In order to boost efficiency, transparency and accountability in the delivery of citizen services, the Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft Punjab Transparency and Accountability in Delivery of Public Services Bill, 2018, while also deciding to set up a Sub-committee on governance reforms.

The new legislation will repeal the earlier Punjab Right to Service (RTS) Act, 2011, said an official spokesperson, giving details of the decision taken by the Cabinet which was chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. It will bring transparency and accountability to ensure electronic delivery of services to the citizens in a time-bound manner, added the spokesperson.

The key features of the legislation, prepared by the Department of Governance Reforms and Public Grievances to overcome the shortcomings and weaknesses in the existing Right Service Act 2011, include back-end computerisation of all public services within three to five years, online receipt of service requests as a mandatory provision and electronic delivery of services to citizens in a time-bound manner.

The Cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval to the constitution of Punjab Governance Reforms and Ethics Commission (PGREC) to bring transparency, accountability and efficiency in all government departments.

The Commission has also been entrusted with the task of making recommendations to government departments to undertake structural reforms in various areas of governance. Giving details of the Sub-Committee on governance reforms, the spokesperson said it has been mandated to take a final decision on the recommendations of PGREC.

The Committee, in its discretion, may also remit any matter to the Council of Ministers for wider consultation and a final decision. The Sub-Committee would be headed by the CM, with Finance minister, Minister in-charge of Governance Reforms and Public Grievances department and minister in-charge of the concerned administrative department as its members.

The Sub-Committee would have Chief Secretary and Chairman PGREC as its Member Secretary and special invitee respectively. The recommendation of the Commission shall be sent to the Department of Governance Reforms (DoGR) by its Member Secretary.

The Department of Governance Reforms shall further send the recommendations to the concerned administrative department to obtain its views and, if so required, the administrative department concerned shall draw a Cabinet memorandum for the implementation of the recommendations. This entire exercise shall be completed within six weeks.