Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dr.JP welcomes CM’s move to enact law on right to services

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today wholeheartedly welcomed Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s announcement of his intention to introduce a Public Services Delivery Bill in the Legislature.

In a media statement, Dr. JP, who represents Kukatpally in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, said he had informed the Business Advisory Committee only a few days ago of his plan to introduce the Bill and sought the support of all parties to it.

It may be recalled that Dr. JP had observed a three-day Surajya fast in December 2012 seeking among other things enactment of a law to guarantee basic services to citizens as a matter of their right.

Dr. JP pointed out that citizens now have to put up with huge delays, harassment and corruption in getting basic public services from a host of Government departments. The citizens’ basic entitlements to name a few include birth, death, income, caste, disability and marriage certificates, water, electricity and sewerage connections, building plan permissions, voter cards, ration cards and copies of land records. He pointed out that revenue officials charged Rs.2000 to Rs.3000 per acre as speed money for issuing them a record of rights.

The law should guarantee delivery of basic services within a stipulated time frame and incorporate provisions for imposing a penalty on errant officials and compensating applicants for delays.

Dr. JP suggested that the Andhra Pradesh law can be modeled after the Public Services Bill before Parliament now. At the request of the Parliament’s Standing Committee, the Lok Satta had drafted the Bill integrating the two Bills dealing with delivery of services in physical form and electronic services.

Dr. JP recalled that a number of States had already enacted laws guaranteeing citizens’ right to basic services. He is glad that the Andhra Pradesh Government has at long last started moving in the right direction.

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