The pilot launch of the Guarantee of Services to Citizens Act 2011 (Sakala) in Jayanagar saw only 31 applications filed. The pilot was on between March 1st to March 31st at the Jayanagar Revenue office.
The number 31, however contradicts the government figure of 72, 505 applications for the same period. The office covers four BBMP wards (168-171).
An official on conditions of anonymity explained why the numbers were so low. "Here we have minimum three days to deliver services. People prefer availing Bangalore One services as their delivery model is quicker," he said.
The Act has been implemented in the entire state from April 2nd.
What is the Act for?
The Act is to help citizens get government services without hassles and on time, and to hold government officials accountable. It covers all government bodies, public sector companies and non-government bodies financed by government.
What are the services covered under the Act?
The Act covers 151 services under 11 departments. These include issue of khatas, ration cards, permission for holding protests etc. Check the procedure for getting different services at http://sakala.kar.nic.in/kgsc1/gsc_home.aspx.
Who are authorities under the Act?
- Designated Officers (DOs): Specific officers designated for providing each services .
- Competent Officers (COs): Officers whom you can appeal to if DO does not provide the service.
- Appellate Authority (AA): Deputy Secretary or above who can take action if the CO does not respond.
For different services, different time limits are set for DOs to deliver it, and for COs and AAs to dispose the appeals.
For example, if you want to get a driver’s license, the DO for this is the RTO / Assistant RTO. If they do not issue license within the deadline of 30 days, you can complain to Deputy Commissioner of Transport (DCT) who is the CO for this service. If the DCT does not dispose your appeal within his 15-day deadline, you can complain to Joint Commissioner of Transport (JCT), who is the AA. JCT has to respond to your appeal in 30 days.
What’s new when applying for a service?
In every DO office, there will be a board displaying information on services and how to apply for them. On submitting the application, you will get an acknowledgement slip with date of delivery of service, and an acknowledgement (GSC) number. You will get an SMS once your request is processed. If your application is incomplete, the acknowledgment will mention this and not give a date of delivery. If the application is rejected later, DO has to record the reason for that. You can check your application status using GSC number at http://www.kgsc.kar.nic.in/ or by calling the helpline 44554455. In case of delay, you can file complaint at the helpline or mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I do not get an acknowledgement or the service itself?
You can file an appeal with the CO within 30 days of default/denial of service; appeal does not require any payment. You have to fill this form and submit information about your application.
What relief can you get?
CO will acknowledge your application, hold hearings and get the service delivered. He will also give compensation within 30 days of your appeal. Compensation is Rs 20 per day of default of service, at maximum of Rs 500 per application. This amount will later be recovered from DO. Only if DOs are habitual offenders will their lapses be recorded in service records.
What if my appeal is rejected or I do not get a satisfactory order?
You can file a second appeal with the Appellate Authority (AA) within 30 days of CO’s order. You have to submit:
- Self attested copy of the CO order.
- Copy of documents mentioned in the appeal.
- AAs may hold hearings with DO/ CO, get compensation levied from them, order departmental enquiries, or even appoint another officer to investigate the issue.
Can I go to court instead?
No. Civil courts do not have jurisdiction in these cases. But CO and AA have the same powers as Civil Court in terms of demanding documents for inspection and holding hearings. AA’s order will be final.⊕