Maharashtra assembly clears right to services bill

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 14, 2015 22:51 IST

The Maharashtra Rights to Public Services Act was passed in the state assembly on Tuesday. The bill ensures essential services are delivered in a time-bound manner and at nominal charges. The state government notified more than 110 services and said it will make most of them available online in the near future.

The state government had issued the ordinance of the proposed Act after it failed to pass the bill in the budget session in April this year. Various leading departments will have to notify key essential services to be offered to the common man under the Act.

Chief minister apprised the state assembly on Tuesday that 110 services have been notified by key departments such as home (17), urban development department (30), transport (14), skill development (2), water conservation (9), rural development (13), revenue (14), medical education (7), minority (1) and law and judiciary (2). The bill was tabled in the assembly to convert the ordinance into an Act. Following the assembly’s nod, the bill will now be sent to the Upper House of the legislature.

The departments have also been directed to keep notifying more services to the list. The government is planning to add more than 150 services under the Act in the near future.

The Act assures citizens with services that are delivered in the stipulated time and holds the officials concerned responsible for failure to do so. “We have ascertained the time required for the services, the documents required to be submitted and the charges for the same. The employees and officers will not only be fined for failure in providing the services, but will also face a departmental inquiry that may result in his suspension. The Act has the provision of action against the appellate officers who protect the first-level officers responsible for the service,” chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said.

The Act includes a penalty for default on part of the government employee, which ranges between Rs 500 and Rs 5,000.

Fadnavis said the Act was a major step in his government’s promise of efficient and transparent governance. “The Act, which has been framed after studying existing Acts in other states like Madhya Pradesh and Bihar and the functioning of similar legal provisions at the international level. Though we have tried to keep the provisions citizen-friendly and technologically foolproof, we will be open to amendments if any come forth,” he told the Assembly.

The Act has three-tier appellate authorities; first two are government officials and third will be a Right To Service commission headed by a retired civil servant or a prominent personality from sectors other than politics. The commission will be an autonomous body comprising chief commissioner and divisional-level commissioners appointed by the governor similar to information commissioners.

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