Cabinet okays citizen grievance bill; dodges new age laws for offenders

The union cabinet at its meeting this morning approved a bill providing for a penalty for delay in the provision of government-run services like pensions, passports, caste certificates, death certificates, ration cards, tax refunds, and so on.

The Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of Grievances Bill, 2011, was approved at the weekly cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Under the bill, undue delays in these services will attract a penalty of Rs250 a day on the officials concerned, subject to a maximum of Rs50,000.

It lays down an obligation upon every public authority to publish a citizen's charter stating the time within which specified goods shall be supplied and services be rendered; and provides for a grievance redressal mechanism.

According to a report, the inclusion of non-resident Indians (NRIs) in the ambit of the bill will be dealt with separately by the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions along with the law ministry.

The proposed legislation, spearheaded by department of administrative reforms and public grievances, also mandates a public authority to establish a call centre, customer care centre, help desk and people's support system to ensure time- bound delivery of services.