Effective delivery of Right to Public Services – What is required to be done

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Business Mantra: Faridabad

Dr. Sarla Sharma

Every political party hypes on the slogan that their Government will be Government of the people, by the people and for the people. But by the time they come to power riding on these catchy slogans they start forgetting that public have certain expectations from them. Narendra Modi has recently said in his meet with the Facebook CEO Mr. Mark Zuckerberg on 27th September 2015, that the importance of the social media cannot be undermined. Earlier the political people used to get the nerves of the feeling of the masses about the the functioning of their government every five years but in today’s age of technology and social media the voting is taking place every 5 seconds. That is the expectations of the public and power of the social media which act as a mirror to the Govt and to the politicians and the political parties. In order to make the right to services a reality we need to reach to the masses.

The main source of discontent of the masses with the Govt of the day is the total neglect of the basic services which should be timely made available to the people of the area. People choose their Govt. They vote to a particular political party with the hope that these group of people will make their dreams come true. These are the right group of people who will ensure that the basic minimum services which should be made available to the people of the area will in fact be made available. It is not that what they are expecting is totally free of cost. They pay taxes in time. They do everything possible. The political people as well as the servants who are called the Govt. Servants are also paid by the people of the area through the payment of taxes on all kind of income or services or business or profession they do. But what this dream has really been convoluted into. The people whom they elect and the people who are so selected as servants to deliver the services become the master of the masses. They throw all kind of tantrums to ensure that nothing which actually should have been done by them in time is actually being done at all.

The public servants become busy in devising their own facility, tours, allowances, perks and retirement plans and hardly anytime is left to think about the needs of the masters who have given them the job. The people keep on changing the Government with the hope that perhaps the new set of people will turn out to be good and will look into their problems which they themselves, because of their busy schedules in other personal and domestic chores, cannot do. The result so far is not forthcoming.

In order to fulfill the same wish most State Governments in India has come up with a Right to Public Services Act in the year 2013 – 2014. Many a services under various Government departments and corporations have been incorporated in this Act. The time bound nature of the delivery of the services have also been stipulated and mandated in this Act. The provision of Penalty upon the defaulting officers have also been incorporated in the Act. At the same time to address the grievances of the public, the designated officers and Appellate Officers have also been earmarked under the provisions of the Act. A Right to Public Services Commission has also been set up whereby these mandatory services can be delivered in a time bound manner.

The enactment of the Right to Public Services Act is one thing and to ensure that the time bound services are actually delivered and the bureaucracy is unable to circumvent the responsibility under one pretext or the other, some drastic measures are required to be taken. The following changes need to be incorporated in the entire scheme of things of the Right to Public Services in order to make the service delivery mechanism totally transparent, vibrant and result oriented.

  1. More emphasis need to be placed on delivery of services through the electronic medium rather than personal approach system.
  1. The contact between the service provider and the customer need to be totally disconnected as far as possible. The Govt departments can be the repository of the information. The delivery of those informations to the customer should be given to someone else. For this purpose we can do two things. We need to develop something like Ministry of Corporate Affairs which is the repository of the informations of all the companies as all companies have to mandatorily file periodic returns with them. The MCA website or a private website like tofler.in are providing information at the cheapest possible rates. Similarly the repository of information can be devised. Most of the information should be provided electronically on payment of regular charges online. In certain cases where it is felt that the people in the remote or backward areas do not have access to this mode of securing information Government can consider to provide private kiosks in each village or block or subdivision etc which will cater to the needs of the people on one hand and generate employment on the other. It will drastically reduce the scope of any corruption as well. This will also lead to income to both the Urban or Rural local bodies as well as the intermediaries. This will create huge jobs in the rural areas at no cost of the government. It will make people self employed. Rather they will give employment to one or two more people. They will become job giver rather than becoming the job seekers.
  1. in every State has developed a good number of eService mechanism. It may consider developing some more applications and connecting the same through ERP system which will generate lots of data and the same can be shared with the service providers in lieu of some fees. The entire cost of developing the ERP thus can be recouped in 2 to 3 years time itself.
  2. The emphasis should be on ensuring daily updation of the information in the system. Govt has already classified a good number of services for various departments of the Government which will be provided in a stipulated time frame. The accountability should be fixed for ensuring the daily updation of the information. The focus should be laid on updating the old data in the system at the shortest possible time and generating all current data in such a manner that it is getting automatically updated with the data entry itself. Once this is achieved all information would be given in a time bound manner to the customer. Some services still may be left to be catered by the Govt staff themselves which can be brought in the framework of time bound delivery or punishment mechanism.
  1. The performance of each individual government employee should be judged by the system itself. One who is failing in updating the backlog of the information should be brought to book and need to be punished. Similarly those who are doing good work and performing above average should be suitably rewarded. A system of rating of the officer and feedback about him should be possible for the review of performance by the supervisory and superior officers. Private companies engaged in the database recording business may be engaged to pull up the backlog or the entry of record of past 50 -60 years so that those information can also be made available on demand. While the current database can be generated on daily basis itself.
  1. When we achieve the separation of the Govt officers/employees with the customer of the services by introducing fee based service system it will give laurels to the Govt as there would be less allegation of corruption against them. Govt would also be able to serve as per the mandate of the people. More services can also be incorporated into time bound framework and system can be devised for their effective delivery.
  1. Some of the services like fitness test, pollution certificate, learning driving licence etc may be outsourced to the private people. The private service provider should also be rated by the customer of the services. The continuation of their outsource business should be dependent on the positive feedback from the customers.
  1. The younger generations in the technical and engineering colleges can be associated with the Government in this mission. The development of the software, Apps, data entry etc can be entrusted to these Institutions which will enable them to open up earn while you learn kind of opportunities for the students. The bright students can be given some internship and can be encouraged to give good ideas for smart delivery of the services. This idea platform can be started on the website of the Right to Public Services Commission (RPSC) being set up by various State Governments and brilliant ideas can be rewarded.
  1. The State Govts should endeavour to start an App for the smart phones. Alternatively some entrepreneur may come forward to fill this void. This should enable them to give all info like nearest vendor kiosk for the type of services as per his own GPS location, online application for the services online complaint etc.

This is going to be one of the best initiative of the State Governments to bridge the gap between the Government and the people. This would require a big leap. The political person will have to show courage and conviction come forward. It will require courage to break the bureaucratic rigmarole and cobweb. The bureaucrats would always portray the huge difficulties being faced by them in delivering such a big mandate. Even if it require making certain investments in developing the applications for this purpose it would not be futile as the public will pay for the services they get which will enable them to recoup the entire investment in short span of time. The allegation of corruption will mitigate and the Government in true sense would become the Government for the people.

Dr. Sarla Sharma is HOD, Business Administration, of KanoriaMahila Mahavidyalaya, Jaipur Rajasthan. She can be contacted on her email address doctorsarlasharma@gmail.com

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