Bill for Time-Bound Government Services

Bihar Assembly Passes Bill for Time-Bound Government Services

Patna, March 28 (IANS) The Bihar assembly Monday unanimously passed the Right to Service Bill, which provides for fines on government officials who do not do common man's work within a stipulated timeframe, to check rampant corruption and red-tapism in the state.

The move follows Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's commitment to hasten the delivery of services like issuance caste certificates, police verification for passports and installing new electricity connection to ration card holders and others within a stipulated time.

The state cabinet, earlier this month, approved the introduction of bill during the ongoing budget session.

When the bill becomes an act, it will provide a big relief to people who now run from pillar to post and are forced to pay bribes to get their work done in the government offices.

The proposed act is likely to come in effect soon, officials said.

According to the bill draft, it will be mandatory for state officials to get the work of the 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, he said.

In various speeches over the past two months, Nitish Kumar said the bill would help government weed out corruption from the grassroots level to the top.

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

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 campaign in the 2010 assembly polls, Nitish Kumar promised voters that the corrupt officials would be sent to jail and their property seized if he returns to power.

He had also asserted buildings of corrupt officials would be converted into schools.

In line with the promise, 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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