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Delhi Assembly passes Bill to penalize government officials delaying services

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New Delhi: The Delhi Assembly passed the Delhi Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services Amendment Bill, ensuring that government officers who are late in providing services will face a salary deduction.

The passing of this Bill has been described as a “huge victory” against corruption by CM Arvind Kejriwal, who regretted not being present at the Assembly due to poor health.

Every government department will be asked to put out a “comprehensive citizens charter” within 30 days of them being notified. The HODs will be given charge of this.

E-governance platforms will be pushed by the Bill in delivering citizen services because of their greater transparency. Local bodies and government departments are being encouraged to take up this method.

A total of 371 services, covering almost all departments are currently in play under the domain of the Sheila Dixit enacted legislation.

“Congrats Delhi. Del Assembly passes the Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services) Amendment Bill, 2015 unanimously. A huge victory in our fight against corruption. It is beginning of end of cutting edge corruption that aam admi faces daily in his life,” Kejriwal said in his tweets.

It was the common citizen who bore the “entire onus” of getting compensation for delayed services, according to the Act. The government stated that the recent amendments were carried out to fix this issue.

According to the Bill, a ‘Competent Officer’ –a Deputy Secretary or a higher level official– will be entrusted with the job of paying compensation to the concerned citizen, while also recovering the compensation from the officer responsible.

“It shall be the duty of the concerned competent officer to ensure that the compensation is paid to the applicant within days as prescribed under the rules on which the service is provided failing which the citizen shall be paid double the said amount and it shall be deducted from the salary of the competent authority,” said the official statement, as  quoted by agencies.

Speaking in the Assembly, Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister, said at the Assembly that due to this legislation being passed, common citizens now wouldn’t have to keep making rounds of officials and MLAs to get their work done.

Vijender Gupta, Opposition leader, who refrained from voting, asked Sisodia how much fine needed to be recovered.

The Amendment also mentions encouraging officials to provide timely service delivery by offering rewards through an incentive fund for service performance.

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Revive Bill Helping Native American Women: Alaska Senator

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents the Greywind family, told The Associated Press on Friday that the bill asks for "a minimal level of accountability''

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USA, Native
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks after an order withdrawing federal protections for countless waterways and wetland was signed, at EPA headquarters in Washington, Dec. 11, 2018. VOA

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she plans to reintroduce a bill intended to help solve crimes against Native Americans. The bill received unanimous Senate approval after being introduced by North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp but was blocked by the outgoing chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Goodlatte stops bill

Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte said he agreed with the intent of Heitkamp’s bill, which sought to expand tribal access to federal crime databases, set standards for law enforcement’s response to cases of missing or slain Native Americans, and instruct the Justice Department to increase its data collection on crimes against Native Americans.

But he said the bill would have hurt some agencies that have no link to tribal communities because they wouldn’t be able to compete for Justice Department grants that the bill sought to create, The Roanoke Times reported.

USA,  native
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., attends her last hearing with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs as they examine concerns about investigations into the deaths and disappearance of Native American women, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 12, 2018. VOA

Goodlatte, a Republican who is retiring after 13 terms in office, said only a limited number of law enforcement organizations are eligible for those funds “so every other law enforcement organization in America is opposed to it, and the Fraternal Order of Police and groups like that because they’re getting a cut in order to do that.”

With the House adjourned until further notice, it appears that the measure known as Savanna’s Act will expire at the end of the year. Murkowski, also a Republican, has said she will take up the measure when lawmakers return to Washington.

“It’s disappointing that one Republican member of Congress blocked Savanna’s Act from passing this year,” Heitkamp, a Democrat, said in a statement. “But fortunately, Rep. Goodlatte won’t be around to block it in the new Congress. I’ve talked with Sen. Murkowski about Savanna’s Act and I’m so proud that she will reintroduce my bill in the new year.”

USA, Native
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., answers reporters’ questions in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, July 13, 2018. VOA

Bill named for slain woman

The bill is named for Savanna Greywind, a slain North Dakota woman whose baby was cut from her womb.

Also Read: U.S. Midterm Election See Muslim American Women Making History

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents the Greywind family, told The Associated Press on Friday that the bill asks for “a minimal level of accountability” and the notion that it is too onerous for law enforcement is “absurd.”

“If that’s the case then this bill should be introduced as is and let them come and testify before Congress about why they don’t want an incentive for providing the appropriate data that is needed and that this bill requires,” Allred said. “Let’s see who they are. If there are any they shouldn’t be hiding behind some elected official.” (VOA)