A Parliamentary Standing Committee has recommended all the ministries and departments under the Central government strictly comply with the instructions issued by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) from time to time in respect of grievance redressal.
The recommendation of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, chaired by Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi, was made in its 119th report on "Strengthening of Grievance Redressal Mechanism of Government of India". The report was submitted in both the houses of Parliament-- the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha-- in the recently concluded Monsoon Session.
Stressing that "the grievance redressal mechanism of an organization is an instrument to measure its efficiency and effectiveness as it provides important feedback on the working of that organization", the Committee observed "it is also important to understand that governance is an area where the citizen too has a specific role to play at every given point".
The Committee notes that, in their eagerness to comply with established instructions, grievances are "increasingly being disposed of by some departments or organizations simply with the suggestion to approach another agency, sometimes a subordinate office".
"In some cases, the grievance is being resent to the agency against which the complaint is made and in some others, the online grievances are being disposed with the advice to take the grievance to the portal of the agency or some complaint committee."
"The Committee notes that DARPG has instructed the ministries and departments to give valid reasons for closure. However, in many cases this is not being done. The Committee impresses upon the ministries and departments to strictly comply with the instructions issued by DARPG from time to time in respect of grievance redressal," reads the report.
In order to make the grievance handling mechanism more sensitive and responsible, the report mentions, the DARPG has mandated a detailed Action Taken Report (ATR) before a grievance is closed in Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS)- an online platform available to the citizens round the clock to lodge their grievances.
The ATR captures with granularity the attempts made by the Grievance officer to resolve the grievances and if not resolved then the reason for the same, says the report, adding "ATR would help to differentiate between the actual resolution and disposal of grievance." "The ATR also provides for a matrix for assessment of the quality of resolution and performance of Grievance Officers."
Further, the Committee took note of the reply and appreciates the initiative of the department in directing the organizations, departments and ministries to prepare a detailed ATR before a grievance is closed in CPGRAMS. "Though, it is hoped that the initiative is being implemented by all the organizations, departments and ministries in an intended manner and it does not remain on paper only, as just another set of guidelines issued by the department."
"In this connection, the Committee would like to suggest that there must be a system of reward and punishment for the officials entrusted for resolution of grievances. The department should develop a mechanism to ensure accountability of the government officials dealing with the citizen's grievances. For this the appellate authority for grievances should be empowered to impose some penalty and reward based on the assessment of officials dealing with grievances," the report suggests.
The Committee appreciated the department for sparing no efforts in strengthening the grievance redressal system and opined that having a grievance redressal platform is one thing, and demonstrating the right intentions are another thing. Thus, the Committee recommended that the same goals should also be on the radar of the department while developing the next version of CPGRAMS, namely, opening channels for effective communication, promoting productive relationships, mitigating and preventing adverse impacts on stakeholders caused by the department's operations, and more importantly making stakeholders part of the process. (ANI)