Other States

Gehlot govt. gears up for social accountability Bill

After a protracted campaign of civil rights groups, the Congress government in Rajasthan has started the process for bringing the legislation on social accountability, which will make officials accountable for timely delivery of public goods and services as citizens’ entitlement. The Bill will also set up a grievance redressal mechanism starting from village panchayats.

The draft has been uploaded on the web portal of the Administrative Reforms and Coordination Department and suggestions invited from citizens. Additional Chief Secretary Ravi Shankar Srivastava said here on Monday that the Bill included provisions for citizens’ charter, public hearing, social audit and information and facilitation centres.

Enacted in Cong. regime

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had recently assured that the new accountability law would incorporate the provisions of the Guaranteed Delivery of Public Services Act and the Right to Hearing Act. Both of these statutes were enacted during the Congress regime of 2008-13.

Through the Rajasthan Social Accountability Bill, the government intends to ensure the right of every person or group of persons to get time-bound delivery of goods and services and be entitled for redressal of complaints, with the provision for penalty on erring officials and compensation to the public.

The Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, led by social activist and Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy, had proposed a draft law to the State government. The official draft has incorporated the suggested provisions for transparency in governance, citizens’ participation, accountability in delivery of services, decentralisation of the process and establishment of an independent grievance redressal structure.

The MKSS had taken out a 100-day-long ‘Jawabdehi Yatra’ through all the 33 districts of the State in 2015 during the previous BJP regime, pressing for the legislation. The Yatra had raised the issue of accountability as an extension of the Right to Information.

Activist Nikhil Dey of Suchna Evum Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan said this would be a “breakthrough in the legislative history” of Rajasthan in view of its progressive approach for giving the real power to the people.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 7:15:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gehlot-govt-gears-up-for-social-accountability-bill/article26307072.ece

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