Giving two hoots to the directions of ministry of home affairs (MHA), a large number of departments of the Chandigarh administration have not framed their citizen charter, which aims at improving the quality of public services and bringing accountability.
There are around 55 departments, of which around 25 have taken trouble in complying with the directions and uploading their respective citizen charter on the official website of the Chandigarh administration (chandigarh.gov.in/citizen_char.htm).
In November 2012, the MHA had directed the administration for framing citizen charter for every department, letting the general public know the structure of each department, how one can approach its officials, what to expect by way of services and how one can seek a remedy if something goes wrong.
For formulating effective charters, the administration was also provided with the guidelines issued by the department of administrative reforms and public grievances (DARPG) on framing the charters as well as a list of dos and don'ts.
In their respective charter, the departments were required to provide information such as services being covered, time frame for delivery, details of business transacted, grievance redress mechanism, vision and mission statement and expectations from residents.
Subsequently, all departments were asked to prepare their citizen charter and upload it on the official website of the administration by January 15, 2013. Some of the departments which complied with the directions include excise and taxation, estate office, Chandigarh Housing Board, education, health and police.
Advocate-cum-activist Ajay Jagga said the ministry of personnel and public grievances had made citizen charter mandatory across the country and it was surprising that most of the departments have not framed their respective charters.
He further added, "If successfully implemented, the charter can enable in improving service delivery, greater responsiveness of officials towards the public and greater public satisfaction with services."
Federation of Sector Welfare Association Chandigarh chairman PC Sanghi, who has been taking up the issue with the administration, said, "The lack of citizen charter in all departments shows how serious is the administration in bringing transparency and accountability in functioning of its departments."
When contacted, UT adviser KK Sharma said, "Some departments do not have their own websites, hence their citizen charters cannot be hyperlinked with the administration's portal. However, soon their charters will be made available on the administration's website for which the process is underway."
Benefits of citizen charter
Improving the quality of services
Specifying what to expect and how to act if standards are not met
Components of citizen charter of a dept
Vision and mission statement
Details of business transacted by the department
Details of services provided to each client group
Details of grievance redressal mechanism and how to access it
Expectations from the public