“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it.” M.K GANDHI
***** Citizen centric admin means bringing admin closer to people.*******
ISSUES WITH Citizen Centric Administration.
–> Accountable and Transparent Government.
–> Reduce delays and ensure promptness in delivery of services.
–> Progressive interventions to make administration more result-oriented.
–> Flexibility to implementing agencies customized to local needs.
–> Process Simplification.
–> To further empower the citizen through Citizens’ Charter etc.
–> Strengthening Citizen Centric decision making.
–> Setting up of Information Facilitation and Solution Centres. Augmenting facilities for submission and redress of grievances. Setting up consultative mechanism for receiving suggestions.
–> Freedom of Information: To review the confidentiality classification of government documents specially with reference to the Officials Secrets Act.
–> Ensuring greater involvement of people’s representatives and community at large in the conceptualisation and execution of programmes and hence ensuring Participative public service delivery. . .
***** An ethos of serving the citizens should permeate to all government organizations and at all level. *****
PAST MEASURES BY GOI FOR CITIZEN CENTRIC ADMINISTRATION
–> Recommendations made by the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, popularly known as the Santhanam Committee, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was set up by the Government of India in 1964.
Th e CVC advises the Union Government on all matters pertaining to the maintenance of integrity in administration. It exercises superintendence over the working of the Central Bureau of Investigation – the principal investigating agency of the Union Government in anti-corruption matters – and also over the vigilance administration of various Ministries and other organizations of the Union Government.
–> Setting up of LOKPAL and LOKAYUKTA.
–> Reviewing ADMIN laws as principal causes for the inordinate delay in providing services to citizens was the existence of a complex system of rules, regulations and procedures which had outlived their utility.
( upto date rules — amendments to fulfil current needs — unification — removal of outdated laws)
–> CITIZEN CHARTER (SEVOTTAM MODEL)
–> Deptt of electronics in 1970.
–> NIC in 1977.
–> NICNET in 1987 – the national satellite based computer network.
–> Launch of the District Information System of the National Informatics Centre (DISNIC) programme to computerize all district offices in the country.
–> National e-Governance Programme in 2006.
–> A Computerized Public Grievances Redressal and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) developed by the Department of AR&PG in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
–> Right to Information.
GOOD GOVERNANCE AND CITIZEN CENTRIC ADMINISTRATION
The 4 pillars on which the good governance is based are:
• Ethos (of service to the citizen),
• Ethics (honesty, integrity and transparency),
• Equity (treating all citizens alike with empathy for the weaker sections), and
• Efficiency (speedy and eff ective delivery of service without harassment and using ICT increasingly).
Citizens are thus at the core of good governance. Th erefore, good governance and citizen centric administration are inextricably linked.
GG defines the environment which permits and enables individuals to raise their capability levels on the one hand, and provide opportunities to realize their potential and enlarge the set of available choices, on the other.
GG should include the following according to 11th FYP
–> Accountable and Transparent : Accountability is the need to eliminate corruption.Transparency is also critical, both to ensure accountability, and also to enable genuine participation.
–> Effective and Efficient in delivering social and economic public services, which are its primary responsibilities.This calls for special attention to ensuring the eff ectiveness and efficiency of local governments which currently suffer from inadequate devolution of funds as well as functionaries to carry out the functions constitutionally assigned to them.
–> Rule of law must be firmly established.A modern economic society depends upon increasingly complex interactions among private entities and these interactions can be efficiently performed only if legal rights are clear and legal remedies for enforcing these rights are swift.
–> Disadvantaged groups, especially the SCs, STs, minorities and others, must feel they have an equal stake and should perceive an adequate flow of benefits to ensure the legitimacy of the State.
There is a general impression that the absolute size of the bureaucracy is overgrown beyond what is fundamentally necessary. It is often referred to as being “bloated”. It is also felt that the numbers are increasing at a rapid pace, with scant regard for the work-load. People also speak of the bureaucracy being top-heavy. Not only are public servants perceived to be too many in number it is also believed that they do not contribute to the gross domestic product.
BARRIERS TO GOOD GOVERNANCE
–> Excessive centralization and policies and action plans are far removed from the needs of the citizens. This results in a mismatch between what is required and what is being provided.
–> Inadequate capacity building of personnel who are to implement the laws also results in policies and laws not being implemented properly.
–> Lack of awareness about rights and duties and callous approach to compliance to laws on the part of some of the citizens.
