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The Karnataka Right to services act - Event Report

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Governance

The right to services act has been enacted in some of the Indian States like J&K, Rajasthan and a few others. The main purpose of this proposed act in our state is to hold our government officials including some NGOs accountable in providing various services promptly. The important issues are both time frame and satisfaction of the common man. The actual act is a highly technical Legal document with a view to guaranty prompt and efficient service to the general public in our state.

Mr. Lukose Vallatharai, presided the function. The panel discussions were mainly on the following Provisions / issues

  • Penalizing the public servant  for delay
  • Monetary compensation to the public. This has less merits than usefulness as we require answers not money
  • Redresses
  • Several layers of appeal [only in our Bill?]
  • Highly Technical and complicated. Requires Legal help for a common man
  • The tolerance limit of for complaisance by an official
  • We have a bill at least!

There was a useful questions and answers session efficiently conducted by Mr. Vallatharai  

 

Picture:- The Dignitaries on the Dias

Dr. Shalini Rajneesh, IAS, Principal Secretary, DPAR (AR), GoK is the Principle Architect of the bill. Many of her statements suggested that the actual Bill will be much stronger than what it appears now. She may be making appropriate changes as a result of the present public interaction.

Comments

silkboard's picture

Link to the Karnataka Draft?

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PSA Sir, the link you mentioned has the Central Government's bill (draft). Did you guys discuss that, or Karnataka's bill covering state government level services? We have still not see the bill (ordinance, to be debated when Assembly opens) on any GoK website yet. Did anyone share the actual GoK ordinance in full?

psaram42's picture

It is only an example and not the one under discussion

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You are right SB. However it was the proposed act that was discussed by the panel. I take it that the panel was provided with copies of the same. However the volunteers distributed various pamphlets one of which I used as a sample. Sorry for the wrong impression created by me.

Is the draft of the proposed act available with praja? I remember something was discussed long back regarding the topic. I did check the various materials handed over to me for the said draft under discussion. I could not find one.

As the DRAFT was proactively discussed Dr. Shalini Rajneesh, IAS mentioned several times that our Bill will come out on top. Of course I for one am a laymen on this.

psaram42's picture

  YG Muralidharan of Creat

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YG Muralidharan of Creat Bangalore did give the Karnataka proposed bill draft. I am unable to get the info link on the web.

Here is a DNA report:- of the Saturday 03 Dec 2011 meet 

“At the public consultation organized by CIVIC Bangalore about the Karnataka Guarantee of Services to Citizens Bill, 2011, Dr Shalini Rajneesh, IAS, principal secretary department of personnel and administrative reforms (DPAR) (AR) said that the high court will hold the government servants accountable if they fail to comply with the Bill.”

murali772's picture

some inputs from me

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@ SB - The discussion was on the draft of the Karnataka Guarantee of Services to Citizen's Bill, 2011. At the outset itself, Mr Y G Muralidharan of CREAT pointed out that the draft does not appear to have been put up on any government web-site. And, not surprisingly, when Mr Vallatharai asked a show of hands as to how many of the participants had read the report, just a miniscule few could raise their hands. Dr Shalini Rajneesh however claimed that the draft was available on the DPAR site. I tried to access it at http://dpar.kar.nic.in/. But, I found myself challenged to locate it.

The bill apparently is supposed to cover some 90 services initially, and eventually, the entire lot coming under government's purview. With this, every department will now have to come up with their 'citizen's charter', and if they fail to meet the time-lines, there will be penalties involved. So, if you don't get your khata within the stipulated time, the officer concerned will have to pay a penalty, and the expectation is that that will make him/ her to do the job on time. And, since it's being covered under an Act, it becomes justiciable now. Of course, how it actually translates into action on the ground has to be seen.

Now, if the BWSSB fails to supply say the 125 ltrs per day per person of potable quality water, it is supposed to, or the BMTC fails to operate the services as per its schedule, I am not sure this Act can help find answers.

The discussions that followed the talks, clearly brought out the limitations of such enactments. Dr Shalini readily admitted to them, and went on to say that this should be seen more as an exercise to improve the work culture in the government organisations. The good lady went on to add  "The government is paying me a good salary. Today, however, I am accountable only to my immediate boss. But, hereafter, I'll become accountable to the people also". Well said, madam. However, as Mr Vallatharai himself commented in his concluding remarks - "if anyone goes home in the belief that he/ she now has a tool to make the government accountable, let me right away correct that impression - there's a long way more to go".

