My sojourn of over three decades from the grassroots level of a corporator to a cabinet Minister in the Government system was at an all time high today in terms of satisfaction. My most ambitious project, SAKAALA has been unveiled.
It was four and a half months back, I and the Chief Minister Sri Sadananda Gowda were discussing about the immediate need to make the government machinery more accountable to the people. With every government department becoming a breeding place for corruption, more often, we see an all round disgruntlement when it comes to functioning of this system in our society. Our discussion cantered on how to bring a pro people change here.
There are few states like Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh etc which have thought constructively in this manner. They have gone on to implement an act called Right to services for ensuring time bound delivery of government services to the people. While our discussion zeroed in on emulating the right to services implemented in those states, it also set a mood how to better it. The Chief Minister assigned the task to me with a desire to come out with the best.
You will appreciate, that myself and a team of Senior Officers were so obsessed with the purpose that we must have conducted over a dozen interactions before we came up with a strong bill. Just in a couple months the bill came up for a lively debate in both the houses of legislature and it was passed with highest concurrence. Not just that, every legislator, cutting across party lines was full of praise for it.
It was a journey we undertook to Bihar later to meet the Chief Minister Mr Nitish Kumar with an intention to know how effectively the act has been implemented there. So happy he was, that his utterance that Karnataka should implement the act more effectively thanks to its better administrative culture still lingers in my mind. Apart from meeting the Deputy CM, Mr Susheel Modi, we also visited 2-3 blocks in Bihar to ascertain the practicality of implementation. It bettered our confidence and a resolve to implement more able Act, grew stronger.
And today, was the day I yearned for. SAKAALA – right time, suitable time and within the stipulated time has hit the notes finally. Today four Sri Harikotas in Karnataka have formally projectiled the weapons for the service of the common man. Aurad taluk in Bidar, Puttur taluk in DK, Dharwad and Chitradurga taluks have started functioning as pilot places for effective implementation of the act. Jayanagar in Bangalore saw the formal inauguration by the CM himself. April 2nd will see all the departments and all the places implementing SAKAALA.
While Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab have as fewer citizen services as 50 and 60, Karnataka is set to give as many as 151 services of eleven departments in stipulated time frame to the common man.(This number is bound to increase). This number of services is at least three times more compared to other states. While our intention is to minimize the point of interaction of common man with officials so that corruption recedes, it is our endeavor to punish the guilty too.
Getting government services is the right of every citizen, which this bill will surely ensure. I thank the Chief Minister whole heartedly for reposing faith in me in handing over this responsibility. My special thanks also go to all the Officers esp. Sri K Jairaj, Additional Chief Secretary, Dr Shalini Rajnish, Principal Secretary (DPAR), Pradip Singh Carola, Commissioner, Commercial Taxes and Dr Amita Prasad, Principal Secretary, Rural Development.
It’s a process designed for continuous improvement. Your suggestions will also be heard. You can call on 080-44554455, a designated call centre for any query and suggestions. You can email me too as always.