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Governance and Social Justice (Systemic Issues across Governments) by Abhishiekh Saxena

  • Category
    GS -II
  • Test Date
    25-05-2023 07:00 AM
  • Evaluated


  • There will be 2 questions carrying 10 marks each. Write your answers in 150 words
  • Any page left blank in the answer-book must be crossed out clearly.
  • Evaluated Copy will be re-uploaded on the same thread after 2 days of uploading the copy.
  • Discussion of the question and one to one answer improvement session of evaluated copies will be conducted through Google Meet with concerned faculty. You will be informed via mail or SMS for the discussion.

Question #1. How can the institution of the anti corruption ombudsman help improve probity in government offices? Describe the lacunae in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013

Question #2. Citizen charters have failed to achieve their complete potential in improving service delivery of the government departments. Examine the benefits and failings of the Citizen Charters in light of the above statement. Also discuss the critical areas for intervention to ensure their success.

(Examiner will pay special attention to the candidate's grasp of his/her material, its relevance to the subject chosen, and to his/ her ability to think constructively and to present his/her ideas concisely, logically and effectively).

Model Answer

Question #1. How can the institution of the anti corruption ombudsman help improve probity in government offices? Describe the lacunae in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013


  1. Introduce by mentioning the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act and how it establishes an anti corruption ombudsman. 
  2. Discuss how anti corruption ombudsman could improve probity in Government offices. 
  3. Mention the pitfalls and misses of the act 
  4. Suggest ways to improve the act and conclude be mentioning its importance 


The growth of the country has been beset with corruption and it has spread throughout the entire administrative set up. To root out the menace of corruption the institution of "ombudsman" came up and has played a great role in fighting administrative malpractices.

The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 mandated for the establishment of Lokpal at the Union level and Lokayukta at the State level. These institutions perform the function and role of an “Ombudsman”. They inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public bodies/organizations and for other related matters.  The Lokpal also possesses the powers to superintendence over the CBI. Lastly, it allows the Lokpal to ask its investigation wing to conduct preliminary investigation of any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.


Role of Ombudsman in improving probity

  • Independent investigation: Ombudsman is an independent body and hence free from executive and bureaucratic interference. 
  • Most of the agencies like CBI, state vigilance departments, internal vigilance wings of various departments, Anti-corruption Branch of state police etc are not independent.  In many cases, they have to report to the same people who are either themselves accused or are likely to be influenced by the accused
      • Self-declaration of assets: Public servants have to declare their assets and liabilities to the ombudsman in a prescribed form. 
        • If they do not disclose any assets in their possession or provide any misleading information, it may be considered to be acquired by corrupt means
    • Credible Deterrence: An independent body like Ombudsman, whose jurisdiction encompasses all citizens with little exception works as a deterrent against corruption. 
    • No conflict of interest: It examines complaints from outside the offending state institution, thus avoiding the conflicts of interest inherent in self-policing. 
    • However, the ombudsman system relies heavily on the selection of an appropriate individual for the office, and on the cooperation of at least some effective official from within the apparatus of the state.
    • Powerful Body: The Lokpal does not need prior sanction to either investigate or prosecute an official

    Issues with the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013

    The institution of lokpal has tried to bring a much-needed change in the battle against corruption in the administrative structure of India but at the same time there are loopholes and lacunae in the act which need to be corrected.

      • Not completely independent: Lokpal is not free from political influence as the appointing committee itself consist of parliamentarians. 
        • There are no criteria to decide who is an ‘eminent jurist’ or ‘a person of integrity.’ This appointment can easily be manipulated
      • Lacks protection for Whistle-blowers: The act provides no concrete immunity to the whistle blowers. The provision for initiation of inquiry against the complainant if the accused is found innocent could discourage people from raising complaints.
      • Lax laws for dignitaries and religious organisations: Lokpal do not have the authority to inquire into allegation of corruption against MP, in respect of anything said or vote given by him in Parliament
        • Judiciary has been kept out of the ambit of Lokpal
        • Religious bodies and charities are excluded from the ambit of the Lokpal
    • Lacks Constitutional Backing: The institution of Lokpal lacks Constitutional backing and there is no adequate provision for appeal against the Lokpal.
    • Indefinite investigations: The investigation should be completed within six months, failing which the investigative agency can ask for extensions, which should be for no more than six months at a time. 
      • Investigations can be extended indefinitely in the current Lokpal Act
    • Slack implementation: The States have the freedom to determine the nature and type of their Lokayukta Bill. This can cause the states to have a toned-down version of the act.

