There is no special Act or law at present for dealing with public grievances relating to the various services offered by the Central Government. However, there do exist laws like the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for dealing with consumer related complaints. This is what was stated today (30 November 2016) by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question by Shri Ramsinh Rathwa in the Lok Sabha.
However, there are guidelines in this regard. The Government informed that as per the guidelines issued by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, a grievance is required to be disposed off within a period of 2 months by the concerned Ministry/Department/Organization to which it pertains and in case it is not possible, an interim reply with reasons for delay is required to be provided.
When an official is allocated the work of redress of grievances, it is part of his duty, and action, if required can be taken against the erring officials for dereliction of duties as per the relevant Service Rules.
It was stated that the grievances can be lodged by citizens by post, in person and through internet. For quick and comprehensive redress of grievances, the Government has established an internet based Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) in June, 2007, to facilitate citizens to lodge their grievances from anywhere, anytime for redress. The System enables Ministries/Departments to take appropriate action and upload the action taken reports on the system. The citizens can view online the status of action taken on their grievances. The system has provisions for generating various reports for monitoring of the grievances. CPGRAMS has feedback mechanism for rating of the satisfaction level, by the complainant, after redress. The President Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office and Directorate of Public Grievances also have their online systems, for lodging of public grievances, which are integrated with CPGRAMS.
As per the guidelines issued, each Ministry/Department is required to nominate a Director of Public Grievances for ensuring proper action on public grievances. Every Wednesday of the week has been earmarked for receiving and hearing of grievance petitions in person by the Director of Public Grievances in each Central Ministry/Department. In case of inadequate reply and disposal of grievance by a Central Ministry, the citizen can approach the concerned Director of Public Grievances for resolution.
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