New Delhi: Babus in the city will no longer be able to delay services to citizens as a long-pending legislation seeking greater accountability in the public services delivery will come into force from Thursday.

Seen as a major reform in service delivery mechanism initiated by Delhi Government, the legislation fixes financial penalty in the range of Rs 10 to Rs 200 a day for failing to respond to citizens' plea within the stipulated time-frame.

Although Delhi Assembly passed the'Delhi Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services Bill' in March this year, its implementation comes close on the heels of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement and demand for a Citizens' Charter for government departments.

City Government officials claimed the provisions in the Delhi legislation are more stringent compared to similar legislations in states like Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.

Chief Secretary P K Tripathi said the government has made all preparations to implement the law and even allocated funds to the departments to pay the penalty to the citizens if officials fail to deliver the services within the time frame.

Later, after following the set procedure, the penalty amount would be collected from the concerned officials.

The government has also directed the departments to prepare citizens' charter which will be put up in the reception areas in the offices as well as in the websites.

Almost all the government departments including Revenue, Food and Civil Supplies, Transport and Trade and Taxes as well as civic agencies MCD and NDMC have been brought under the legislation. Under the new system, a citizen will be able to get update on his application online. Currently 32 services have been included under the provision of the law.

The legislation says for issuance of ration cards, it should not take more than 45 days while MCD and NDMC should not take more than seven working days for issuance of registration of birth and death certificates.

Similarly driving licenses will have to be issued within one day while an electricity connection will have to be provided within 35 days.

Officials said legislation basically aims at sensitizing the government servants towards the citizens and to enhance and imbibe a culture to deliver services within a stipulated period.

As per the new law, any official, failing to deliver a particular service, can appeal to higher authority to exempt him from paying the financial penalty explaining the difficulties in providing the service to an applicant.

"As the whole process for paying the penalty would take a time, we have given the funds to the departments so that they could pay the penalty amount to an applicant instantly in case they fail to deliver the service within the stipulated time," said Tripathi, who has been personally monitoring preparations of the departments to implement the law.

Later, after following the due process, if an official is found lacking in providing the service, then the penalty amount could be deducted from the salary of the official.

(Agencies)