Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Studies Called For on Citizen Grievance Redressal Mechanisms

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which looks after the civic government of the national capital territotory of Delhi (NCTD) in India, covering important aspects of a citizen's life like primaryeducation, public health, sanitation, community services, etc. hasrecently set up an online public grievance redressal system (PGRS) at

Mukherjee* reports, quoting MCD sources, that 220 people have already registerd their complaints online. This, she says, despite the fact that the corporation is yet to formally launch the system and publicise it among people. According to her the top three grievancesof citizens pertain to 1. Property tax (17 percent), 2. Sanitation(13 percent) and 3. Engineering Department (12.2 percent). Once thePGRS is formally launched and publicised, a large number of grievances are likely to be filed online, some genuine, some not so, some frivolous and some no doubt also making valuable suggestions or providing valuable feedback too.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) must be congratulated for taking this timely initiative in e-governance, particularly in G2C and C2G (government-to-citizens and citizens-to-government) domains where the governance matters most to citizens. The services of theBangalore-based eGovernments Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which set up the PGRS free-of-cost also need to be appreciated.

However, important issues arise which desrve closer look. First, how to cope with an avlanche of online grievances with a built-intracking system? Secondly, how to sift the genuine grievances of thecitizens from the frivolous or dilatory grievances? Thirdly, how to set up a grievance redressal system for the citizens who despitepaying heavy taxes do not get any commensurate service from the civic bodies in return? Lastly, which is better from the administrative point of view: online grievance redressal or offline grievanceredressal? Some studies are urgently called for to aid and advise theMCD in this initiative in e-governance which will no doubt prove equally useful to other public-dealing institutions.

Dr D.C.Misra
February 8, 2005.
*Mukherjee, Anuradha, TNN (2005): Property tax tops MCD onlinegrievance redressal list, The Times of India, New Delhi, February 8,Tuesday, p-4, available (registration required)

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