Grievances redressal system


While conscientiously the administrative apparatus may be aware of and realising the importance of redressing of public grievances and there may be much talks about it but it would be construed as nothing beyond mere rhetoric if an effective mechanism on the ground did not work for it and that it was periodically not appraised too. There can be no two opinions about the fact that no Government and its administration, in particular, can claim to be really accountable , user-friendly and responsive in the absence of establishing an effective and efficient redressing system . In other words, if it is said that the said grievances redress(al) system was an inalienable part and parcel of an efficient administration, it will not be any over statement. In this backdrop, undoubtedly, the UT Government has, from time to time, been stressing on its importance and even having devised procedures for it too like holding Public Darbar , earmarking of specific days by officers to listen and attend to public grievances and the initiatives of LG-Mulaqat -a live public grievances mechanism etc . How much have each of these initiatives really borne fruits is what matters even though the fact that the mechanism was working but just for the name sake is the overall impression. That needs, therefore, to be strengthened and further attuned to public requirements and that speaks for the Lieutenant Governor exhorting the District Administrations to resolve the complaints as soon as they were received. Interacting with a few applicants , he must have got the first hand feedback about the ”things” happening actually on the ground. Needless to add , it is all the layers of the administration down to the clerical cadre which must act as a cohesive mechanism to deal with a particular complaint/ grievance and any impediments, mostly wilful, in the process at any stage could defeat the very purpose of the redressing mechanism. Therefore, accountability must be established at every level the complaint travels in an office to its ultimate stage of resolution. The general feeling is that at junior levels in an administration, a general mindset of taking complaints as quite casual still persisting was nothing short of non-cooperation with the authorities who must get all the relevant information and details of a complaint to enable them taking a favourable decision or otherwise depending upon the merit of the concerned complaint. Agreed, all complaints cannot merit favourable decision as sought or desired by a complainant but what matters is not keeping any complaint unduly pending . That is why, a number of complaints were disposed of on the spot , mostly vindicating the stand of the respective complainants, in the latest programme conducted under the auspices of this month’s ”LG -Mulaqat” . That denotes somewhere, a keen interest and a personal touch by the authority concerned dealing with disposing of complaints in respective Government departments. It is, again a question of a helping mindset and a resolve to find a way out to address the concerns raised in a genuine complaint. We would reiterate that performance factor played a vital part in the entire scenario of grievances sprouting and thereafter resolving those in a time bound manner. Had there been a good performance in a particular department , probably, a grievance or a complaint would normally not arise at all. Due stress , therefore, on good performance of the officers/ Departmental Heads/ District Authorities / Administrative Secretaries etc must be a precursor and a prerequisite of an effective system of governance . That means the employees of all the cadre realising that they were there in the service for and because of public service and public interests must reign supreme while giving out their performance. In that scenario, rarely would a complaint or a grievance take place. ”Perform or perish ” is the front face of identifying of what is known as ”Dead Wood” or those officials not performing or found consistently under-performing who must be identified and asked to go to create room for hardworking and promising new persons. In fact, most of the problems or complaints are of general category and can be disposed of immediately as against those which required a policy shift or procedural change which definitely would take a few days more. A mere acknowledgment of “having received your complaint, shall be addressed soon” would mean a lot to a complainant and that is what we call ”user-friendly” approach especially when it is mentioned who was the official and his/her telephone number asked to process the particular complaint. A single window system at points of public contact and constituting a social audit panel or any such arrangement that would analyse the areas of public interface to moot out if any changes in procedures were required and regular monitoring by asking for report card every month about receipt , disposal and pendency of complaints from each department, would infuse energy and sense of responsibility in the redress(al) mechanism.