Public service: Madhya Pradesh makes good of first-mover advantageSeptember 18th, 2011 - 12:56 pm ICT by IANS
Bhopal, Sep 18 (IANS) A public service week, full-page advertisements splashed in newspapers, hoardings celebrating tall achievements, stories of the common man lauding efficient service - Madhya Pradesh is proudly reminding people that it was the first state to get a public service law, long before other states woke up to it.
The Public Service Guarantee Act was implemented in Madhya Pradesh in August 2010. The act guarantees delivery of basic public services to citizens within a stipulated time frame and sets in place accountability mechanisms for non-delivery.
In its first report in June this year, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government claimed that it had addressed a staggering 3.6 million complaints and that no official was fined. However, opposition parties and members of civil society did not buy the government’s claim.
Now, after activist Anna Hazare’s August fast demanding a strong Lokpal Bill and the huge public support it garnered, the state government has again turned its focus on the existing act.
The state is currently celebrating the Public Service Week Sep 12-18.
Hoardings carrying pictures of Chouhan and major points of the act have been installed across the length and breadth of the state. Advertisements about the same are increasingly being seen in newspapers.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is also trying to publicise stories of citizens whose work was done in a time-bound manner.
There’s Fardeen Qureshi from Bhopal who submitted her application for a domicile certificate at 11.30 a.m. and got one at 2 p.m. Then there’s Munshilal Namdev from Mughalia Hat village who received income certificate within three hours of filing the application. Gopal Singh from Tumara village and Kumari Natasha Gurjar from Bhopal also have similar stories to tell.
Now, the government is also saying that erring officials have been fined. It says that 13 sub-engineers and one time-keeper of the Public Health Engineering Department were fined in Gwalior for delay in providing services to the applicants.
They were fined Rs.99,500 and the amount would be given to the applicants who suffered loss of time and money due to the lethargic attitude of these officials.
So far, 26 services under nine departments have been brought under the ambit of this legislation, and another 25 services of 13 departments have been identified to be covered under it, says a hoarding.
However, social activists are not impressed. They say it’s still a difficult task to lodge complaints in government departments.
“Firstly, if the 3.6 million complaint redressal report of the government is true, then it shows how poor the government service is, as such a large number of people are complaining,” Anurag Modi, a social activist, told IANS.
Shamim, another activist and Modi’s wife, claimed that around 250 flood victims in five villages of Harda district were running from pillar to post to submit their petition for compensation.
“Finally, we gathered them and held a rally to submit their petitions to Harda’s collector,” Shamin told IANS.
“But it took us three hours to hand over the petition as the collector was not ready to take it,” she added.
(Shahnawaz Akhtar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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Tags: accountability mechanisms, activist, anna hazare, bharatiya janata party, breadth, common man, domicile, efficient service, first mover advantage, healt, kumari, madhya pradesh, namdev, natasha, opposition parties, page advertisements, qureshi, service guarantee, state government, time keeper