Grievance Redress Bill to bring accountability
New Delhi: Every Ministry and department of the government will have to address people`s complaints within 15 days failing which action will be taken against the officer concerned, according to the provision of a new bill that is likely to be tabled in Parliament this week.
Under the Citizens Right to Grievance Redress Bill, 2011, cleared by the Cabinet recently, the government plans to set up a grievance redressal mechanism to tackle graft in the lower ranks of administration, a move that comes against the backdrop of Team Anna`s anti-corruption campaign.
A charter, which will form part of the legislation, also seeks to make it mandatory for government officials to acknowledge complaints from the public within 24 hours of receipt, sources said.
The Bill seeks to cover all the schemes and departments of the Central government and provide a platform to the state governments to implement a similar mechanism for their schemes, they said.
The draft makes it compulsory for every ministry and department to act within 15 days on complaints from the public, failing which an appeal could be filed with a higher authority. This authority will have to dispose of the appeal within 30 days.
The Bill also seeks to impose a penalty on the grievance redressal officer if any complaint is not addressed in a stipulated timeframe. The penalty could be anything up to Rs 50,000.
The law will set up a mechanism similar to the Right to Information Act, and seek to have a "citizens` charter" to deal with public grievances.
Under the proposed law, every public authority will have to designate a Grievance Redress Officer (GRO) right from the block level up to the Central government.
The GRO will receive and act on grievances from the public on services that they are entitled to under any law or government policy, and if he believes that the public servant responsible has wilfully neglected to deliver the goods or services, he can recommend action under Prevention of Corruption Act.
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