(GIST OF YOJANA) Citizen Charter
(GIST OF YOJANA) Citizen Charter
Basic Concept. Origin and Principles
- The three essential aspects emphasised in good governance are transparency, accountability and responsiveness of the administration.
- Citizens’ Charters initiative is a response to the quest for solving the problems which a citizen encounters, day in and day out, while dealing with the organisations providing public services.
- The concept of Citizens’ Charter enshrines the trust between the service provider and its users.
- The concept was first articulated and implemented in the UK by the in 1991 as a National Programme with a simple aim: to continuously improve the quality of public services for the people of the country so that these services respond to the needs and wishes of the users.
- The basic objective of the Citizens Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.
Six principles of the Citizens Charter movement:
- (i) Quality: Improving the quality of services;
- (ii) Choice: Wherever possible;
- (iii) Standards: Specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met;
- (iv) Value: For the taxpayer’s money;
- (v) Accountability: Individuals and Organisations; and
- (vi) Transparency: Rules/Procedures/Schemes/Grievances.
These were later elaborated by the Labour Government as following nine principles of Service Delivery (1998):
- Set standards of service;
- Be open and provide full information;
- Consult and involve;
- Encourage access and the promotion of choice;
- Treat all fairly;
- Put things right when they go wrong;
- Use resources effectively;
- Innovate and improve;
- Work with other providers.
The International Scene:
- The UK’s Citizens’ Charter initiative aroused considerable interest around the world and several countries implemented similar Programmes e.g. Australia (Service Charter, 1997), Belgium (Public Service Users’ Charter 1992), Canada (Service Standards Initiative, 1995), France (Service Charter, 1992), India (Citizens’ Charter, 1997), Jamaica (Citizens’ Charter 1994), Malaysia (Client Charter,1993), Portugal (The Quality Charter in Public Services, 1993), and Spain (The Quality Observatory, 1992) (OECD, 1996).
The Indian Scene:
- Since 1996, a consensus had evolved in the Government on effective and responsive administration.
- In a Conference of Chief Ministers of various States and Union Territories held on 24 May, 1997 in New Delhi, presided over by the Prime Minister, an ‘Action Plan for Effective and Responsive Government at the Centre and State levels was adopted.
- One of the major decisions at that Conference was that the Central and State Governments
- would formulate Citizens Charters, starting with those sectors that have a large public interface (e.g. Railways, Telecom, Posts, Public Distribution Systems). These Charters were required to include standards of service and time limits that the public can reasonably expect, avenues of grievance redress and a provision for independent scrutiny with the involvement of citizen and consumer groups.
- Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in Government of India (DARPG) initiated the task of coordinating, formulating and operationalising Citizens Charters. Guidelines for formulating the Charters as well as a list of do’s and don’ts were communicated to various government departments/organisations to enable them to bring out focused and effective charters.
- For the formulation of the Characters, the government agencies at the Centre and State levels were advised to constitute a task force with representation from users, senior management and the cutting-edge staff.
The charters are expected to incorporate the following elements:
- (i) Vision and Mission Statement;
- (ii) Details of business transacted by the organisation;
- (iii) Details of clients;
- (iv) Details of services provided to each client group;
- (v) Details of grievance redress mechanism and how to access it; and
- (vi) Expectations from the clients.
- The implementation of citizen charter is an ongoing exercise because it has to reflect the extensive and continental changes taking place in the domain of public services.
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