Several efforts have been made in the past for strengthening and improving the Public Service delivery mechanism. This includes Citizens' Charters and the Right to Information. The West Bengal Right to Public Services Act, 2013 is an important legislation in the field of delivery of services to the citizen. The right of the citizen has been put first through mechanism charted in the Act, and Rules made thereunder for clear identification of the services, authorities responsible for delivering such services within the bureaucratic hierarchy, and accountability of its different layers.
The Act will address the growing demand of citizens for improved and transparent delivery of public service and will ensure a time frame for delivery of such service.
The Act covers all Departments, Directorates 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 Appellate Officer and a Reviewing Officer. A citizen shall approach the Designated Officer for obtaining the service and shall file an appeal to the Appellate Officer in case of default or delay in getting the service. The Act also has provision for the West Bengal Right to Public Service Commission.
If the citizen is not provided the specific service within the prescribed time period, the concerned Government employee may be penalised. There is also a provision for providing cash incentive and certificate of appreciation to Government employees against whom no default is reported in a financial year.
Consumer Affairs Department is the Nodal Department for implementation of the West Bengal Right to Public Services Act, 2013. All Public Authorities shall be required to designate services and Designated 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.