Meghalaya right to public services bill passed in assembly

Shillong, Nov 12: The Meghalaya Right to Public Services Bill, along with four other bills, was passed on Day 5 of assembly autumn session 2020.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the bill will make officials in the government accountable- in terms of providing service.

“If everybody is accountable, then the government as a whole, officials also in terms of giving service should be accountable to the people of the state,” he said, adding that the people of the state deserve the bill.

Congress MLAs Mayalborn Syiem, George B Lyngdoh proposed amendments to the bill, prior to its passage.

Syiem suggested free of cost application for complaints and inclusion of disciplinary action in addition to a cash penalty, if officers were found to have delayed delivering service to citizens for no justifiable reason.

In response, Sangma said that the fee was so that frivolous complaint could be avoided which would overburden the system, but added that the fee will be minimal like in the case of RTI.

On the suggestion of disciplinary action, he said that it was not necessary at the moment since the penalty of Rs 5000 was already high, and that the purpose of the bill was to make officials realize that they are accountable.

He informed that adding the list of services in the bill will only burden the assembly once the act is in place, since reviewing the list of service will require it go through the house.

He revealed that there were over 60 services in the list.

Meanwhile, the other bills that were passed were Meghalaya Minerals Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2020, Meghalaya Settlement of Arrears Bill, 2020, Meghalaya Farmers’ (Empowerment) Commission Amendment Bill, 2020, and St Xavier’s University Shillong Bill, 2020.