The question that I wanted to ask Dr Shalini was "What would you say to the repeated exhortations by eminent economists that the government should limit its role to that of a facilitator and regulator, and leave the job of providing of services and production of goods to private players?". But, I failed to raise it, since, apparently, I too am getting affected by this "politically correct syndrome", which the janata (including many from PRAJA) is generally afflicted with. I can't allow that to happen to myself :))).

For the benefit of those who missed out reading the event notice, here's the list of the 'dignitaries' who adorned the dias:

Mr. Lukose Vallatharai, IAS (Retd.), Founder-Convenor, Forum for Good Governance presided
Chief Guest - Dr. Shalini Rajneesh, IAS, Principal Secretary, DPAR (AR), GoK

Panelists:

Dr. S. N. Sangita, Professor & Head, Centre for Political Institutions, Governance and Development Institute, Institute for Social & Economic Change (ISEC)

Dr. Ashok R. Patil, Associate Professor of Law, Chair on Consumer Law & Practice, National Law School of India University (NLSIU)

Mr. Y. G. Muralidharan, Managing Trustee, Consumer Rights Education & Awareness Trust (CREAT)

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

Thanks for the report

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Thank you Murali for the report. We may not realize it today, but this "service orientation" approach that is being introduced through these bills is likely to have HUGE impact on quality of governance.

We should probably meet Dr Shalini Rajnesh once if we can and at all possible.

silkboard's picture

Karnataka Right to Services Bill, draft, finally!

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Got a doc from Murali, through Loksatta mailing list. the doc seems to have the full list of services in scope. Here it is, through scribd.

Karnataka Right to Services Bill 2011

 

psaram42's picture

good governance a prerequiste of privatization

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@Murali Sir

“But, I failed to raise it, since; apparently, I too am getting affected by this "politically correct syndrome", which the janata (including many from PRAJA) is generally afflicted with. I can't allow that to happen to myself :))).”

I was told that in Mumbai Taxi / Auto [?] are known for efficient and honest operations. However they are not in cities like our own Bangalore till now. This is the gut feeling of common man in Bangalore like many of us in Praja. To days TOI report shows how Autos are used in chain snatching etc. The TOI reporting in lighter vain belittles the safety of the common man from these marauders.

Observe the comic picture put in the report to attract comic attention.

murali772's picture

should attempt a meet

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To my specific query as to whether the government has the buy-in of the unions, say of the BMTC, Dr Shalini's response was a tangential "people (civil society) have to start demanding better services, repeatedly". Well, in fact, that's exactly what we are doing in PRAJA, right? But, realising fully well that that can't happen as long as the services are vested with monopoly agencies, and government ones at that, is why I am demanding effective competition, besides.

@ Ananthram  -  My pitch has all through been for competition from the organised sector, and not from the riff-raff sector, to which alone the auto can belong. And, if you can have good bus services, you can perhaps do away with them - check this. And, good regulation has to be a given.

@ SB  -  Yes, we should try and meet her. Perhaps, we can offer to build the monitoring mechanism for DPAR. I am sure we can do far better than NIC. Likewise, we could offer to build a monitoring mechanism for Consumer Forum too, I should think.

Muralidhar Rao
n's picture

Link for the bill is here. 

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Link for the bill is here.  Can see under http://dpar.kar.nic.in/dparar/index_dparar.asp below the picture.

"What would you say to the repeated exhortations by eminent economists that the government should limit its role to that of a facilitator and regulator, and leave the job of providing of services and production of goods to private players?"

She probably does not have the power to do anything about it and may have just given a "politically correct" answer ;-).  In fact, since this bill is a draft there are good chances that it will be modified (read diluted) and/or delayed by the legislature before becoming law.

Meeting Suresh Kumar was a step in the right direction but even he alone cannot do much (as evidenced by Ms. Shobha's debacle).  Thus, was born a lobby group called RAAG ... :-) The much maligned lobby allows presentation of a united front on issues. 

Back to the bill - why cannot DPAR propose amendment to terminate services and truncate pension of govt. employees if they have been proven to be habitual defaulters than transferring them to remote areas? Like their wanton ways would end if they relocated :-/

Also, the fixed fees of Rs. 20 not to exceed Rs. 500 is exceedingly low.  Should be a percentage of the income earned by the govt. employee as their income should reflect the gravity of the service delayed and would provide a more accurate (monetary) indictment.


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