2. What purpose do citizen charters serve? Is it effective in India? Critically comment.
नागरिक चार्टर क्या उद्देश्य पूर्ण करते हैं? क्या यह भारत में प्रभावी है? समलोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।
The citizen’s charter is a written, voluntary declaration by service providers about their service standards, choice, accessibility, non-discrimination, transparency and accountability. It should be in accord with the expectations of citizen. Therefore, it is a useful way of defining with the stakeholders what service should be and what standards to expect.
Purpose of citizen charter:
Purpose of Citizens’ Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.
Six principles of the Citizens’ Charter movement as originally framed were:
- Quality: Improving the quality of services.
- Choice: Wherever possible.
- Standards: Specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met.
- Value: For the taxpayers’ money.
- Accountability: Individuals and Organisations.
- Transparency: Rules/ Procedures/ Schemes/Grievances.
Effectiveness of citizen charter’s:
Benefits of citizen’s charter happened in India:
- It increases organizational effectiveness and performance by making a public commitment to adhere to measurable service delivery standards.
- It creates a way for both internal and external actors to objectively monitor service delivery performance.
- It creates a more professional and client-responsive environment for service delivery.
- It fosters improvements in staff morale.
- It decreases opportunities for corruption and graft by increasing transparency and educating citizens about their rights.
- It increases government revenues by ensuring that the money citizens pay for services goes into the government’s coffer
Citizen’s Charters have currently been in place in India for more than a decade. In 2006, the DARPG website listed 767 charters drafted by various government agencies around the country. Introduction and implementation of the concept of Citizens’ Charter in the Government of India was much more difficult due to the old bureaucratic set up/procedures and the rigid attitudes of the work force.
The major obstacles encountered in this initiative were:
- The general perception of organisations which formulated Citizens’ Charters was that the exercise was to be carried out because there was a direction from the top. The consultation process was minimal or largely absent. It thus became one of the routine activities of the organisation and had no focus.
- For any Charter to succeed the employees responsible for its implementation should have proper training and orientation, as commitments of the Charter cannot be expected to be delivered by a work force that is unaware of the spirit and content of the Charter. However, in many cases, the concerned staff were not adequately trained and sensitised.
- Sometimes, transfers and reshuffles of concerned officers at the crucial stages of formulation/implementation of a Citizens’ Charter in an organisation severely undermined the strategic processes which were put in place and hampered the progress of the initiative.
- Awareness campaigns to educate clients about the Charter were not conducted systematically.
- In some cases, the standards/time norms of services mentioned in Citizens’ Charter were either too lax or too tight and were, therefore, unrealistic and created an unfavourable impression on the clients of the Charter.
- The concept behind the Citizens’ Charter was not properly understood. Information brochures, publicity materials, pamphlets produced earlier by the organisations were mistaken for Citizens’ Charters.
So the effectiveness is minimal due to lack of awareness among the citizens and there is no legal back up for these services made them toothless tool to the citizens and the governance still need to be improved, the aspirations of people have gone up and government cannot run away from its responsibility.
Therefore, with effective implementation strategy, simplified meticulous design and deployment of enthusiastic staff and with adequate awareness campaigns, possible external audits we can achieve the desired results.
Best Answer: Siddharth