–> RED TAPISM : makes the interface of a common citizen with government a cumbersome and daunting affair. This is often the root cause of corruption as well.No amount of investment in capabilities and technologies can improve performance and service delivery beyond a point if we continue to be prisoners of archaic procedures and processes.
–> Ineffective implementation
Preconditions to make GG citizen centric
–> Sound legal framework.
–> Robust institutional mechanism for proper implementation of the laws and their effective functioning.
–> Competent personnel staffing these institutions and sound personnel management policies.
–> Right policies for decentralization, delegation and accountability.
***** The principle of subsidiarity stipulates: functions shall be carried out closest to citizens at the smallest unit of governance possible and delegated upwards only when the local unit cannot perform the task. *******
–> Primarily focussed on the internal grievance redressal mechanisms that public agencies and Government should develop so that citizens do not have to resort to costly alternatives such as judicial interventions, to seek redressal of their grievances.
–> Process Simplification: Single window approach.
MAKING GOVERNANCE CITIZEN CENTRIC
–> All public agencies should adopt a zero tolerance strategy towards crime, in order to create a climate of compliance with laws leading to maintenance of public order.
–> PERIODIC and INDEPENDENT evaluations of quality of Governance
–> Responsive Institutions.
–> Ethics in Governance :Ethics is a set of standards that society places on itself and which helps guide behaviors, choices and actions.
–> Reforms in Processes.
FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT
–> Self preservation – The authority of the State needs to be preserved both from external aggression and internal disturbances. Government discharges this function by raising and maintaining a national army, a police force and other enforcement agencies and empowering these agencies through legislations.
–> Supervision and resolution of conflicts – Strengthening of democratic practices and processes, ensuring equity to all citizens, setting up of conflict resolution mechanisms and fair governance are some ways for minimization of conflicts.
–> Socio-economic development – assuring welfare of the weaker sections, bringing about desirable social change.
–> Regulation of the economy – Adopting sound fiscal and monetary policies is one of the major duties of a government.
–> Provision of goods and services – With increasing emphasis on socio-economic development, governments today are major providers of different types of goods and services such as education, health, public distribution of foodgrains etc.
BROADLY 3 FUNCTIONS OF GOVT
–> Attaining ‘optimum regulation’ is a challenging task, as a balance has to be achieved between an individual’s freedom and society’s interest.
–> The State enacts laws which impose restrictions on the activities of citizens, in the larger interest of society. In order to enforce these laws, the State creates a large number of organizations which are charged with the implementation of these laws.
–> All regulatory functions should adhere to five principles –
objectivity : reduce discretion
–> Regulations wherever necessary : should not become an end in itself.
–> Effectiveness of Regulations : Capacity building.
–> Self Regulation : To start with, this principle can straightaway be applied to cases where permission/licence is required to be renewed periodically.
–> Involving citizens’ groups, professional organizations in the regulation activities
–> Institution specific standards should be prescribed for schools and hospitals and third party assessments carried out to monitor performance in service delivery. Performance based incentives should be prescribed at all levels by braking salary ceilings to guarantee service outcomes and linking permanence in service to performance.
–> from employment guarantee to service guarantee.
–> SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM :
One approach allows a service providing organization to re-engineer its processes in such a way that all the services provided by it get delivered to citizens through a single outlet/unit.
Another approach is to establish an organization which would create an infrastructure through which different government organizations are able to provide services to citizens at a single point of delivery.
–> Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has enabled governments and their different units to provide information and deliver services to citizens in a faster, more efficient and transparent manner.
–> The principle of subsidiarity should be followed while deciding on the implementation machinery for any programme.
–> Citizens should be actively involved in all stages of these programmes i.e. planning, implementation and monitoring.
–> Mandatory social audit should be carried out for all programames.
–> Impact assessment should be carried out for all programmes at periodic intervals.
THREE BROAD AREAS
–> Vision and Mission Statement of the organization.
–> Citizens’ Charter, the organization must state clearly what subjects it deals with and the service areas it broadly covers.
–> The Citizens’ Charter should also stipulate the responsibilities of the citizens in the context of the charter.
–> The basic thrust of Citizens’ Charter is to make public services citizen centric by ensuring that these services are demand driven rather than supply driven.
–> Six principles of the Citizens’ Charter movement as originally framed were:
i. Quality – improving the quality of services;
ii. Choice – for the users wherever possible;
iii. Standards – specifying what to expect within a time frame;
iv. Value – for the taxpayers’ money;
v. Accountability – of the service provider (individual as well as Organization);
vi. Transparency – in rules, procedures, schemes and grievance redressal.
