Citizens’ charter bill tabled in parliament

December 20th, 2011 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Anna Hazare New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) The citizens charter bill that spells out responsibilities of government departments towards citizens, their right to delivery of goods and services, and redressal of their grievances in a time-bound manner was introduced in the Lok Sabha Tuesday.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy introduced the Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011, which was cleared by the cabinet earlier this month.

The government has gone ahead with the bill despite severe opposition from Anna Hazare and his team who want the provisions to be kept within the ambit of the proposed anti-corruption Lokpal bill.

The bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee that will prepare its report and submit it to the house before the legislation is debated and passed.

The highlights of the bill are:

- Every department or the authority would be asked to publish a citizen’s charter, listing all the services it renders and the possible time frame within which the goods and services could be delivered.

- It also mandates that every government department should create an information and facilitation centre which may include a customer helpline or helpdesk to handle complaints and guide citizens.

- It also suggests appointment of grievance redress officer in every department or public authority who can provide all necessary assistance to citizens in filing complaints.

- The officer has to ensure that any complainant is informed in writing about the action taken on his complaint.

- If this is not done, a complainant can appeal to a designated authority who will have authority to summon accused officers and question them within 30 days of the complaint, and if proven guilty they could face penalty. They will also have to compensate the citizen.

- If a complainant feels unsatisfied with the designated authority’s decision, he or she can approach public grievances redressal commissions which would be established at both central and state levels.

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