Service act: Need to cut time period

PATNA: The state government’s attack on corruption heavily relies on two weapons in its armoury – Right to Public Service (RTPS) Act, which makes it mandatory for government officials and staff to provide certain services to people within a fixed period, and Bihar Special Courts Act, to expeditiously prosecute the corrupt officials.

The RTPS Act came into force less than a month ago. However, people are facing some problems in getting services under the provisions of the Act. The time limit given in the Act appears to be a major issue.

A worried looking Rahmat Ali, a resident of Alamganj, was loitering at Patna Collectorate to get residential certificate. “I had applied on August 19 and came here to find out after the passage of 21 mandatory days,” he was heard telling a clerk at the office of BDO on Friday last, while pleading that he needed the certificate urgently. The clerk told him the act meant 21 working days and pointed out that the office remained closed for some days due to holidays. There were a number of other applicants also, who wanted to know the fate of their applications.

JD (U) legislator Rajib Ranjan, who was also told about the delaying tactics of babus in his constituency Islampur in Nalanda district, suggested the time limit for providing various services should be minimized.

“Public should be provided services like caste certificate, income certificate or residential proof within a week. They submit the application in block offices duly certified by panchayat authorities and block office can supply the certificate in not more than two days,” said Ranjan, adding that 21 days are too long a period. However, he was confident that the system will eliminate touts and people will avail services without greasing the palms of public servants.

To make the services more convenient, said a general administration department official, SMS facility will soon be introduced. The applicants who give their mobile numbers in their applications will be informed through SMSes that their work has been done and they should collect papers from the offices concerned, he said and added a software has been developed and the facility will be introduced in a week.

“The problem with people is that they want the required certificate immediately, while the act provides for a time limit for which they should wait,” said a senior official of Patna Collectorate. “If they don’t, they will only frustrate the intention of the law,” he added. “They come in hurry, want the papers immediately and offer bribes to get their work done out of turn,” said a clerk.

Source: Times of India

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