Govt rejected grievance law in 2008, pays 'price' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt rejected grievance law in 2008, pays 'price'

The ambitious Citizens Right to Grievance Redress Bill set to be introduced in Parliament during the winter session could have come two years earlier, if the government had gone by the advice of the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

delhi Updated: Nov 02, 2011 23:30 IST
Aloke Tikku

The ambitious Citizens Right to Grievance Redress Bill set to be introduced in Parliament during the winter session could have come two years earlier, if the government had gone by the advice of the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

The committee on personnel had asked the government to enact a law for grievance redressal in October 2008 to ensure that departments that receive grievances from the public take the complaints to their logical end.

The UPA-1 government, however, rejected the recommendation, telling Parliament that the report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission that had not favoured a statutory backing for the grievance redressal mechanism within the government.

On Wednesday, the government fielded minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh to unveil the first draft of the grievance redressal bill.

Both argued that the proposed legislation was a promise made in the Congress manifesto for the Lok Sabha general elections, and denied that the government had been spurred into action by Anna Hazare's threats to launch another fast.

But there were no answers on why else the UPA felt the need for a nationwide law now, especially after it informed Parliament that it had not accepted the parliamentary panel's recommendation for the law only for the Centre in December 2009.

Incidentally, the basic framework of the grievance redressal law - proposed in 2008 - and the version announced on Wednesday, was the same. Both versions drew heavily on the mechanism adopted to implement the Right to Information Act as well as the concept of penalties.

Incidentally, the 2008 report by the standing committee, headed by EM Sudarsana Natchiappan, then a Congress MP, wasn't the first time that the panel had made this recommendation.

"The Committee is of the view that public service delivery system is inefficient unless it caters to the needs and issues of the common man. In order to assuage the concerns of the people regarding the efficiency of public services, it is pertinent that their grievances are redressed promptly," the panel's report said.