(Online Course) Pub Ad for IAS Mains: Chapter: 14 (Significant Issues in Individual Administration) - Citizen and Administration Interface (Paper -2)

Paper - 2
Chapter: 14 (Significant Issues in Individual Administration)

Citizen and Administration Interface

"Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time" (Sir Winston Churchill).
Why should citizen be placed at the centre of modern public administration? Why citizen centric administration?

  1. Average citizen is concerned less with the convolutions of governance and politics, or the myriad structures and levels of government departments; than with obtaining rapid and equitable access to government services, whether "Regulatory or developmental or welfare oriented", preferably at his doorstep.
    That is why, stability, transparency, efficiency and continuity in the governance systems that the citizens are most immediately concerned with, is so necessary. That is why, our priority in India must be to place the citizen at the centre of a modern public administration. This is my idea of Inclusive Government.
    Example: Scams happened in NDA also but it lost because people felt economic insecurity and, false sense of shining India.

  2. Vision of our constitution is to create a welfare state and by implication, provide for creation of a citizen centric governance structure. Example: DPSP AND Fundamental rights
    The Commission has in this Report examined in detail the processes, mechanisms, strategies and best practices that can help us attain this objective.

Dear Candidate, This Material is from Public Administration Study Kit for Civil Services Main Examinations. For Details Click Here




The concepts of good governance and citizen centric administration are intimately connected. Following are the pre-requisites of citizen centric governance:

  1. Sound legal framework.

  2. Robust institutional mechanism for proper implementation of laws and their effective functioning. NCSCST, NHRC, Consumer Grievances Redressal mechanisms, the National Commission for the Child Welfare, NCPCR..

  3. Competent personnel staffing these institutions; and sound personnel management policies.

  4. Right policies for decentralization, delegation and accountability. CORE PRINICIPLES

Going beyond these necessary conditions, the Commission has outlined the following core principles for making governance citizen centric:

• Rule of Law - Zero tolerance strategy.
• Making institutions vibrant, responsive and accountable.
• Decentralization.
• Transparency.
• Civil Services Reforms.
• Ethics in Governance.
• Process Reforms.
• Periodic and independent evaluation of the quality of Governance.


'Fools and mechanisms, which can be usefully employed to make the administration citizen centric.
These are:

  1. Re-engineering processes to make governance 'citizen centric'.

  2. Adoption of Appropriate Modern Technology. (E-GOVERNANCE)

  3. Right to Information.

  4. Citizens' Charters.

  5. Independent evaluation of services- Monitoring and evaluation.

  6. Grievance redressed mechanisms.

  7. Active citizens' participation - Public-private partnerships.

As governance is primarily a series of service operations with the ultimate objective of maximizing citizens' welfare, use of management principles such as the Six Sigma concepts (data, focus on clients/citizens, quality) combined with Lean thinking (process flow, minimizing the costs of unnecessary complexity) can help to transform government service organizations into more efficient and citizen friendly agencies.


There have been a large number of reform measures - some at the macro level and others at the micro level - which have sought to bring administration closer to the people. These 3 include

  1. enacting laws giving certain rights to people,

  2. setting up of new institutional mechanisms to redress citizens' grievances.

  3. improving accessibility to citizens by setting up units closer to people.

  4. simplifying procedures to reduce bureaucratic delays.

  5. using technology to improve internal efficiency.

  6. rewarding government employees who perform well.

  7. improving discipline within the organization.

  8. reducing regulatory control.

  9. holding public contact programmes etc. Some of the generic reform initiatives are described in the following paragraphs.

Specific Examples:

CVC was set up by the Government of India in 1964.

  • Lokpal and Lokayukta

  • Citizens' Charters- finalization of Quality Management System Standard – ISO 15700: 2005 and also the new assessment-improvement model 'Sevottam'.

  • E-governance- internal and external

  • RTI


Good Governance and Citizen Centric Administration

Kautilya in his treatise Arthashastra elaborated the traits of the king of a well governed

States thus: "in the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness, in their welfare his welfare, whatever pleases himself he does not consider as good, but whatever pleases his subjects he considers as good".

Mahatma Gandhi had propounded the concept of 'Su-raj'.

