Passport, driving licence delayed? Then official-incharge will be fined: Govt

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 07, 2013 07:09 hrs

New Delhi: For all those harassed by the apathy of government officials issuing passports, driving licence, birth certificate, death certificated, pensions etc, there is a piece of good news. The cabinet on Thursday cleared a bill that guarantees citizens delivery of such services within a time frame, failing which officials will be fined.

The Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011, was approved by Union Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here. It now awaits the nod of the Parliament.

The Bill envisages penalty of upto Rs 50,000 against a government official failing to provide his or her duties, official sources said. Officials can also be fined Rs 250/- a day.

And any corruption in such issuance will be followed by a criminal probe.

It lays down an obligation upon every public authority to publish citizen's charter, stating therein the time within which specified goods shall be supplied and services be rendered and provides for a grievance redressal mechanism for non-compliance of its provisions.

The sources said the issue of inclusion of NRIs in the ambit of the Bill to access time-bound delivery of services will be dealt with separately by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and the Law Ministry.

The proposed legislation, spearheaded by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, also mandates a public authority to establish a call centre, customer care centre, help desk and people's support system to ensure time- bound delivery of services.

It also seeks establishment of public grievance redressal commission at the Centre and every state.

According to its provisions, a person aggrieved by the decision of the commission may prefer an appeal before the Lokpal at the Centre (in case of decision by the Centre's public grievances redressal commission) and the Lokayuktas in the states.

All services provided by both the Centre and the state governments will be extended to citizens in a time-bound manner under the bill.

Addressing a joint sitting of Parliament last month, President Pranab Mukherjee had said that his government attaches priority to the enactment of the legislation proposed in this regard.

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