Graft rampant in Siraha government officesPeople in Siraha are finding it increasing tough to avail of the government’s services, especially if the services are being asked to carry out without any bribes, according to the National Vigilance Centre (NVC).
People in Siraha are finding it increasing tough to avail of the government’s services, especially if the services are being asked to carry out without any bribes, according to the National Vigilance Centre (NVC).
In a survey conducted by the NVC, an anti-graft body, 61 percent of the respondents stated that they had to pay certain incentives to government officials to get things done. The survey was conducted on 100 government service seekers at 12 government offices in Siraha district.
The corruption watchdog under the Prime Minister’s Office had conducted the survey in Mirchaiya Municipality, Siraha Municipality, District Prison Office, District Coordination Committee, District Administration Office, District Post Office, District Health Office, Mirchaiya Distribution Centre of Nepal Electricity Authority, District Hospital, District Treasury Office, District Land Reforms and Land Revenue Office and Siraha Distribution Centre of Nepal Electricity Authority.
The NVC has been conducting such surveys among service seekers every year to monitor the daily operations of government offices. “Nearly two-third of service seekers say that they had to pay bribe to avail of the government’s services,” said Bishnu Raj Lamichhane, spokesperson at NVC. “This kind of behaviour shows us just how poor our country’s governance really is.”
According to him, NVC’s surveys reveal that the government performance in the districts of eastern Tarai districts is comparatively much poorer than its performance in other districts.
In last year’s survey, as much as 34 percent of respondents in Dhanusha had said they were deprived of timely services at government offices because they refused to pay bribes. The same percentage of people complained about being forced to pay bribe in last year’s survey.
According to the survey, 59 percent of respondents said they had to take the help of middlemen to avail of the government’s services. “The numbers suggest that people are not aware about how they can receive the government’s services,” said Lamichhane. Most service seekers are unaware about Citizen Charters, which mentions the services available in the government office and how the services can be obtained. A majority of the people are also unaware about how much fee needs to be paid to avail of the government services.
Despite people not getting any services from the government offices, they do not file complaints. According to the survey, 69 percent of the respondents do not register their complaints.
And although there is a Good Governance (Management and Operation) Act, in which there is a provision that asserts a government agency to provide compensation to service seekers if they fail to provide services without a justified reason, people are unaware about it. NVC officials say that the provision has hardly been enforced till date.