DEHRADUN: The BJP government’s proposal to include 62 more services within the ambit of the Right to Services Act that got the Cabinet nod on Wednesday is being seen as a move by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat to project clean governance.
So far, only 100 services were included in the Right to Services Act. It was enacted under former chief minister BC Khanduri just months before the 2012 assembly elections. The BJP veteran had got the Lokayukta Bill passed in the assembly. The steps helped Khandhuri to project an image of a no-nonsense administrator although the BJP eventually lost to the Congress.
Analysts see in Rawat’s move to include the 62 more services within the ambit of the Right to Services Act as a strategy to project his clean image. The move came days after the CM terminated Kumaon regional food controller VS Dhanik for his alleged involvement in the public distribution system (PDS) scam. Earlier, he had suspended half-a-dozen officials for their alleged involvement in the NH-74 land scam.
Officials say a series of anti-graft moves taken by the CM since he assumed charge “clearly show” that he believed in walking the talk. “His decision to bring 62 more services within the ambit of the Right to Services Act is yet another example that amply proves that he is committed to ensuring fast delivery and transparency in governance,” Rawat’s media coordinator Darshan Singh Rawat asserts.
“The way the chief minister broadened the scope of the Right to Services Act will come as a huge relief for the people, especially in the hills where they are not able to access timely services, thanks to the bureaucratic apathy.”
Darshan Singh says the officials would have to ensure speedy and timely delivery of services of all kinds, be it delivery of documents including death, birth or pension certificates. “Officials who won’t be able to ensure speedy delivery will invite action as the people will appeal against them in the Right to Services Commission.”
It will be mandatory for officials to ensure speedy delivery in issuing horticultural cards to farmers and their renewal, purchase of land, lease deeds for registration of residential premises, registration of cold storage or marriage registration, he added.
Political observers by and large appreciate the CM’s move although some of them feel that it might be aimed at projecting his clean image and his efforts may be bogged down by officials. “The recent steps taken by the chief minister against corruption and his efforts to speed up delivery show that he is well intentioned,” says Prof L M Joshi of Kumaon University. He, however, feels how much Rawat will be able to take those initiatives to a logical conclusion will depend how much support he gets from the bureaucracy.
Prof MC Sati of HNB Garhwal (Central) University says the steps such as bringing more services within the ambit of the Right of Services Act will help Rawat project his image as a clean administrator. “However, I don’t think such steps will help going by the past experiences.”