Public grievances and action taken mechanism

In fact, much is being talked about in respect of redressing public grievances than actually being done in substantive manner and to the satisfaction of the aggrieved persons. The concepts of ‘Public Darbar’, conducting Block Diwas, daily basis approach to hearing grievances and meeting individuals and deputations largely remain confined to either the realms of formalities or just mere symbolism . Although government keeps issuing circulars and communiqués in respect of redressing public grievances , attending in person by the designated authorities for one hour between 2.30 to 3.30 pm and to submit reports on the standard formats on weekly basis and the like , yet a critical appraisal must surely be highlighting abject lackadaisical approach adopted by most of the Administrative Secretaries and even Deputy Commissioners. That trend has got to be reversed sooner than later and, perhaps, in that spirit fresh instructions have been issued to all the Administrative Secretaries and Deputy Commissioners to not only accord all seriousness of the purpose to redressing grievances but furnishing requisite reports on such action taken on weekly basis so as to be appraised at the Lieutenant Governor’s Secretariat.
Agreed, COVID pandemic related constraints affected the requisite mobility and hence the level of redressing public grievances but the gap could have been bridged by making the on-line mode effective vide which complaints and grievances could have been received and disposed of. It is an irony that the notified telephone numbers of the departments for the said purpose are rarely picked up when called not to speak of those made widely known to people as an alternate mode to have grievances reached up to the concerned tables. When there is video- conferencing facilities with almost each and every Administrative Secretary, Departmental Heads , Deputy Commissioners as also respective websites , e-mails etc , why shouldn’t those be used vigorously to address such a sensitive matter as public grievances redressing ? Are time slots fixed on daily basis in the offices being maintained for meeting the visiting people in the ordinary course let alone making an alternate arrangement to meet the people and listen to their problems when the ‘boss’ is on official tour and away from the office? The levels of the importance accorded to the issue should be such that the next in command must enter into the shoes of the Head in his or her absence to keep the mechanism going and relevant and listen to what the aggrieved have to say. It should be made explicitly clear that resolving the issue on the spot depending upon the merits of each case, could be duly assessed for commendable scoring and remarks in the annual performance appraisal report of the said authority.
In fact, receiving complaints and grievances is and should be taken as a measure whereby how efficiently the particular department performed vis-a-vis addressing various issues of the public, could be gauged . It is a sort of feedback on the levels of efficiency, transparency and effectiveness of a particular department and office of the government . There should be no shyness or reluctance to receive the grievances so as to vain fully project ”all was well” since grievances and complaints are inescapably inevitable and what is needed is resolving and redressing those which would surely go a long way towards establishing confidence and trust of the people in the administrative mechanism hence in the system. Many grievances are in respect of the faulty projects , inoperative and delayed in commissioning and the like for which organising more of Block Diwas was necessary vide which services could be offered to the people right at their doorsteps, especially at remote rural areas where people are constrained to think that they perhaps were destined to the fait accompli of neglect.
We would like to reiterate that even hundreds of government employees too do have grievances since the system cannot be made such to avoid the same and if a proper grievances mechanism is established for them also but to their satisfaction , large percentage of such aggrieved employees will never go to courts and hence never involve the government in avoidable litigations.