****** vii Consult and Involve
viii Use resources effectively;
ix Innovate and improve;
x Treat all fairly; **********ADDED AFTERWARDS
–> INITIAL RESP WAS WITH DAR&PG AND DEPTT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS.
INDIAN EXPERIENCE AND PROBLEMS
i. In a majority of cases, the Charters were not formulated through a consultative process;
ii. By and large, service providers were not familiar with the philosophy, goals and main features of the Charter,vision and mission statement of the department; and skills such as team building, problem solving, handling of grievances and communication skills;
iii. Adequate publicity to the Charters had not been given in any of the Departments evaluated. In most Departments, the Charters are only in the initial or middle stage of implementation;
iv. No funds have been specifically earmarked for awareness generation of Citizens’ Charter or for orientation of the staff on various components of the Charter;
v. Charters are rarely updated;
vi. End-users and NGOs are not consulted when Charters are drafted.
vii. The needs of senior citizens and the disabled are not considered when drafting Charters;
viii. Resistance to change: The new practices demand significant changes in the behaviour and attitude of the agency and its staff towards citizens. At times, vested interests work for stalling the Citizens’ Charter altogether or in making it toothless.
RESOLVING THE ISSUES WITH CITIZEN CHARTER
–> Internal restructuring should precede Charter formulation:There has to be a complete analysis of the existing systems and processes within the organization and, if need be, these should to be recast and new initiatives adopted.
–> One size does not fit all:Commission is of the view that formulation of Citizens’ Charters should be a decentralized activity with the head office providing broad guidelines.
–> Wide consultation process
–-> Redressal mechanism in case of default.
–> Periodic evaluation of Citizens’ Charters: This is necessary because a Citizens’ Charter is a dynamic document which must keep pace with the changing needs of the citizens as well as the changes in underlying processes and technology.
–> Benchmark using end-user feedback : End-user feedback can be a timely aid to assess the progress and outcomes of an agency that has implemented a Citizens’ Charter.
–> Hold officers accountable for results:
–> Include Civil Society in the process: It helps in educating the citizens about the importance of this vital mechanism.
–> The Sevottam model works as an evaluation mechanism to assess the quality of internal processes and their impact on the quality of service delivery.
–> Three modules
1.The first component of the model requires effective Charter implementation thereby opening up a channel for receiving citizens’ inputs into the way in which organizations determine service delivery requirements.
2. The second component of the model, ‘Public Grievance Redress’ requires a good grievance redressal system operating in a manner that leaves the citizen more satisfied with how the organization responds to complaints/grievances, irrespective of the final decision.
3. Excellence in Service Delivery, postulates that an organization can have an excellent performance in service delivery only if it is efficiently managing well the key ingredients for good service delivery and building its own capacity to continuously improve service delivery.
ARC SEVEN STEP MODEL
–> Each organization should follow a step by step approach which would help it in becoming increasingly more citizen centric. This approach should be followed not only by the top management but also by each unit of the organization that has a public interface. The top management has the dual responsibility of setting standards for itself as well as guiding the subordinate offices in setting their own standards. Besides, all supervisory levels should ensure that the standards set by the subordinate offices are realistic and are in synergy with the broad organizational goals. Thus, though each office would have the autonomy to set standards, these would have to be in consonance with the organizational policies.
a. Define all services which you provide and identify your clients.
b. Set standards and norms for each service. A good starting point would be getting an input from the clients as to what their expectations are about each one of the identified services. Thereafter, based on their capability, the organization’s overall goals and of course the citizens’ expectations, the unit should set standards to which they could commit. It is very important that these standards are realistic and achievable. Complaints redressal mechanism should form an integral part of this exercise.
c. Develop capability to meet the set standards.
d. Perform to achieve the standards.
e. Monitor performance against the set standards.Compliance to standards would be better if it is backed up by a system of rewards and punishments.
f. Evaluate the impact through an independent mechanism.
g. Continuous improvement based on monitoring and evaluation results.
GOVERNANCE AND PEOPLE PARTICIPATION
Governance comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions through which collective decisions are made and implemented, citizens’ groups and communities pursue their vision, articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.
Citizens’ participation in governance embodies a shift in the development paradigm from citizens as the recipients of development to one that views them as active participants in the development process.The concept of citizens’ participation in governance is essentially based on the premise that citizens have a legitimate role in influencing decision making processes that aff ect their lives, their businesses and their communities.At the ideological level, direct citizens’ participation in governance is seen as contributing to a healthy democracy because it enhances and improves upon the traditional form of representative democracy to transform it into more responsive and thus a participative grassroots democracy.
