right to Grievance Redress Bill, 2011 in the legislative business of Parliament’s winter session commencing November 22.

The department of personnel and training made the draft bill public on November 3 as part of the pre-legislative consultation process. Minister for rural development Jairam Ramesh, who played a key role in drafting the bill, had said the bill would be introduced in the winter session.

“It’s disappointing. It seems we have to fight for this bill now,” Roy told HT.

The bill—independent of the lokpal bill, at present under the scrutiny of a parliamentary committee—aims timely delivery of public services while addressing grievances of people seeking those services and, thereby curbing corruption at lower levels of bureaucracy.

Roy, also a National Advisory Council (NAC) member disapproved the content of draft bill. She said the bill lacked provisions like an independent appellate authority at the district level, provision of compensation to complainant as an reparative measure and a single window independent facilitation centre, “which makes it practically ineffective.” “Hope the government would add the bill to the revised business and also bring the changes we sought. If not, we have several ways to protest in a democracy,” Roy said.

Meanwhile, Team Anna extended its support to NCPRI.

“We agree with what NCPRI is asking for. The redressal authority should be independent as in the lokpal,” Prashant Bhushan told HT. NCPRI on Wednesday sent its obejctions and suggestions on the bill to the PMO, Sonia and DoPT.