Law Minister S. Suresh Kumar
Bangalore. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has introduced time-bound government services from 2 April 2012 aimed at eliminating bribery.
The government has announced 151 bribe-free services to be managed by 11 government departments.
The services include the issue of birth and death certificates, extracts of khata (land records), driving licences, licences for business, drinking water and electricity connections, certificates for caste and age, and identity cards to senior citizens.
The government is on a “mission-mode” to implement the bribe-free and time-bound official service to the people, Law Minister S. Suresh Kumar said at the launch of the ‘Karnataka Guarantee of Services to Citizens Act, 2011,’ at Jayanagar.
The most corrupt government departments as rated by people are transport, revenue, food and civil supplies, rural and panchayat raj, home, education, health and family welfare, labour, women and child welfare and finance.
Officials will be held accountable for providing the services on time. The officials used to deliberately delay services to get bribe. The government will reward officials rendering prompt service.
The ambitious step is aimed at ending corruption at lower levels of the government. It is hoped that the state government will also take steps to end corruption at higher levels. If the scheme proves to be successful there is no doubt that other state governments will follow these steps.
Ideally corruption should be tackled in a top down approach. On the other hand low level corruption affects millions of people and national productivity suffers as a result.
Another thing the Karnataka government should pioneer is to end the need for unnecessary licences and registrations such as licences for business, drinking water and electricity connections and certificates for caste and age. These are counter-productive and waste of resources. The government could study how other countries are handling these issues. At least the government can make these services available online without human intervention.