December 3, 2013
WB CM flags off Somoyer Sathi for time bound delivery of public services
Several efforts have been made in the past for strengthening and improving the Public Service delivery mechanism. A similar measure in the form of the West Bengal Right to Public Services Act has been recently taken by the Government. This would address the growing demand of citizens for improving public service, reduce corruption through imposing penalties on service providers for defaulting and imposing a time frame for delivery of service and aim at universalization of public services.
The Act covers all Departments, Directorates and their Sub-ordinate offices, Local Bodies, Authorities, Corporations and their Sub-ordinate offices, Local Bodies, Authorities, Corporations and Companies (PSUs). All such Public Authorities shall designate an officer responsible for providing the specific service. It shall also designate an Appeal Officer and a Review Officer. A citizen shall approach the designated officer for obtaining the service and shall file an appeal to the Appeal Officer in case of default or delay in the provision of public service. A State Public Service Delivery Commission is also proposed.
If the citizen is not provided the specific service within the prescribed time period, the Designated Officer may be penalised. There is also a provision for providing cash incentive and certificate of appreciation to government employees.
Consumer Affairs Department shall be the Nodal Department for implementation of the proposed West Bengal Right to Public Services Act. All Public Authorities shall be required to designate services and an officer for the purpose of the Act within a limited time period. Public awareness and the use of Information Technology shall be critical in making the provisions of this Act successful.
West Bengal is the fifth state, after Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka, to adopt rules regarding time-bound provision of public services. It is about time the rest of India follows suit.