    Way Forward

    • Grant greater autonomy in appointments of Lokpal members by having a 3rd party like UPSC perform the appointment role.
    • Strengthen the Whistle-blower protection law in Lokpal to ensure people come forward to voice grievances and complaints.
    • Increase the ambit of Lokpal with minimum exceptions 
    • Maintain time limit for case disposal 
    • Have same basic rules for the entire country for Lokayukta and States should be given some freedom to modify based on their needs and suitability
      • It could be envisaged similar to the framework of Panchayati Raj, where compulsory and voluntary provisions are mentioned for states


    The need for the establishment of any institute always depends upon a specific and pertinent cause. Likewise, the need for establishment of the institute of Lokpal is the outcome of the issue of rampant growth of corruption in almost every sphere.

    Question #2. Citizen charters have failed to achieve their complete potential in improving service delivery of the government departments. Examine the benefits and failings of the Citizen Charters in light of the above statement. Also discuss the critical areas for intervention to ensure their success.


    1. Introduce with the definition and background of citizen charters (40 words)
    2. Discuss the positive effects of citizen charters in governance and its crucial role in improving public service delivery. (60 words)
    3. Describe the failings of citizen charter in the Indian scenario (60 words)
    4. Discuss critical areas of intervention to improve citizen charter implementation. (50 words)
    5. Conclude showing the growing relevance of citizen charter in ensuring quality service delivery to the public (40 words)


    Citizen Charters (CCs) are public agreements between citizens and service delivery providers that clearly codify expectations and standards in the realm of service delivery. The three essential aspects of good governance are transparency, accountability and responsiveness of the administration. Citizen’s Charters is a response to solving the problems which a citizen encounters, day in and day out, while dealing with organisations providing public services.

    With increasing economic and educational empowerment, citizens have become more articulate and expect the administration not merely to respond to their demands but also to anticipate them. It is in this climate, The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in Government of India (DARPG) initiated the task of coordinating, formulating and operationalising Citizen’s Charters.

    The usefulness of the Citizen Charters

    • Accountability: Citizen Charters enhance accountability by providing citizens with a clear understanding of service delivery standards, including timetables, user fees for services, and options for grievance redress
        • The Citizen’s Charter of the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board was issued in 1998. 
        • The Charter of each local body provides that if grievances are not redressed in time as stipulated in the Charter, citizens are entitled to bring it to the notice of the officers concerned and also to the Commissionerate whose telephone numbers have been indicated in the Charter.
    • Transparency: There is a decrease in opportunities for corruption and graft by increasing transparency and educating citizens about their rights
    • Quality: Improvements in staff morale, a more professional and client-responsive environment for service delivery, and a way for both internal and external actors to objectively monitor service delivery performance is obtained through these charters.
      • RTO Hyderabad implemented Citizen Charter effectively to considerable improvement in the overall functioning by reduced time taken for processing, less touts and simplified procedures
    • Participative: It makes the government organisations open to public by accommodating a participative approach towards the public. This also has a positive effect on better identification of expectations from public
    • Effectiveness: It increases organizational effectiveness and performance by making a public commitment to adhere to measurable service delivery standards. 
      • The Charter brought out by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board incorporated a provision on payment of compensation as a token of commitment to its customers in the event of failure to provide services within the stipulated time norms

    Failings of the Citizen Charter

    • No Consultation: The general perception of organisations which formulate Citizen’s Charters is that the exercise is to be carried out because there is a direction from above. 
      • The consultation process is minimal or largely absent from both the employees and the public. 
    • Lack of Capacity Building: The concerned staff are not adequately trained and sensitised. 
      • For any Charter to succeed the employees responsible for its implementation should have proper training and orientation, as commitments of the Charter cannot be expected to be delivered by a workforce that is unaware of the spirit and content of the Charter.
    • Citizenry lack awareness: Awareness campaigns to educate clients about the Charter were not conducted systematically.
      • If stakeholders are not aware of the CC and its purpose, they cannot hold service providers accountable.
    • Unrealistic standards: The standards/time norms of services mentioned in Citizen’s Charter are either too lax or too tight and, therefore, unrealistic, thereby creating an unfavourable impression on the clients of the Charter
    • Limited Understanding: The concept behind the Citizen’s Charter is not properly understood. Information brochures, publicity materials, pamphlets produced earlier by the organisations are mistaken for Citizen’s Charters.
    • Bureaucratic resistance: Employees resist such initiatives because they represent a new way of doing business or because they may threaten corrupt practices.
    • Difficulty maintaining momentum during implementation: Undertaking the charter process is futile if it does not lead to long term improvement in service delivery.

