The introduction of Right to Service Acts by various state governments is a step in the right direction that will help in bringing about transparency, accountability and efficiency in public service, thereby reducing corruption in public places
“Government work is God’s work” so proclaims the entrance to the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the government of Karnataka in Bangalore. In pursuance of this objective, the state government recently passed the Karnataka Guarantee of Services to Citizens Act, 2011, under which delivery of 151 services to citizens of the state have been made mandatory to be rendered in a time-bound manner with effect from 1 January, 2012.
This service is named as ‘Sakala’ in Kannada meaning ‘On Time’, and eleven government departments, namely local authority, transport, revenue, food and civil supplies, rural panchayat raj, home, education, health & family welfare, labour, women & child welfare and finance are required to provide services to the citizens within the time stipulated under the Act, failing which penalties will be levied on the employees who are responsible for the delay.
Services like birth and death certificates are to be delivered within three to seven days, caste certificates, age certificates, tax clearance certificates, identity cards for senior citizens, etc, are to be delivered within 21 days, driving licence, learner’s licence, ration cards, etc, are to be delivered within seven to 30 days according to the time stipulated under the rules. As per the Act, if these services are not delivered within the stipulated time, the government will compensate the applicant for the delay/default in rendering the services at the rate of Rs20 per day with a maximum of Rs500 per case. This compensation will be collected from the employee concerned who is responsible for such delay or default. A comprehensive methodology has been laid down in the Act with regard to claiming compensation, filing appeal against rejection, etc and if it is scrupulously followed, it will make life a little easier for the citizens of this state.
The purpose of this enactment is two-fold, i.e. to provide time-bound service to the citizens and to ensure that the need to give a bribe is totally avoided. The actual impact will be known only after sometime and hopefully, if it succeeds, it would be a great improvement over the present state of affairs in this state. Besides Karnataka, many other states, too, have introduced such enactments and the common framework of all these legislations in various states is granting of ‘right to public services’ and any failure to provide such service will result in levying penalty on the public servant for dereliction of duty. Madhya became the first state in India to enact the Right to Service Act on 18 August 2010. As per the information available on the Internet, the following states have introduced such enactments during this year
The South African lender, which has partnered with Reliance Mutual fund for online sales along with Bajaj and Aditya Birla in the insurance segments also plans to offer loan against gold after July
Mumbai: South Africa-based financial services group, FirstRand Bank said it has entered into retail and commercial banking operations in India by opening of a branch in the city, reports PTI.
The bank has its presence in the country for last three years and deals in investment and corporate banking space.
“We are excited to start retail and commercial banking in India, which represents the first new market outside of Africa for these operations. We see India as an exciting business opportunity and this expansion is key to our long-term growth strategy,” chief executive officer of FirstRand Ltd, Sizwe Nxasana told reporters here.
He also said that the branch would help in facilitating greater economic, trade and investment flows between two countries. The bank is also hopeful of introducing some of the technology based products in the country in the near future.
“We see much potential in India and think it is an excellent market to activate the technology we have in South Africa which can find applications in this market,” chief executive officer and country head of FirstRand Bank India, Mahendran Moodley said.
The bank will also tie up with various partners in the country to provide portfolio of products in the country.
“We will be using outside partners. If we don't have mortgage then we have someone else giving it. If I don't have vehicle finance, I will tie-up with someone else for that.
There are certain products that we don't want to get into initially and we will use partners to collaborate,” chief executive officer (commercial and retail banking) of FirstRand Bank, Bobby Madhav said.
He further said that the bank plans to offer loan against gold after July. As of now, the bank has tied up with Reliance Mutual fund for online sales along with Bajaj and Aditya Birla in the insurance segments. Taking about increasing its footprint in other regions of the country, Mr Madhav said the bank will initially concentrate in Maharashtra before entering into other markets.
“The goal is to get the business up and running in Maharashtra. Then we will look at another state with hub and spoke and smaller branches. We will take it to north and then come to the South later. Maharashtra itself is double the size of South Africa. If you can master this then it gives us a real good recipe for the rest of the country,” Mr Madhav said adding that the bank is waiting for approval from the RBI to open five branches in the country.
At 81.2 India was the most optimistic nation in Asia in consumer confidence, the survey said
Dubai: India has been ranked as the most optimistic nation in Asia in a global consumer confidence survey, reports PTI.
At 81.2, in an index which is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic 100 as the most optimistic, India was the leader of the pack in Asia, said MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence.
The index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market over the next six months, based on indicators such a economic growth, employment, stock market, regular income and quality of life.
It involved 12,915 respondents in 25 countries and recorded a three-point rise in Middle East consumer confidence from the previous six month period, bringing the index to (85.7), significantly higher than Africa (73.8) and Asia Pacific (52.1).
Nigeria (96.4) retained the top spot in Africa, followed by Morocco (87.2), and said the survey carried out between December 5, 2011 and February 8, 2012.
In the Middle East, Qatar and Oman topped the index with a remarkable score (93.6); followed closely by Egypt (88.3), Kuwait (88.3), Saudi Arabia (83.9) and the UAE (82.1).