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Citizens’ Charter in India: Delivering governance to people

By Neha Mahal (CDHR)

(From our Bulletin archives: originally published in June 2013)

LogoPetty corruption experienced by people in accessing basic and day-to-day public services from the government largely forms the basis of anti-corruption sentiments among people in India. A survey conducted jointly by Transparency International India and Centre for Media Studies in 2008 pointed out that below the poverty line households had paid a total of $ 177 million as bribe in 2007 alone to avail of basic public services such as public distribution system, education, water supply, electricity, health.

Despite making several public policies for bringing progress to people what fails them is inefficiency and corruption at the level of delivery. Lack of accountability and reliability in delivery of public goods and services poses problem for citizens who as a result fail to avail themselves of basic amenities and standard of life and hence lose out on development. Therefore, in response to tackle such widespread corruption and lethargy in public service delivery across India, the government had tabled ‘The Rights of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and redressal of their grievance bill 2011’ in parliament in 2012.

The bill is a step forward in the direction of removing the sluggishness which infests the public delivery system in India by introducing accountability and responsibility in governance. It will establish a mechanism in every department, organization or scheme having public interface under centre, state or Union Territory for timely delivery of public goods and services. In case of non-delivery and other malpractices, the bill allows the citizen to seek grievance redressal through making complaint at several levels thus creating the onus on public officers to assure provision of services and goods.

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