Acvtist urges Maha CM to make RTS Act more effective

PTI
Tuesday, 24 July 2018

The state government had in 2015 drafted the legislation under which its officials could face a penalty if they fail to provide services to citizens within a designated time.

MUMBAI: Former Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Shailesh Gandhi has urged Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take steps for the effective implementation of the Right to Services (RTS) Act.

If the RTS Act is not implemented effectively, it will be amount to cheating people of the state, he said.

In a letter written to Fadnavis yesterday, Gandhi drew his attention to how "pathetically slow" authorities are in notifying various services provided by them, which, he claimed, has defeated the objective of the law.

The state government had in 2015 drafted the legislation under which its officials could face a penalty if they fail to provide services to citizens within a designated time.

The government had then said that it would cost government employees dearly if licences, ration cards, birth-death certificates and caste validation certificates are not given to citizens within a stipulated time.

Gandhi said in May last year, he had informed the RTS commissioner that most of the services were not covered under the Act.

"This was surreptitiously defeating the objective to ensure corruption-free and time-bound delivery of services to citizens," he said in the letter.

He also pointed to a letter written by RTS Chief Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya in January this year, in which he had made recommendations to the state chief secretary to ensure that all services provided by various authorities must be compiled in a master list within three months.

"But unfortunately, the recommendations have been treated with contempt and less than 500 services have been listed so far (in three years)," Gandhi claimed.

He said the chief minister may be aware that each public authority has to separately notify every service provided by it in a time-bound manner.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) provides 67 services single-handedly even as there are nearly 200 local bodies and other government departments and their services could be up to 20,000, Gandhi told PTI.

At this rate, it will take over a century to notify all services, he said.

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