Note: This is the text of the complaint submitted to the Petitions Committee of Kerala Legislative Assembly which held a sitting at Palakkad on 20 Jan 2012. The complaints at para 1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8 and 1.9 can be viewed at the following blogs:
BEFORE THE PETITIONS COMMITTEE OF THE KERALA STATE LEGISLATURE
SITTING AT PALAKKAD ON 20 JAN 2012.
DELIVERING GOVERNMENT SERVICES TO CITIZENS
1. Kerala has the dubious reputation of being one of the most corrupt states in a country which is itself notorious as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. But what I have experienced in the last few years of my stay in this state is that not only is corruption rampant here but there is no sign of any positive governance whatsoever. Right from refusal to provide receipts for documents handed over to any public authority to taking any effective action on complaints submitted to the ministers and even the Governor of the State, the citizens are being taken for a ride by the authorities. In this context I invite your attention to the following complaints I have submitted at various points of time:
1.1. Comp-ker gov-office procedures-190411 dated 19 Apr 2011 to the Governor of Kerala (copy attached)
1.2. Comp/cmk-kscdrc-070507 dated 07 May 2007 to the CM of Kerala
1.3. Comp/cmk-ksic-070507 dated 07 May 2007 to the CM of Kerala
1.4. Comp/cmk-cdrf pkd-031007 dated 03 Oct 2007 to the CM of Kerala
1.5. Comp/CMK-120110 dated 12 Jan 2010 to the CM of Kerala
1.6. Comp/minofcs ker-cdrfpkd n kscdrc-080111 dated 08 Jan 2011 to the Minister for Food & Civil Supplies, Consumer Protection etc
1.7. Comp/cm contpgm-consumer-221111 dated 22 Nov 2011 to the CM of Kerala
1.8. Comp/cm contpgm-distadm-221111 22 Nov 2011 to the CM of Kerala
1.9. Comp/cm contpgm-ksic-221111 dated 22 Nov 2011 to the CM of Kerala
I have attached only the copy of the complaint to the Governor. It is complete in itself and the other complaints I have quoted only reinforce the allegations contained in that complaint. And obviously the Committee should be able to access these documents also if it seriously investigates this petition. But my experience is that practically no action is taken (and the clerks have a wonderful term for disposing of such complaints- lodged! Atleast that is what is written on the noting sheets of complaints submitted to the Governor!) and even when information is sought under the RTI Act about it, the response is either that it is not traceable or that it has been sent to the concerned department for further action- almost akin to the public apprehending a thief and handing him over to the police with a complaint and the police telling the thief ‘now you dispose of this complaint too’!
2. Aren’t the webcasting of the CM’s office and the CM’s Jansamparka paripadi just gimmicks? Can anyone make us wise on what is sought to be achieved by webcasting the CM’s office? Are we to believe that even if the CM accepts bribe he will do it in his office and that too in front of web cameras?
3. The Janasamparka paripadi is another farce being perpetuated on the hapless citizens. Tens of thousands of complaints are collected and distributed amoung the same delinquent/corrupt officials for their response and these responses are routed back to the aggrieved citizens! People have been brought to the venue on stretchers! But did even they get justice? May be a few of them did but definitely not the majority. And even the few who apparently did cannot be said to have been given justice unless the official who had forced them to this nasty situation had been taken to task for his/her dereliction of duty. I know of people who had waited till midnight and officials had practically driven them out asking them to meet them in the same offices that have been sending them in circles for months, if not years, on end! And the CM was given the impression that he was leaving the venue after the last applicant/complainant had been attended to! Of course the media can tom-tom it the way the CM and his coterie would love to but the truth also travels fast enough! And just by the way, an RTI application seeking the expenses incurred and the source of funds revealed that there had been no funds allotted and the various tasks had been allotted to various departments like PWD, Water Authority, taluk offices etc! And you, I mean the people in government, want the citizens to believe that these departments/authorities have pooled their monthly pay packets and got these tasks done?
4. Just to capture the requirement of this petition in the briefest terms, the list below will suffice.
4.1. Ensure that every document handed over to every public authority is acknowledged. In this context I would suggest that the Janasevana Kendram model be replicated for providing a single window system for accepting all applications/complaints/petitions from citizens and for providing them receipts. The receipt number should be used as reference for further correspondence and the receipt should contain the following details: the name of the applicant/complainant/petitioner, the subject, the official responsible for disposing it and the tentative date by which the applicant/complainant/petitioner would receive the response. This data should be uploaded to a common website at state level at least once in 24 hours, if not in real time. The Jansevana Kendrams should be established at all village office/gram panchayat levels.
4.2. Along with the receipt a feedback form (postage pre paid) should be given to the applicant/complainant/petitioner to send a feedback to a nodal monitoring cell at the state level about the timeliness and quality of the response to the application/complaint/petition. This should be compiled and used to evaluate the performance of the public servant concerned and have a bearing on his/her promotions.
4.3. As in the case of RTI Act, a time frame-not more than 15 days-must be prescribed for final disposal of all applications/complaints/petitions. An extension of 7 days may be provided in certain cases but such cases should not exceed 10 percent of the total cases and the reasons for the delay should be intimated to the superior officer as well as the applicant/complainant/petitioner. Any delay more than this or in cases of more than 10 percent should invite penalties on the employee concerned. For the 1st three occasions it should be monitory, then administrative action and in the worst cases dismissal. The monitory penalties should be deterrent and 50 percent of it should be given to the affected applicant/complainant/petitioner as compensation. Also jumping the queue in the matter of disposing cases must also be viewed as corruption, except in cases that should be specified like senior citizen, pregnant/nursing women etc, and should invite penalties.
4.4. There should be a monitoring cell attached to the CM’s office to monitor the performance of the various quasi judicial organisations in the State and to accept complaints about them from aggrieved citizens. Today with all honesty it can be said that most, if not all, (this expression is used almost in a concessional manner to cover the grey areas, if any, in my own knowledge about these organizations; but purely from my experience, it would definitely be ‘all’ and never ‘most’!) these organizations are worse than fly by night operators. They are definitely a waste of taxpayers’ money.
4.5. The selection process for appointment to the quasi judicial organizations should be made totally transparent with well defined procedures which can be monitored by the citizens through web based information systems.
Submitted at Palakkad this 20th day of Jan 2012.
(P M Ravindran)
2/18, ‘Athira’, Kalpathy
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org