    Critical areas of intervention in Citizen Charter Initiative

    • Communication: Campaign and dialogue that outlines the procedures and benefits associated with the CC approach while incorporating employees’ feedback 
    • Provide incentives: Linking improvements in service delivery outlined in the CC to the performance appraisal system.
    • Oversight: Management should be closely involved in monitoring CC implementation to ensure that employees are adhering to the CC.
    • Process design: A realistic sense of the costs, magnitude of changes, and requirements associated with implementing a CC in order to link the CC to changes in the way that the organization does business, must be established.
    • Training and communication: Employees need to understand how the CC influences business processes and receive the training necessary to fulfil the vision outlined in the CC
    • Monitoring and evaluation: A system that incorporates both internal and external metrics could be established to track progress in service delivery
    • Communication: A public relations campaign to spur demand for the CC and increase stakeholders’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities
    • Visibility: It must be ensured that CCs are placed prominently in-service delivery locations, and train employees to refer to the CC in interactions with customers.
    • Leadership: Management should keep CC on the oversight by continuing to communicate with employees about CC
    • Verify results: Citizen charters could be linked with other social accountability initiatives such as social audits with third-party monitors to track progress.


    The success of CC interventions is contingent on promoting substantial process-oriented, organizational, and cultural changes within government organizations. Accordingly, while drafting a CC is a step in the right direction, the effectiveness of CC interventions ultimately depends on engaging stakeholders and establishing a clear commitment to making the CC part of an organization’s work ethics.

     Improvements in service delivery take a long time. However, if designed and implemented correctly, Citizen Charters have the potential to generate a number of benefits for stakeholders and service providers alike, including improving the quality of service delivery, enhancing accountability, minimizing corruption, and tracking service delivery performance

    Procedure of Answer Writing:

    To participate in the answer writing program, Register yourself for the test. Copies will be evaluated only for the registered students. Registration will be closed after the scheduled date.

    Answer Writing, Copy Evaluation, and Marks Improvement Cycle:

    Step 1 (Theme, Details & Its Topics):

    1. Every round of Answer writing initiative will be around a theme related to the Subject/Topic.
    2. Please read the theme and its description, and try to cover the topics given within the theme before writing the answer along with the sources.

    Step 2 (Answer Writing):

    1. Questions will be uploaded on the portal on the scheduled date at 7:00 AM.
    2. You have to write your answers on an A4 size sheet leaving margins on both sides based on the UPSC pattern.
    3. Mention your name, email id, location, and phone number on the 1st page in the top right corner and the page number on each page.
    4. After writing the answers, Click pictures of each page of your answer sheet, merge them all in a single PDF and upload them in the upload section of the same question.
    5. Kindly submit your written answers before 7:00 PM. Only the first 100 copies will be considered for evaluation. No request for late submission or evaluation will be entertained once the 100 mark is reached.

    Note: Answer sheets without the proper guidelines given above will not be accepted for evaluation.

    Step 3 (Copy Evaluation): Copies will be evaluated in the next 2 days of the test date. After evaluation, copies will be uploaded into your account. During the copy evaluation period, doubt clearing and discussion about the theme or topic of the test with respective mentors of the test will be done in the telegram group

    Step 4 (Mentorship): Evaluated copies will be sent to you via mail and also uploaded into your account on the website. After that a mentorship session for the marks improvement with respective faculty will be conducted in the telegram group, so that students can get a wider perspective of the topics. Here you can discuss your evaluated copies also with the faculty. Top 5 copies of every test will be shared in the group for reference.

    Note: Aspirants who have not written the test can also participate in the mentorship session.

    For Updates and Mentorship of the session, you will be notified through SMS or Telegram Group.

    For Notification And Update About the Program Join Telegram Group at: https://t.me/gsscoreopendailyanswerwriting

    Note: You have to write your answers on an A4 size sheet leaving margins on both sides based on UPSC pattern. Mention Your Name on 1st page and Page Number on each page. After writing the answer, Click pictures of each page of your answer sheet, merge them all in a single PDF and upload in the Your Answer Copy section of the same question.

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