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Grievance Redressal: A key to Good Governance

  • Category
    Ethics
  • Published
    21st Feb, 2019

A key aspect of the clarion call of “maximum governance and minimum government” of the Government of India is effective Grievance Redressal Mechanism (GRM). The vision of New India by 2022 hinges on responsive and effective government of which GRM is a significant requirement.

Context:

A key aspect of the clarion call of “maximum governance and minimum government” of the Government of India is effective Grievance Redressal Mechanism (GRM). The vision of New India by 2022 hinges on responsive and effective government of which GRM is a significant requirement.

What is grievance redressal?

Grievance redressal concerns with the receipt, processing, and effective resolution of complaints from citizens and consumers. It is a management, and governance related process which results in removal of discontent by resolution of complaints and issues. The grievances are generally in concern with lack of service availability and its delivery, delays in service delivery, lack of transparency & accountability, injustice concerns like gender and caste-based discriminations, misbehaviours, malpractices such as corruption, etc.

Ethics of effective GRM:

Every human relation is based on the value of ‘trust’. Grievances are resulted due to non-fulfilment of the commitments and causes distrust among people, thus, affect the relationship among public and government. In governmental sector, they result from problems in service delivery mainly. Designated portals to register one’s complaints and the ability to get them resolved improves the public trust in an institution, improves its services delivery and most importantly, removes the areas of contention and reduces disaffection & apathy among public by providing a safety-valve.

Further, timely resolution of the grievances provides strength to the democracy by providing stability to the government as it increases public trust in government. It results in belongingness among people and gives them a sense of ownership in government and its functioning.

Grievances also provide feedback on the various policies of the government and provide as measure to monitor and improve public policies by taking timely corrective measures.

Mechanisms employed by the government offices:

  1. Generally, Public Relations Officer (PRO)is designated with the role of receiving complaints and initiating corrective action. But due to lack of adequate authority vested in the PRO over officers of various capacities, the system becomes ineffective.
  2. Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) is an online web-enabled system developed by NIC, in association with Directorate of Public Grievances (DPG) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG). CPGRAMS is the platform based on web technology which primarily aims to enable submission of grievances by the aggrieved citizens 24x7 from anywhere, to Ministries/Departments/Organisations who scrutinize, track with unique registration number, and provide action taken report (ATR) on the received grievances. The states’ public grievance redressal systems which function parallelly with CPGRAMS will also be linked with CPGRAMS, in future, for more unified approach to grievance redressal.

The various offices of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), President’s Secretariat, Pension Portal, etc. are linked with CPGRAMS. Prime Minister, through Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation or PRAGATI platform, monitors important programmes to address common citizen’s grievances.

Integrated Grievance Redressal Mechanism (INGRAM) is to further enhance the unified and smooth experience to citizen/consumers across public and private sectors.

  1. e-governance through mechanisms such as the web-app, MyGov.in, Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) app for m-governance or mobile-governance, etc. which increases access of a government for a common citizen and provide suggestions for improvement of affairs.
  2. Quality Council of India (QCI) goes into the analysis of root cause of the discontent and grievances on CPGRAMS helping in figuring out the patterns in grievances for their effective and sustained resolution.
  3. Various other services like Jansunwai or e-samvad, Lokvani in Uttar Pradesh, aponline.com in Andhra Pradesh, e-Pariharan of Kerala, Door-step delivery model of Government of NCT of Delhi, etc. are few other examples of grievance redressal mechanism across states.

Best practices:

Due to increased awareness with increasing internet penetration and education levels among population, grievance registration on the CPGRAMS portal has increased in India in past few years (by over 100% from 2015 to 2017). Interestingly, the disposal rate of the grievances has also increased (from around 70% in 2015 to over 93% in 2017).

The recurrent grievances have been found by QCI through root cause analysis, in areas such as railway ticket cancellation, and have resulted in over 80 successful reforms in those areas. This would help in long-term or permanent resolution of the grievances.

Future outlook of grievance redressal in India:

With increased focus on e-governance, the services are set to go paperless, cashless, and faceless with limited or no human interface. This would reduce the discretion and biases from the system.

Also, with increasing education levels and rising awareness regarding one’s rights and obligation for government, the demands for better GRM will further increase.

Unified system (CPGRAMS and states’ public grievance redressal systems) will result in faster resolutions of grievances. This would result in more participatory and responsive governance and help realize the vision of ‘Sushasan’ or good governance in New India 2022.

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