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Rajasthan Social Accountability Bill

Topics Covered:

  1. Citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Rajasthan Social Accountability Bill

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key features of the Bill.
  • For Mains: Significance and the need for a legislation on social accountability, what is Social Accountability?

 

Context: In a first for India, Rajasthan government has prepared the draft of Rajasthan Social Accountability Bill and has invited suggestions from the general public.

 

Objectives of the Bill:

  1. To seek the accountability of public functionaries and authorities for timely delivery of goods and services.
  2. To create democratic, decentralized and participative approach to enable wider public participation.
  3. To Initiate monitoring of programmes and policies through community score cards, citizens report card and social audits.

 

Key provisions:

  1. The purview of bill includes any entity or body, which is under the control of the government, governor and the high court of Rajasthan. Entity or the body set up by Central Government to function within the State of Rajasthan and partially or wholly providing public goods and services provided there is consent of the Central Government.
  2. It seeks to impose penalties and compensation and initiate departmental action against the Grievance Redressal Officer (GRO) of the service delivery department for non-compliance. For example: If the local police have failed to deliver it duties, the onus is on the GRO.
  3. The Bill will also set up a grievance redressal mechanism starting from village panchayats. The Bill included provisions for citizens’ charter, public hearing, social audit and information and facilitation centres.

 

Significance of this law:

This law will compliment RTI which is becoming far more challenging. The citizen centric law will enable citizens to initiate enquiries rather than relying on the departmental enquires in the existing system.

 

What is social accountability?

“Social accountability” refers to actions initiated by citizen groups to hold public officials, politicians, and service providers to account for their conduct and performance in terms of delivering services, improving people’s welfare and protecting people’s rights.

 

Four pillars of social accountability?

The four pillars are: (1) organized and capable citizens groups; (2) an enabling environment, with government champions who are willing to engage; (3) cultural appropriateness; and, (4) access to information.

 

Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: What do you understand by the concept of accountability and why is accountability important for good governance. Discuss.