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Right to Service can fill policy enforcement gaps, says IAS Swadheen Kshatriya

The lecture titled, “Citizens’ Concerns and Right to Services Act, 2015” was arranged for the SLS students with an aim to keep education, especially legal studies, up to date.

pune Updated: Aug 30, 2017 14:37 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
Right to Service,policy enforcement gaps,Swadheen Kshatriya
The former chief secretary was speaking at the 6th Late Shri B.G. Deshmukh Memorial Lecture 2017 organised by the Symbiosis Law School, Pune, in association with Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT) at Symbiosis Auditorium, Viman Nagar.(HT PHOTO)

Maharashtra Right to Public Services Act, 2015 is a revolutionary successor of the Citizen’s Charter which had ended up being on paper with lack of grassroots level enforcement,said state’s first Right to Services (RTS) chief commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya on Tuesday. The former chief secretary was speaking at the6th Late Shri B.G. Deshmukh Memorial Lecture 2017 organised bythe Symbiosis Law School, Pune, in association with Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT) at Symbiosis Auditorium, Viman Nagar.

The lecture titled, “Citizens’ Concerns and Right to Services Act, 2015” was arranged for the SLS students with an aim to keep education, especially legal studies, up to date.

“Right to services is not something being recognised for the first time. Citizen’s Charter was built on the same principle but lacked enforcement. The weakest link being in the actual delivery of services, especially at the grassroots level. In that case, the Maharashtra Right to Public Services Act, 2015 is an evolution out of the experience, unlike its predecessor which ended up in paper without bringing the expected change,” Kshatriya said.

Talking about the paradigm shift the act has caused, he reminded the audience, “Delivery of public services to the citizens is a statutory obligation and not a matter of state generosity, as presumed earlier. This Act contributes to the paradigm shift and it is revolutionary.”

The speaker opined that the eligible citizens of Maharashtra must have access to transparent, accountable, efficient and timely public services. The Act includes within its ambit government departments at all levels thereby empowering all sections of society.

The act gives an online access to basic government services through its portal ‘Aaple Sarkar’ (https://aaplesarkar.mahaonline.gov.in/en) and a mobile app available in both Marathi and English. However, offline complaints are also not discouraged, thereby bridging the gap between urban and rural, he added.

The Maharashtra State Commission was established under the Act, which has been empowered to take suo moto cognizance for non-performance of services. He concluded his speech by enumerating the challenges faced in the implementation of the Act, such as intricate procedures, lack of awareness, access to IT services amongst Indians and sensitization of the bureaucracy.

Symbiosis Law School director Shashikala Gurpur observed that the perspective regarding citizen-government relationship has changed from that of master-servant to that of a public servant and citizen and this change has been effected by popular movements such as consumer rights and Right to Information (RTI) campaigns. “The machinery of law has to be lubricated with the ideals of humanity in order to bring about good governance”, she said.

This Annual Public Lecture Series has been instituted in honour of Late B. G. Deshmukh, IAS, former cabinet secretary, and principal secretary to the Prime Minister. The basic objective behind the launch of this Annual Public Lecture Series is to explore and enlighten the youth and public on the challenges in governance in India.

BOX:

At the Q & A session of the lecture, many questions on the water problem and influence of water mafia had been raised in presence of state chief commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya, to which he responded stating to escalate it further in his next meeting with the municipal commissioner of Pune

First Published: Aug 30, 2017 14:36 IST