Citizens’ participation in governance could be conceptualized in the following main forms:
i) Citizens seeking information;
ii) Citizens giving suggestions; (EXAMPLE: Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF))
iii) Citizens demanding better services;
iv) Citizens holding service providers and other government agencies’ accountable; and
v) Active citizens’ participation in administration/decision making.
–> Social audit generally refers to engagement of the stakeholders in measuring the achievement of objectives under any or all of the activities of a government organization, especially those pertaining to developmental goals.
–> Various participation techniques are used to involve all stakeholders in measuring, understanding, reporting and improving the social performance of an organization or activity.
–> The whole process is intended as a means for social engagement, transparency and communication of information, leading to greater accountability of decision-makers, representatives, managers and officials.
–> Gram Sabha: The Gram Sabha occupies a central place in the entire scheme of local governance because it is this body which provides an opportunity to the individual villager to participate in the local decision making processes. : The Commission is of the view that in order to have effective popular participation at the micro level, the large Gram Panchayats should be split into a number of wards/areas. Representing a unit of smaller habitation or cluster Ward Sabha will provide a platform where people can directly discuss their needs and prepare an area specific local plan. Th e Ward Sabha can exercise certain powers and functions of the Gram Sabha and also some powers and functions of the Gram Panchayats may be entrusted to them.
–> It is a bilateral process that requires a vigilant, proactive and responsible citizenry on the one hand and a transparent, responsive and receptive government agency on the other.
–> Nagaland’s “communitization” initiative for empowering local communities to manage services like education, electricity and water supply is a significant home grown experiment that effectively involves citizens in governance.
–> City Connect’ in Chennai and Bengaluru, for providing a platform to various stakeholders to interact with and support the government for improvement of urban infrastructure and the one on ‘Bhagidari’ by Government of NCT of Delhi for facilitating citizens’ participation in maintenance and up-gradation of services.
SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN ADMINISTRATION
–> To develop a suitable mechanism for receipt of suggestions from citizens, which could range from the simple ‘Suggestion Box’ to periodic consultations with citizens’ groups. Heads of the concerned organizations should ensure rigorous follow up action on the suggestions received so that these become a meaningful exercise.
–> A prescribed time schedule for response and resolution of complaints and a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure that the norms, prescribed are complied with.
–> Regular citizens’ feedback and survey and citizens’ report cards.These should be used as inputs for improving organizational efficiency.
–> There is need to create institutionalized mechanisms for encouraging their participation in governance across public agencies at all levels.For this following steps to be followed.
i. A comprehensive review of policy and practice in each department/ public agency.
ii. Modifying administrative procedures where necessary.
iii. Entrustment of the function of institutionalizing citizens’ participation in governance to a senior level officer.
iv. Performance management reviews to incorporate effectiveness in ensuring citizens’ participation in governance.
PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN & PHYSICALLY DISABLED
–> India is a signatory to the Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asian and the Pacific Region.
–> Negative social attitudes exclude persons with disabilities from an equal share in their entitlements as citizens. Such attitudes also curtail the opportunities of people with disabilities for social contact and close personal relationships with others.
–> Physical obstacles and social barriers prevent citizens with disabilities from participating in community and national life.With improved attitudes, increased awareness and much care, we can build social and physical environments that are accessible for all.
–> Parliament enacted ‘Th e Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995’.
The law provides for prevention and early detection of disabilities, special provisions for education, employment and affirmative action. Besides, it also laid down certain principles of non-discrimination against persons with physical disabilities. Furthermore, the law has also provided the structural mechanism for policy formulation, implementation and monitoring of all matters relating to persons with disabilities.
–> Concerned organizations/governments/local bodies should adopt these measures within the “limits of their economic capacity and development”. As a result, compliance with these recommendations has been extremely uneven.
–> The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has issued detailed guidelines describing the procedure for the certification of Disability.It is estimated that only about 22% of the total population of these are in possession of the prescribed disabilities certificate.
–> This would require government to adopt a proactive approach for detection and registration of the physically challenged persons. Th is could be done by giving the responsibility to the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) to identify all such cases in their jurisdiction and to get the evaluation of the disabilities done. It should also be mandated that Anganvadi Workers, and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) should report cases of suspected disability to the concerned PHC.
–> Steps should be taken to create a database for all the Disabilities Certificate holders with integration at District, State and National levels.