Good governance has the following eight attributes which link it to its citizens2 .

The 4 pillars of which the edifice of good governance rests, in essence are:

  • Ethos (of service to the citizen),

  • Ethics (honesty, integrity and transparency),

  • Equity (treating all citizens alike with empathy for the weaker sections), and

  • Efficiency (speedy and effective delivery of service without harassment and using ICT increasingly).

Citizens are thus at the core of good governance. Therefore, good governance and citizen centric administration are inextricably linked.


  • Bureaucracy denotes routine and repetitive procedures, paper work and delays.

  • Secrecy in their dealings with public issues,

  • If exposed, they take refuge behind the protective wall of collective decision making in committees, which cannot be brought to book.

  • They lack integrity and honesty.

  • Rigidities of the system over centralization of powers,

  • Highly hierarchical and top down method of functioning with a large number of intermediary levels delaying finalization of any decision,

  • Divorce of authority from accountability and

  • The tendency towards micromanagement, have led to a structure in which form is more important than substance and procedures are valued over end results and outcomes.

  • Non-performance of the administrative structures, poor service quality and lack of responsiveness, and

  • The subjective and negative abuse of authority have eroded trust in governance systems which needs to be restored urgently.

  • Ineffective grievance redressal mechanism

E-seva in Andhra Pradesh (use of technology), Rogi Kalyan Samiti in Madhya Pradesh (accountability to people) hold great potential. It is high time that we link Outlays to Outcomes- We can draw valuable lessons from the British experiment of having public service agreements (PSAs) - with local governments under which objective and measurable targets for various services are fixed together with an evaluation mechanism. The funds are allocated to local governments on the basis of their achievement on PSAs.


  • Attitudinal Problems of the Civil Servants- indifference and insensitivity, asymmetry in the wielding of power at all levels, perceive themselves as dispensing favours to citizens rather than serving them

  • Lack of Accountability- Seldom are disciplinary proceedings initiated because at most levels authority is divorced from accountability, Cumbersome disciplinary procedures, safeguards provided to civil servants, - which were well intentioned - have often been misused, performance evaluation systems within government have not been effectively structured.

  • Red Tapism- adhere to rules and procedures which are, of course, important for good governance, these rules and procedures are ab-initio ill conceived and cumbersome, view these as an end in themselves-- often the root cause of corruption.

  • Low levels of Awareness of the Rights and Duties of Citizens- prevents citizens from holding erring government servants to account

  • Ineffective Implementation of Laws and Rules- erode the faith of the citizenry in the government machinery
    Prerequisites, core principles and Tools and Mechanisms have been mentioned above required for good governance.


For the sake of present analysis, the functions of a government could be broadly categorized as follows:

A. Regulatory functions
B. Service providing functions
C. Developmental functions.


Constitution which empower the Union and State Legislatures to make laws on various subjects, Article 19 of the Constitution empowers the State to impose reasonable restrictions.

The State enacts laws which impose restrictions on the activities of citizens, in the larger interest of society-- creates a large number of organizations which are charged with the implementation of these laws. However, attaining 'optimum regulation' is a challenging task -- Individual's freedom versus Society's interest. But sometimes overregulation and under regulation areaes problem


Variety of services to citizens ranging from social services like education and health to infrastructures services like power, road, transport and water etc.

Need for centralized control to decentralized action, from accountability to the State department to accountability to the local communities and from employment guarantee to service guarantee.

Single Window System for Delivery of Services - CSCs,'single window' approach is a simple concept, its implementation requires thorough business process re-engineering in government organizations, aided by the use of ICT.


  • principle of subsidarity should be adopted in implementing various programmes.

  • While doing so, citizens should be involved in all stages of these progranunes and

  • social audit should be made mandatory for all developmental programmes.

  • Impact assessment should be carried out for all programmes at periodic intervals.


  • The Citizens' Charter is an instrument which seeks to make an organization transparent, accountable and citizen friendly.

  • Basically a set of commitments made by an organization regarding the standards of service which it delivers

  • Several essential components—

  • Vision and Mission Statement of the organization,

  • Must state clearly what subjects it deals with and the service areas

  • Stipulate the responsibilities of the citizens in the context of the charter.

