“You just ask for it, we have it.” No, this is not a line from a retail store’s promo. It is the catchline that keeps the government offices in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district buzzing.
The youngest district in Kerala will also become the first to earn an ISO certification for quality service to the public. It has come at a good time, too. The district, formed in 1982, is in the thick of jubilee celebrations.
“A team of the Bureau of Indian Standards was here last week to oversee the guidelines for ISO certification. The team has submitted its report to its director-general, recommending ISO 9000-2001 certification for maintaining an excellent system at various offices, right from the village office to the collectorate,” District Collector Raju Narayana Swamy said.
The main task before the revenue administration was ensuring smooth internal auditing in various offices. Once the government staff members were sensitised and trained, there was no looking back.
“Improving service delivery was our main thrust. Once we started delivering without delay, we began injecting qualitative changes in the system,” Swamy, who spearheaded the demolition drive in the hill resort of Munnar, said.
The idea for quality improvement was first conceived by Swamy’s predecessor Ashok Kumar Singh. Started last January, it found support in Swamy.
Whether it is getting a certificate, a matter of revenue recovery, internal auditing or social issues, all programmes and policies have to be over within a deadline.
Periodic training and sensitisation modules have been given to the staff to help them meet targets. A “quality policy” has also evolved and staff members wear policy statement cards showing the objectives and deadlines of the programme they are involved in.
“Last week, I applied for a title deed in Thiruvalla municipality,” said John Samuel, a resident of Thiruvalla. “I was surprised to get a call the other day saying it was ready.”
Like they say: you just ask for it, they have it.