Development Gehlot’s Poll Plank
The battle for ballot in Rajasthan is warming up even six months before the state goes to polls in late November this year. Both the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP have started campaign and their leaders have embarked on Yatras.
The Congress faced with the challenge of Suraaj Sankalp Yatra of BJP’s former chief minister Vasundhara Raje started the Congress Sandesh Yatra. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot himself has been leading the Yatra as the face of the government and the party.
Both the leaders are drawing good crowds in their respective areas. These yatras of the two parties which would be in phases would take the former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and the current Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to distant places of the state. The Yatras theme have become a wordy duel between the two leaders who trade charges against each other.
Gehlot reminds people that Vasundhara believes in good life and is used to live in mansions and palaces whereas he was a commoner. Gehlot alleges that while she was the Chief Minister she took away precious carpet belonging to the state government.
Gehlot always describes Vasundhara Raje as the highly corrupt Chief Minister and Raje often alleges that Gehlot’s son was misusing his father’s official position and providing concessions to builders and hoteliers.
Gehlot said he would give away to former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje the precious properties in Jaipur and Mumbai that are being attributed to him by BJP. Congress state president Chandrabhan said that Vasundhara Raje should make public her assets as she has large assests both in India and abroad. Chandrabhan said that Vasundhara is in politics to make money and during her regime as Chief Minister she made tonnes of money.
Raje, on the other hand, accused Gehlot government of being insensitive and anti-people. Even the Congress MLAs resort to dharnas so that they could be heard, she alleged.
The BJP’s 13-day Yatra passed through five districts and 24 Assembly constituencies, travelling a distance of 1276-km, during which public assemblies were addressed at 30 major places while receptions were held at 132 places.
It’s being an election year and the Congress government-led by Ashok Gehlot has been trying to go to the polls with a development agenda. The Rajasthan’s Congress government completed four years in office. Gehlot formed the government four years ago when Congress failed to get a clear mandate, but with the support of the Independents and later defections of six Bahujan Samaj Party legislators to Congress, the Gehlot government survived.
In his first innings as the Chief Minister between 1998-2003, Gehlot took party’s manifesto as the Bible and all the promises made in the manifesto then were fulfilled. In the second innings as the Chief Minister, he celebrated the occasion stressing that his government was committed to people and would fulfill all the promises made in the party’s election manifesto.
The Chief Minister claimed that the welfare schemes like free medicines for all, specialised medical care for expectant mothers, cheap wheat and affordable housing for the people living below poverty line were the major achievements of his government.
RIGHT TO HEARING
- Under the Act, Public Hearing Officers and Appellate Authorities would be appointed to provide Right To Hearing to the complainant at nearest place of his residence at gram panchayat, tehsil, sub-block, district and divisional level and his complaint would be heard in a stipulated time limit of 15 days.
- Under the rules, provision has been made to get a receipt of the complaint filled in a prescribed format by the complainant. Along with this, it has been made mandatory to give information about the decision made in the hearing of complainant in a time period of seven days in a prescribed format.
- If the hearing is not done in the fixed time period or if the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the Public Hearing Officer, provision has been made to file an appeal. The first appeal would have to be disposed of within a period of 21 days. Along with this the sub-committee of Public Complaint and Vigilance Committee constituted at sub-block and district-level have been given the powers of second appellate authority.
- Under the Act, provision has been made to display information on notice boards in a prescribed format along with the provision of penalty on guilty officers and employees. The officers and employees have been given the right to request for revision in respect of the imposed penalty against them under the Act.
- Provision has also been made for establishment of information and facilitation centres, including citizens care centre, call centre etc. for the effective implementation of the Act. Public authority has been given protection of action taken in good faith under the Act. There is no doubt that this act would become a medium to provide relief to the common man.
Gehlot said that the state government with a view to help the poor who were facing high inflation is offering 25 kilograms of wheat per month at a low cost of Rs 2 per kg. This programme was launched under the food security scheme. The state government also waived value addition taxes on wheat, rice, pulses, paddy, wheat flour, maida, suji and all the kerosene products to help the poor.
But the ‘Right To Hearing’ an empowerment scheme that the Gehlot government has initiated is unique and first of its kind in the country.
A public welfare government is tested on the basis of its responsive behaviour along with its achievements. Proper and timely hearing of the grievances and problems of the citizens related to the governance by the government enhances its credibility further. With this thinking the state government first enforced the Rajasthan Public Services Guarantee Act 2001 and included 153 services of 18 departments under the Act. The basic objective of this Act was that common man had not to run door to door for his work and the work is completed in the stipulated time period. Under the Act, there is a provision of imposing penalty on officers and employees, if the work is not completed within the fixed time period. It is because of this reason that out of more than 57 lakh cases registered in the short period after the enforcement of the Act, over 56.33 lakh cases have been disposed of successfully.
Though 153 services of 18 departments have been covered under the Rajasthan Public Services Guarantee Act 2001, however, services of all departments could not be included under the Act due to various rules, Acts and procedures. Keeping this in view, the state government took the historic decision to enforce the Rajasthan Right to Hearing Act 2012 in the whole state as supplement to the Rajasthan Public Service Guarantee Act 2011.
It is result of the thinking of Gehlot that the common man got the Right to Hearing. The Act being introduced to fulfill the commitment of responsive, transparent and accountable administration, would now ensure a great relief to the common man at the nearest place of residence in the whole state. This arrangement of providing relief at the point where the problem originates would not only save time and expenses of the citizens, but would also develop a feeling of providing relief to the common man in the administration. Besides, the number of the applications being received at tehsil, district and at the state level would also come down.
Under the Right to Hearing Act, all types of government services other than the services included in the Rajasthan Public Services Guarantee Act 2001, works, welfare schemes and programmes of the state have been included and the common man has been given the Right to Hearing in a fixed time period on any complaint lodged or dissatisfaction in these services and schemes. Under the Act such arrangement has been made that person lodging a complaint get the opportunity of Right to Hearing at the nearest place of his residence, such as gram panchayat, tehsil, sub-division or district level.
The state government has appointed Public Hearing Officers and Appellate Authority at gram panchayat, tehsil, sub-block, district and division level. Under the Act, Right to Hearing has been provided to the citizens on the complaint filed within the stipulated time period and right to get information about the decision made in the hearing on the complaint. This would provide a platform to the citizens to seek relief on their grievances and problems and they would not only get the opportunity of Right to Hearing in a stipulated time limit but also the right to get information about the decision made in the hearing of the complaint.
By Prakash Bhandari from Jaipur