Public Service Guarantee Act 2010 is the first-of-its-kind in the country and Madhya Pradesh is the first state to implement an Act like this. The Act guarantees delivery of time bound services to common people, failing which officials will have to pay a fine.

In case, citizens fail to get services on time, ‘they could make an appeal to first and second appellate officers, who would give instructions to the officers concerned. If there is a delay, the officers would have to pay a fine of Rs. 250 per day, with a maximum of Rs. 5,000. If first appellate officer fails to ensure delivery of services without valid reason, he, too, would have to pay a fine amounting minimum Rs. 500 and maximum at Rs. 5,000. There would be a fixed time as to how many days an officer is entitled keep a file.

With the Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services) Act, 2011 passed in Sept, Delhities are now empowered to get compensation for delays in services rendered by 32 city departments and agencies. These agencies, which include the Delhi government, MCD, NDMC, power discoms and police, have entered into service level agreements specifying the time frame for delivery of each service provided by them. In time, Delhi government officials said, more departments services will be brought under the Act. Officials who fail to process applications within the stipulated time will have to pay a penalty of Rs 10 per day up to Rs 200 per application. This amount will be deducted from their salary and paid to the applicant as compensation. Delhi has also become the first state to have an e-monitoring system where citizens can track their applications and check for delays online. The Act was notified on Wednesday.

Under the Act, discoms have committed to deliver new electricity connections within 35 days. MCD and NDMC have entered into an agreement to provide birth and death certificates in seven days. The revenue department has committed to issuing domicile, income and nationality certificates within 21 days and so on. “Every applicant will be issued an ID number which can be used to track their application online or at neighbourhood Jeevan Centres. If their application is cleared, the status will show ‘disposed* on the portal. If there is a delay, the penalty option will get activated. All departments have been asked to keep aside at least Rs. 4,000 to begin with for payment of penalties. Competent authorities – officers of the level of deputy secretary – will have to be appointed by all departments for imposing penalties. Under the Act, administrative action can be taken against officials who are habitual defaulters. The IT Department will oversee the e-service level agreement (eSLA) portal. That the government proposes to take the SLAs seriously comes through in the fact that chief minister Sheila Dikshit and chief secretary P K Tripathi have been following up on the process of implementation.

The Act provides for on-the-spot compensation to be paid to citizens who have suffered delay in service. The erring official will be served a notice within 15 days. The official will be expected to either deposit the cost of delay within a week or submit a representation to the officer concerned on why the delay took place. If the reason for delay is found valid, the competent officer can issue notices to other defaulting officials, if any The aggrieved official will also have the right to appeal to an appellate authority. The Act calls for “appropriate administrative action” against officials who have more than 25 defaults in a year and an adverse entry in their service records. Efficient employees may get cash incentive not exceeding Rs 5,000.

 

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