–> Organization of camps at PHC level, attended by the concerned medical personnel, would greatly help in issuing certificates of disability on the spot.
DECENTRALISATION AND DELEGATION
PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY
‘subsidiarity’ as the principle that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed eff ectively at a more immediate or local level.
Application of the subsidiarity principle has three great advantages in practical terms. First, local decision-making improves efficiency, promotes self-reliance at the local level, encourages competition and nurtures innovation. There will also be greater ownership of programmes and practices by the local communities. Second, democracy is based on three fundamental assumptions: all citizens are equal irrespective of station and birth; the citizen is the ultimate sovereign; and the citizen has the capacity to decide what is in his best interest. Only when these principles are put in practice can a democratic system derive its full legitimacy. Subsidiarity is the concrete expression of these foundations of a democratic society. Third, once decision-making and its consequences are integrally linked at the local level, people can better appreciate that hard choices need to be made.
–> DECENTRALISATION “The Transfer of decision making power and assignment of accountability and responsibility for results. It is accompanied by delegation of commensurate authority to individuals or units at all levels of an organization—even those far removed from headquarters or other centers of power.”
“The spread of power away from the center to local branches or governments.”
–> Administrative decentralization is often referred to as delegation.
–> DELEGATION : Delegation is primarily about entrusting one’s authority to others. This means that persons to whom authority has been delegated can take decisions and act independently. They also assume responsibility for their actions. At the same time, the person delegating authority continues to be accountable for the actions of those to whom authority has been delegated.
–> Saves time – it leads to quicker decision making.
–> Grooms and motivates a successor.
–> Provides more time to superiors for constructive review, or deliberation in the interests of progress.
–> Increases productivity.
–> Provides invaluable training to associates and employees.
–> Provides an enriched level of satisfaction as well as greater sense of worth
–> Reluctance by the superior to delegate
Feels that subordinates will get credit which he deserves.
Finds it difficult to monitor and supervise.
–> Reluctance by the subordinates to accept delegation
Want to avoid possible criticism from supervisors.
Fear of making mistakes.
Lack of self-confidence to take responsibility for their work.
FACILITATORS OF DELEGATION
1. Transparency – subordinates are provided with the required information.
2. Open communication.
3. Subordinates are made to feel important.
4. Authority is equated with responsibility.
5. Acceptance of responsibility and good performance is rewarded.
6. A culture of trust and risk-taking is developed.
7. Constructive feedback is given.
8. Standards to measure and evaluate performance are prescribed in advance.
PRINCIPLES OF DELEGATION
a. Clearly articulate the desired outcomes. Begin with the end in mind and specify the desired results.
b. Clearly identify constraints and extent of authority, responsibility, and accountability.
c. Where possible, include people in the delegation process. Empower them to decide what tasks are to be delegated to them and when.
d. Match the responsibility with communicate authority.
e. Delegate to the lowest level in the organization capable of performing the task.
f. Provide adequate support and ensure success through ongoing communication and monitoring as well as provision of resources and credit.
g. Focus on results. Allow the person to control his or her own methods and processes. This facilitates success and trust.
h. Avoid “upward delegation.” If there is a problem, do not allow the person to shift responsibility for the task to higher levels.
i. Build motivation and commitment. Discuss how success will impact financial rewards, future opportunities, informal recognition, and other desirable consequences. Provide recognition where deserved.
j. Establish and maintain control. Set timelines and deadlines.
k. Take time to review all submitted work.
–> Based on the principle of subsidiarity, each government organization should carry out an exercise to assess whether adequate delegation of authority has been done. In doing so, it should be clearly enunciated that the top levels of the organization should essentially focus on policy making functions and the field level functionaries should focus on operational aspects.
–> The extent to which delegated powers is used or is allowed to be used, should be two of the elements while appraising an officer’s overall performance.
Two designated nodal agencies in the Union Government handling these grievances. These agencies are:
a. Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.
b. Directorate of Public Grievances, Cabinet Secretariat.
–> As per these guidelines, all Ministries, autonomous bodies and Public Sectors Undertakings (PSUs) are required to designate an officer as Director of Public Grievances including in autonomous bodies and Public Sector Undertakings. It has also been stipulated that the grievance redressal system should form a part of the Citizens’ Charters. Ministries have also been advised to fix a time frame for disposal of the petitions received, suo motu identify grievances from newspaper columns and regularly monitor the disposal of the petitions.
