Himachal cabinet draws timeline for service delivery

Shimla: The Himachal cabinet on Friday approved the HP public services rules, mandated a simplified procedure for admissions to schools under Right to free and compulsory education for children and granted state education board recognition to all private middle schools that are registered with the education department.

Aimed at providing time bound notified services to the people by different departments by maintaining transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the administration the cabinet at its meeting presided over by chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal granted approval to Himachal Pradesh Public Services Guarantee Rules, 2011, a cabinet spokesman stated.

The rules guarantee delivery of notified public services to the citizens and penalize the officials in the case of delay or non delivery of services from important departments.

Services delivered by the departments of health, forests, panchayati raj, revenue, industries, irrigation and public health, agriculture, animal husbandry, social justice and empowerment, home (fire services), power, urban development and country planning have been brought under the ambit of the new rules.

With framing of rules, an eligible citizen would have a legal right to demand that the notified public services be provided within the specified time limit.

In case the service is wrongfully denied or delayed, the effected citizen now has recourse to remedial measures under the act & rules which includes monetary compensation and disciplinary action against the defaulting officials, said the spokesman.

The new admission policy under Section 13(1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 debars of profiling children seeking entry into private schools based on parental education.

Each school would have to formulate an admission policy which would have to be placed in public domain.

Testing or interviews for any child or parent would not be permitted and the schools would have to follow a system of random selection out of the applications received.

The cabinet decided that all private educational institutions upto middle standard would be recognised by the education department and would not need affiliation from HP Board of School Education.

For transporting apple in steep and difficult hilly terrain, the government decided to explore the possibility of setting up an aerial ropeway transportation system with private sector participation.

The cabinet extended the date for submission of annual returns dates under Himachal Pradesh Value Added Tax Rules, 2005 to November 30. This has been done to facilitate traders, the spokesman said.

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