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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Officials, buck up or pay up

BANGALORE: In the post-Anna Hazare euphoria, Karnataka is gearing up to introduce a law by which officials will be punished if services are not delivered on time.

In an effort to minimize corruption, the Karnataka Guarantee of Services to Public bill stipulates a scheduled time for every government employee to do his duty while facilitating public services. This means a file has to be cleared within a stipulated time by the official. If the officer responsible fails to provide the service in time, he'll have to pay a fine of Rs 500 per day to a maximum of Rs 5,000.

This legislation comes at a time when social activist Anna Hazare is demanding a citizens' charter for all government departments that imposes penalty for delayed services. "The state government is trying to initiate reforms in delivery of key services like issue of certificates for birth, death, khata, caste and domicile; water and power connections; driving licence and ration card among others. These are critical for the common man. It will curb corruption in lower-level bureaucracy," law and parliamentary affairs minister S Suresh Kumar told TOI.

The government took a leaf out of BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, where such an Act has been in force since 2010. Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi are other states to have such citizen-friendly legislation.

Kumar said he'd send letters to all legislators to seek their opinion on the proposed law. "It'll improve accountability and rid our system of irregularities. All departments, including revenue, food and civil supplies, transport, trade and taxes, will be covered," he said.


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