Patna: 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.