Government on Tuesday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha that makes it mandatory for every authority or department to publish a citizen's charter and address grievances within 30 days, failing which the official concerned would face action.
The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011 was introduced by Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy.
Publishing a Citizens Charter by every department is a key demand of Anna Hazare, though he wants the mechanism as part of the Lokpal Bill.
The charter also seeks to make it mandatory for government officials to acknowledge complaints from the public within two days of receipt.
The bill seeks to set up a grievance redressal mechanism to tackle graft in the lower ranks of administration, a move that comes against the backdrop of Team Anna's anti-corruption campaign.
The bill seeks to cover all schemes and departments of the Central government and provide a platform to state governments to implement a similar mechanism for their schemes.
The bill makes it compulsory for every ministry and department to act within 30 days on complaints from the public, failing which an appeal could be filed with a higher authority. This authority will have to dispose of the appeal within 30 days.
It also seeks to impose a penalty on the grievance redressal officer if any complaint is not addressed in a stipulated time frame.
Under the proposed law, every public authority will have to designate a Grievance Redress Officer right from the block level up to the central government.
The GRO will receive and act on grievances from the public on services that they are entitled to under any law or government policy.
The officer has to ensure that a complainant is informed in writing about the action taken on his complaint.
According to the provisions in the bill, if this is not done, a complainant can appeal to a designated authority which can summon accused officers and question them within 30 days of the complaint, and if proven guilty they could face penalty. They will also have to compensate the citizen.
If a complainant is dissatisfied with the designated authority's decision, he can approach public grievances redressal commissions which would be established at both central and state levels.