Centralized Public Grievances Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS)
–> The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances launched the CPGRAMS in 2007 for receiving, redressing and monitoring of grievances from the public. CPGRAMS provides the facility to lodge a grievance ‘online’ from any geographical location. It enables the citizen to track online his/her grievance being followed up with departments concerned and also enables the DAR&PG to monitor the grievance.Similar concepts have already been tried in several States, for example, the Lokvani in Uttar Pradesh.
–> Unlike the Department of AR&PG, the Directorate of Public Grievances has been empowered to call officers and files to see if the grievance handling has been done in a fair, objective and just manner. Wherever the Directorate is satisfied that the grievance has not been dealt with in such a manner, it makes suitable recommendations for consideration and adoption by the concerned Ministry/Department which are required to be implemented within a period of one month.
EXISTING PGS IN INDIA
–> There is considerable variation across organizations in respect of the number of grievances received, disposed of and pending in various organizations.
–> Ministries and Departments have been advised to set up social audit panels for examining areas of public interface.
–> Public Grievance Cells often suffer from shortage of staff and resources.
–> Several Ministries/Departments do not detect or note public grievances appearing in newspapers for suo motu redressal actions.
–> No efforts are made to hold satisfaction surveys to ascertain the outcome of measures taken by the organization to redress grievances.
–> Generally, people are not aware that a system of redressal exists in many of the Government departments and its subordinate offices where they are required to visit.
–> The Committee also recommends that grievance-handling system should be accessible, simple, quick, fair, responsive and effective.
–> The Committee, further recommends that the Public Grievance Redressal Mechanism should be envisaged in a statutory form on the line of the Right to Information Act, 2005 which would make it mandatory on all State Governments/ UTs/ Ministries/ Departments/ Organisations to pursue the grievance till their final disposal.
–> Internal grievance redressal methods available in various Ministries/ Departments and the organisations should be strengthened or restructured in a way like both the representative of the organisation and the aggrieved party must be present before the designated authority and the grievance is settled then and there.
–> there is a need to bring about a total change in the attitude/behaviour of public servants or in other words, the mind set towards redressal of public grievances at all levels and to pinpoint responsibility for action against grievances of the people.
–> The Committee also reiterates that like Right to Information Act in the PGRM system, there should be a time limit of 30 days and provision of fine on delay should be there.
INTERNAL GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL MECHANISM
GRIEVANCEcould thus be categorized into three broad groups –
(i) grievances arising out of abuse of office and corruption on the part of public functionaries,
(ii) grievances arising out of systemic deficiencies within an organization, and
(iii) grievances arising from non-fulfillment of needs/demands.
While the first category is amenable to statutory intervention similar to those embodied in the RTI Act, the second and the third categories may require internal reforms, organizational capacity building and even substantial budgetary allocations.
TO ACHIEVE STRONG INTERNAL MECHANISM FOR PGR
–> Designate public grievance officers on the lines of the Public Information Officers specified under the RTI Act. These officers should be of adequate seniority and be delegated commensurate authority.
–> All grievance petitions should be satisfactorily disposed of by these officers within thirty days. Non-adherence to the time limit should invite financial penalties.
–> Each organization should also designate an appellate authority and devolve adequate powers upon them including the power to impose fines on the defaulting officers.
–> Government organizations should analyse the complaints received and identify the areas wherein interventions would be required so as to eliminate the underlying causes that lead to public grievances. This exercise should be carried out at regular intervals.
CONSUMER DISPUTE REDRESSAL MECHANISM
a. Lok Adalats would be eff ective in settling many consumer disputes. It should be stipulated by law that cases up to a particular value, say Rupees two lakhs, should fi rst be referred to Lok Adalats.
b. All Ministries/Departments need to examine the procedures regulating grant of licenses, permissions or registration including the underlying Acts, Rules, Notifi cations, etc. These should be recast with the following underlying principles:
i. There should be an upper time limit for grant of any license/ permission/registration. The law should provide for penalties if an application is not disposed of within the stipulated period.
ii. Applications should be processed only on a ‘First in First out Basis’. All applications received and pending should be put on the licensing authority’s website.
iii. Selecting units for surprise inspection should not be left to the discretion of the inspecting officers. Each office should devise an objective procedure to randomly select units for inspection. Exceptions can be made in case of receipt of genuine complaints against any unit.
iv. The outcome of all inspections must be immediately put in the public domain.
v. There should be an annual audit of the licensing and inspection system each year by an independent agency.
vi. All licensing authorities should evolve an accessible system for receipt of citizens’ complaints.