Parliamentary panel recommends ministries, departments to strictly comply government’s grievance redressal instructions

10 August, 2022 | Vaishali Sharma

parliament National

During the just finished Monsoon Session, the report was presented to both chambers of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.

A Parliamentary Standing Committee has advised that all ministries and departments of the Central government fully follow the guidelines given by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) on grievance redressal from time to time. The proposal was given in the 119th report of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, led by Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi, on “Strengthening of Grievance Redressal Mechanism of Government of India.”

During the just finished Monsoon Session, the report was presented to both chambers of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.

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”.

According to a report by ANI, 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.

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 citizens round the clock to lodge their grievances, in order to make the grievance handling mechanism more sensitive and responsible, according to the report.

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 commended the department for making every effort to improve the grievance redressal system and stated that having a grievance redressal platform is one thing, but exhibiting the proper intentions is quite another. As a result, the Committee recommended that the department keep the same goals in mind as it develops the next version of CPGRAMS, namely, opening channels for effective communication, promoting productive relationships, mitigating and preventing adverse impacts on stakeholders caused by department operations, and, most importantly, involving stakeholders in the process.