Every citizen needs to know his right before entering any public office
Yahya Bin Khaliq
Citizens in low income democracies or conflict zones largely depend on the provision of basic services like education, health care, state drinking water and food supply etc either due to absence of private institutions in these sectors or due to poverty.
Quality of public services affects economic growth via its impact on poverty alleviation and corruption. India has had a limited success in reducing poverty and corruption like J&K which is among the lowest poverty level states but to be a corruption free state is still a distant dream.
The role of elected representatives is more in conflict and low income democracies where the citizens are directly dependent on the services provided by the Government.
The quality of governance is measured in terms of providing essential and basic services to the people with least hindrance from the external factors or private market.The effective way of providing public services to a common man have direct impact on the poverty reduction.
However, the aim of public service provision is also to reduce inequitable distribution of resources and correct historical inequities such as caste based discrimination and gender inequities. Targeted delivery of public services thus has the potential to reduce economic inequities.
Indian parliament has passed an act known as Public Service Guarantee Act (PSGA) which comprises statutory laws guaranteeing time bound delivery of various public services rendered by the Government to citizens.
It provides mechanism for punishing the errant public servant who is deficient in providing the services stipulated under the Act. This Act meant to reduce corruption in the Government offices and to increase transparency and accountability. Madhya Pradesh became the first state in India to enact right to Public Service Guarantee Act on 18 August 2010.
J&K is one of the states which have enacted the Act through Govt Gazette on 13 April 2011. Subsequently the notification was issued under SRO 223, Dated: 21 July 2011 where various provisions for effective implementation of the Act are made.
An officer in every district is designated to monitor implementation of the Act. He also has to ensure that information under this Act is provided to the common man and notifications to that effect are displayed on the notice boards in every district, tehsil & other offices which are under the purview of this Act. The services under this Act are provided free without payment of any fees.
The Act was further strengthened by SRO 224 passed on 21 July 2011 giving a list of notified services for which the Government is bound to deliver service to a common man with in the stipulated time. But the provision of providing services under the Act is subject to completion of all the codal formalities by the applicant.
The main aim of this Act is to reduce corruption and red-tape in the offices and ensure that relevant information as desired by the applicant is being provided to him/her within the stipulated time.
The services so notified are detailed below with time limit:
Although the Act has been enacted and services notified but proper implementation is a far dream. People in Jammu and Kashmir lack awareness about the Act. Government should reach out to the people and make them aware about it. It needs to conduct workshops, seminars and awareness camps to make people understand the importance of this Act.
Proper displaying of boards in every office should be ensured in letter and spirit showing every notified service with time period of delivery. They should be made accountable fortheir duties under this Act. Last but not the least Separate Department or commission should supervise and monitor its implementation to make it effective.
The Author can be mailed at: Yahyadar2@gmail.com