Press Club, Lok Adhikar call for public hearing on Good Governance Bill
Citizens’ call to Fadnavis to hold a public hearing
on draft Bill for good governance
Mumbai Press Club & Lok Adhikar send
in recommendations for the proposed Maharashtra
Guarantee of Public Services Bill
It was a packed house at the Mumbai Press Club as media persons and activists of various hues came together to discuss the draft for the proposed Maharashtra Guarantee of Public Services (MGPS) Bill, 2015, a piece of legislation that is meant to empower citizens to demand the government services they are authorized to get.
Before the draft Bill put forward by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is tabled in the state legislature, the government had asked for suggestions from the public.
While the Press Club and Lok Adhikar wholeheartedly welcome the CM’s initiative and his emphasis on good governance, we are pressing for some key amendments to strengthen the proposed Bill.
For instance, an absurd provision in the draft MGPS bill defines a “habitual defaulter” as an official who would face action only if he defaults more than 50 times a year!
Our suggestions have been duly handed over to the Chief Minister’s office and we are now requesting the CM to hold a public hearing to discuss the draft Bill, since this legislation has the potential to vastly improve public services in the state.
In our view, the proposed MGPS Bill, while well-intentioned, is far weaker than the existing Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005, or the Right to Services Act as it is popularly called.
It is in this context that an Open Forum for media persons and activists was held by the Press Club, Mumbai and Lok Adhikar, the citizens group that has been pushing for full implementation of the RTS Act.
The speakers were Gurbir Singh and Prakash Akolkar, Chairman and President of The Mumbai Press Club respectively; Lok Adhikar was represented by Shailesh Gandhi, noted RTI activist; Sanjay Ubale, MD, Tata Realty and former Secretary, Special Projects, Government of Maharashtra; and activist Gerson da Cunha. The speakers offered their views on the proposed Bill and fielded a number of questions from the audience. The lively discussion and Q & A session threw up many suggestions.
Among them was the need to press the Government to hold a public hearing since this is a Bill that impacts the quality of services rendered to all citizens of the state. Citizens have an enormous stake in this legislation and it is only fair that they be allowed to debate it.
Please add your voice to the call for this public hearing – the quality of our everyday life is at stake.
For more details and full recording of the Open Forum, log on towww.lokadhikar.org
Article posted on 13/03/2015
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