  • Even though these promises are not enforceable in a court of law, each organization should ensure that the promises made are kept and, in case of default, a suitable compensatory/remedial mechanism should be provided.

  • Basic thrust of Citizens' Charter is to make public services citizen centric by ensuring that these services are demand driven rather than supply driven.

The Citizens' Charter will raise quality, increase choice, secure better value and extend accountability.


The Citizens' Charter, when introduced in the early 19 90's, represented a landmark shift in the delivery of public services. The emphasis of the Citizens' Charter is on citizens as customers of public services. The Citizens' Charter scheme in its present form was first launched in 1991 in the UK.


i. Set standards of service;
ii. Be open and provide full information ;
iii. Consult and involve;
iv. Encourage access and promote choice;
v. Treat all fairly;
vi. Put things right when they go wrong;
vii. Use resources effectively;
viii. Innovate and improve; and
ix. Work with other providers.


The suggestion came up in 1996 in a National Debate for Responsive government commenced by government, got support from Chief Ministers' conference held in 1997 to formulate and operationalise Citizens' Charters at the Union and State Government levels in sectors which have large public interface such as Railways, Telecom, Post & Public Distribution Systems, Hospitals, and the Revenue & Electricity Departments. - e momentum for this was provided by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DAR&PG) in consultation with the Department for Consumer Affairs.


Citizens' Charters should be made effective by adopting the following principles:

  1. One size does not fit all- Horizontal (dept wise) and vertical (local-top level, formulation of Citizens' Charters should be a decentralized activity with the head office providing broad guidelines

  2. Citizens' Charter should be prepared for each independent unit under the overall umbrella of the organisations' charter¬

  3. Wide consultation which include Civil Society in the process- in preparation of the Garters, their dissemination and also facilitating information disclosures

  4. Firms commitments to be made- Citizens' Charters must be precise and make firm commitments of service delivery in quantifiable terms wherever possible

  5. Internal processes and structure should be reformed to meet the commitments given in the Charter

  6. Redressal mechanism in case of default

  7. Periodic evaluation of Citizens' Charters- preferably through an external agency.

  8. Benchmark using end-user feedback.- can be a timely aid to assess the progress and outcome s of an-agency that has implemented a Citizens' Charter.

  9. fold offiers accountable for results- need to make the heads of agencies or other
    designated senior officials accountable for their respective Citizens' Charters.


  • is a Service Delivery Excellence Model which provides an assessment¬improvement framework to bring about excellence in public service delivery.

  • The need for a tool like Sevottam arose from the fact that Citizens' Charters by themselves could not achieve the desired results in improving quality of public services.

  • Besides, the absence of a credible grievances redressal mechanism within organizations was also becoming a major impediment in improving service delivery standards.

  • Thus, it was felt at unless there is a mechanism to assess the outcomes of various measures, the reform initiatives would not yield the desired results.

  • works as an evaluation mechanism to assess the quality of internal processes and their impact on the quality o service • e every

The Sevottam model has three modules

  • The first component of the model requires effective Charter implementation thereby opening up a channel for receiving citizens' inputs into the way in which organizations determine service delivery requirements. Citizens' Charters publicly declare the information on citizens' entitlements thereby making citizens better informed and hence empowering them to demand better services.

  • The second component of the model, 'Public Grievance Redress' requires a good citizen grievance redressal system operating in a manner that leaves the citizen more satisfied with how the organization responds to complaints/grievances, irrespective of the final decision.

  • The third component 'Excellence in Service Delivery', postulates that an organization can have an excellent performance in service delivery only if it is efficiently managing well the key ingredients for good service delivery and building its own capacity to continuously improve service delivery.

The Commission has studied the Sevottam model and is of the view that it is a step in the right direction. However, it would require further strengthening and refinement. As of now it is a voluntary initiative. Also, the focus is largely process standards rather than-service standards. The Commission is of the view that while good internal processes are necessary or better services, these by themselves may not be sufficient.Therefore, there is need to focus on better quality of service. This could be achieved within the existing Sevottam framework by shifting the emphasis from processes to quality of service

The IS 15700:2005 of the Bureau of Indian Standards is an Indian Standard for Quality Management Systems. Standard itself stipulates that a Quality Management System helps an organization to build systems which enable it to provide quality service consistently and is not a substitute for 'service standards' In fact, the complementary to each other.

