Decks cleared for Right to Service bill in Bihar

March 9th, 2011 - 5:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, March 9 (IANS) The Bihar cabinet has approved introduction of the much-publicised Right to Service bill during the ongoing budget session of the state assembly to check rampant corruption and red-tapism in the state.

A day after the cabinet cleared the proposal for introduction of the bill, the move is seen as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s commitment to hasten the service delivery system like issuance of caste certificate to ration card holders, police verification report for passport and new electricity connection to new ration card within a stipulated time.

After the Right to Service bill is passed by the state legislature and becomes an act, it is set to provide a big relief to people who now run from pillar to post and are forced to pay bribe to get their work done in the government offices.

The proposed Act is likely to come into effect by April this year, officials said.

According to the bill draft, it will be mandatory for state officials to get the work of the common people done within a stipulated timeframe or face a penalty of up to Rs.5,000.

Nitish Kumar said the motive behind such a legislation was to provide help to people to get work done within a given timeframe.

It will not only eliminate corruption in administrative functioning but also speed up the delivery system.

“It would help the government weed out corruption from the grassroots level to the top,” Nitish Kumar has repeatedly said in the last two months.

The chief minister said if a government official failed to deliver a work or service within a given timeframe, he or she will be held responsible for it and the government will impose a fine.

Official sources said the bill proposes to impose a fine of Rs.250 per day that can go up to Rs.5,000, which will be deducted from the salaries of the defaulting officials.

During the election campaign, Nitish Kumar promised voters that the corrupt will be sent to jail and their property seized if he gets to rule for five more years.

After declaring war against corruption, Nitish Kumar has made it clear that his government has adopted zero tolerance on corruption.

Nitish Kumar had repeatedly promised in the recent past that he would convert buildings of the corrupt officials into schools.

During the election campaign, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) got complaints that corruption had increased in Bihar in the last few years.

The Bihar Special Courts Act, 2010, which allows the government to seize property of the accused during trial with the court’s permission, is already in place.

The government has already initiated the process to confiscate the properties of nine officials, including a former director general of police (DGP), facing corruption charges.

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