Millennium Post

Citizens' right to better service

The Kerala assembly on Wednesday passed the Right to Service Bill, 2012, which is in every way a landmark piece of legislation that can bring long-term changes to one of the most disturbing and troubling issues of public life in India: the delivery model of government services. Through this legislation the government has made 13 specified services and a few police services come under the ambit of the new law and public servants have to abide by a specific time and period to deliver these services, failing which fines would be imposed. Hence every citizen reserves the right to get government services within a stipulated time-frame and effective, time-bound redressal of their grievances and delivery of services to the public effectively. The law brings under its ambit the specified services provided by government departments, self-government institutions, public sector undertaking or any statutory body that will come under its purview. The law may be further extended to include more services of the chief minister’s office and that of other ministers, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has hinted. Chandy has claimed that this bill could become the Magna Carta of the people of state. This may sound high rhetoric at the moment but if honestly implemented, this law could indeed revolutionise public life in the state.

 In a country infamous for the lackadaisical attitude of its government functionaries, sloth and sloppy delivery of essential services, legendary red-tapism, corruption in government offices over delivery processes, this law could change a lot because much of the problem arises from the lack of a delivery model and a delivery ethic and little or no empowerment of people to act against lapses in the system. This law is expected to act a deterrent and the people, empowered henceforth, can seek justice from the court of law straightaway, without wasting resources and time in running from pillar to post and looking for loopholes to break into the system, mostly illegally. That may now stop. Without delay, this legislature could be replicated in other parts of the country. Not just the people but even the government will reap the benefits of a clean and transparent system and by all means that should be an end in itself.
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