Sevottam model

(i) seeks to assess an organization implementation of the Citizens Chart
(ii) implementation of grievances redressed system and
(iii) service delivery capability.


Citizens' participation in governance embodies a shift in the development paradigm from citizens as the recipients of development to one that views them as active participants in the development process.

Equally, it involves a shift from a "top-down" to a "bottom-up"

The concept of citizens' participation in governance is essentially based on the premise that citizens have a legitimate role in influencing decision making processes that affect their lives, their businesses and their communities.

direct citizens' participation in governance is seen as contributing to a healthy democracy as it improves upon traditional form of representative democracy to transform it into more responsive and thus a participative grassroots democracy.

participation as a democratic right that should be promoted in all development projects


  1. It enables citizens to demand accountability and helps to make government more responsive, efficient and effective.

  2. It helps to make government programmes and services more effective and sustainable.

  3. It enables the poor and marginalized to influence public policy and service delivery to improve their lives.

  4. It helps to promote healthy, grassroots democracy citizens' participation in governance could be conceptualized in the following main forms:
    i) Citizens seeking information;
    ii) Citizens giving suggestions,
    iii) Citizens demanding better services;
    iv) Citizens holding service providers and other government agencies accountable; and
    v) Active citizens' participation in administration/decision making.

Eg. Social Audit.
Giving citizens on-going access to the decision-making process, beyond periodic consultations is a more mature and intensive from of citizens' participation. The Nagaland Communisation of Public Institutions and Services Act in 2002- The first important feature of the Act was to provide for the constitution of Boards or committees to represent the community which uses the particular facility set up by the government in the area of education, health and sanitation, water supply and so on. The second delegation comprised powers and functions of the state government to such authorities to manage such public utilities, transfer of government assets to such board, creation of fund for sech authorities to which salary and other grants from the government would be credited for running and development of those utilities and imposition of responsibility on the government to provide to such authorities critical supervisory and supportive assistance. Examples of such participation would include participatory municipal budgeting, allowing citizens to vote directly through a referendum on specific proposals for changes in public policies, projects and laws; mandatory public hearings before approval of projects or decisions such as changes in land use plans, that affect the environment and/or the local community, giving citizens' representation on management committees for local hospitals and schools, social audit, empowering the Gram Sabha to decide on issues of implementation in government welfare schemes etc.

The first three forms of citizens' participation can be setup using IT infrastructure and creating a for where public and administration can interact but the last two types of citizens' participation would require creation of institutional mechanisms perhaps backed by law or government resolutions for encouraging citizens' participation in governance. Examples of such mechanisms ranging from the Gram Sabha to the representation of local residents/stakeholders in the management committees of local schools and hospitals etc have been mentioned earlier. Nagaland's "communitization" initiative for empowering local communities to manage services like education, electricity and water supply (details in the accompanying box) is a significant home grown experiment that effectively involves citizens in governance.

Following steps are necessary to create institutionalized mechanisms for encouraging their participation in governance across public agencies at all levels:

A comprehensive review of policy and practice in each department/public agency Modifying administrative procedures where necessary:

Entrustment of the function of institutionalizing citizens' participation in governance to a senior level officer.
Performance management reviews to incorporate effectiveness in ensuring citizens' participation in governance.


  1. It should be mandatory or all organizations to develop a suitable mechanism for receipt of suttestionss from citizens, which could range from the simple 'Suggestion Box' to periodic consultations with citizens' groups. Heads of the concerned organizations should ensure rigorous follow up action on the suggestions received so that these become a meaningful exercise. A system of incentives and rewards should be introduced so that suggestions that lead to significant improvement or savings can be acknowledged.

  2. Every government organization must ensure the following: (i) fool-proof system for registration of all complaints, (ii) a prescribed time schedule for response and resolution, and (iii) a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure that the norms, prescribed are complied with. Use of tools _information technology can help to make such a system more accessible for citizens. Heads of all government organizations should be made responsible for ensuring the development of such a system for responding to a time bound resolution of the complaints of citizens.

  3. Regular citizens' feedback and survey and citizens' report cards should be evolved by all government organisations for gauging citizens' responses to their services. ese should be used as inputs for improving organizational efficiency.

  4. While no single modality or mechanism can be prescribed for encouraging citizens' participation in governance; in general, there is need to create institutionalized mechanisms for encouragiag their participation in governance across public agencies at all levels and, for this to happen, the following steps are necessary:
    i. A comprehensive review of policy and practice in each department/ public agency.
    ii. Modifying administrative procedures where necessary.
    iii. Entrustment of the function of institutionalizing citizens' participation in governance to a senior level officer.
    iv. Performance management reviews to incorporate effectiveness in ensuring citizens' participation in governance.
    e. The objective could also be served by active and cooperative participation by government agencies in civil society initiatives in the area of citizens' participation in grievance redressal


The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'subsidiarity' as the principle that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.

Decentralisation is defined as:

"the transfer of decision making power and assignment of accountability and responsibility for results. It is accompanied by delegation of commensurate authority to individuals or units at all levels of an organization-even those for removed from headquarters or other centers of power"

"the spread of power away from the center to local branches or governments'

Any organization - be it government or private - cannot be termed as totally centralized or decentralized. There are some functions or activities which are best performed when centralized while certain functions yield better results when performed in a decentralized setting.

It includes political decentralization, fiscal decentralization and administrative decentralization. The "new public management" which emerged in the 1990s in some developed countries gave a new perspective to the subject of decentralization. In their book 'Reinventing Government' David Osborne and Ted Gaebler put forth a view that governments should be creative, market oriented, decentralized, and focused on offering their "customers" the highest quality services. They advocated that governments should "steer rather than row" and facilitate and ensure service provision rather than itself undertaking service delivery. This could be achieved by deregulating and privatizing those activities that could be carried out by the private sector or even by citizens' groups.

The Commission in its Sixth Report on 'Local Governance' has examined the issues of political decentralization to the local governments and their financial empowerment and made wide ranging recommendations. In this Report, the Commission would focus on administrative decentralization.

  • Administrative decentralization is often referred to as delegation.

  • Delegation is primarily about entrusting one's authority to others- can take decisions and act independently.

  • They also assume responsibility for their actions.

  • At the same time, the person delegating authority continues to be accountable for the actions of those to whom authority has been delegated.

  • Chester Barnard first enunciated the principle of delegation in the context of effective administration; however, delegation has not been widely accepted and used in public administration. This may be because delegation of authority is immensel challeging supervisors, because it involves effective communication, motivation, goal setting and behaviour modification.

  • The principle of subsidiarity should be followed while deciding on the extent of delegation.

  • The extent to which delegated powers is used or is allowed to be used, should be two of the elements while appraising an officer's overall performance


The basic principle of a grievance redressal system is that if the promised level of service delivery is not achieved or if a right of a citizen is not honoured then the citizen should be able to take recourse to a mechanism to have the grievance redressed.

Grievances from the public are received at various points in different Ministries/ Departments in the Government of India. However, there are primarily two designated nodal agencies in is grit handling these grievances. These agencies are:

Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions. Directorate of Public Grievances, Cabinet Secretariat.
There are several Constitutional and statutory institutions which look into complaints filed by citizens.


Apart from that Banking Ombudsman, Insurance Ombudsman, Electricity Ombudsman, Telecom- Nodal officer, appellate authority, CPGRAMS is a web enabled application and can be accessed by Ministries/Departments/Organizations (www.pgportal.nic.in.)


  1. There is need for a strong and effective internal grievance redressal mechanism in each organization.

  2. The Union and State Governments should issue directions asking all public authorities to designate public grievance officers on the lines of the-Public Information Officers tinder the RTI Act. These officers should he of adequate seniority and should be delegated commensurate authority

  3. All grievance petitions received should be satisfactorily disposed of by these officers within thirty days. Non-adherence to the time limit should invite financial penalties.

  4. Each organization organization should designate an appellate authority and devolve adequate powers upon them including the power to impose fines on the defaulting officers.

  5. Government organizations should analyse the complaints received and identify the areas wherein interventions would be required so as to eliminate the underlying causes that lead to public grievances. - is exercise should be carried out at regular intervals.

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