September 27, 2023
Two important threads are loosely woven into the vast fabric of governance: effective redressal of public grievances and effective handling of concerns of employees in both the public and private sectors. In this blog, we will explore the importance of adopting grievance redressal mechanisms to promote good governance and encourage equitable workplace development.
"Minimum Government, Maximum Governance "—this line from the Government of India speaks essentially of effective governance, Grievance Redressal Management (GRM). This is not just a bureaucratic program; it is the core of the vision to transform India into a country with functional and effective governance.
Complaint handling involves receiving, handling and resolving complaints from citizens and customers. It is an administrative system aimed at dealing with dissatisfaction by resolving grievances and problems. These complaints can include many factors ranging from service delivery problems, delays,transparency issues, discrimination, corruption and misconduct.
Trust is the foundation of every human relationship, and the breakdown of this trust often leads to resentment. In the civil service, the main difficulty is of service delivery problems. Identified grievance portals play an important role in registering and resolving grievances, thereby building trust in institutions,increasing service delivery and reducing dissatisfaction among citizens.
Timely resolution of grievances strengthens democracy which increases citizens’ trust in government, creates a sense of belonging, instils a sense of ownership among citizens. Complaints also provide valuable information in government policy, and that can work as a tool for monitoring and improving public policy.
Often government agencies appoint a Public Relations Officer (PRO) to receive complaints and initiate remediation. However, this system is sometimes ineffective due to lack of coordination over various authorities. To overcome this, Centralized Public Complaint Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) was developed which enables citizens to lodge complaints 24x7. CPGRAMS aims to enable ministries, agencies and organizations to monitor, track and issue processed reports (ATRs). The forum is being realigned with the National Complaints Redressal Framework, ensuring a more integrated approach.
Important offices such as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the President’s Secretariat are linked to CPGRAMS, enabling the prime minister to oversee it through the Proactive Governance-Timely Implementation (PRAGATI) platform that monitors critical public grievance policies.
Increased awareness and internet usage in India has increased the number of complaints registered on the CPGRAMS portal. Surprisingly, removal of complaints has also increased, indicating the effectiveness of the programme. A case study by the Quality Council of India (QCI) led to several successful reforms aimed at addressing chronic complaints.
Beyond public administration, effective complaint handling in the public and private sectors is equally important. Employees play a vital role in the success of an organization, and their grievances must be dealt quickly and effectively.
Workplace grievances can take a variety of forms, including individual or group concerns, union-related issues, or policy grievances. Effective strategies for dealing with employee grievances generally include initiating a grievance procedure,conducting an investigation, holding a grievance hearing, making appropriate decisions and taking appropriate actions.
An effective complaint handling system should adhere to the important principles of timely action, complaint acknowledgement, problem identification, fact gathering, cause investigation, decision making, management. This helps prevent minor disagreements from turning into major conflicts and helps towards improving employee retention.
Several laws in India deal with labor grievances, such as the Industrial Employment(Standing Orders) Act, 1946, the Factories Act, 1948, and the Model Grievance Procedure adopted by the Indian Labor Congress in 1958. This legislation provides a framework for dealing with employee grievances to ensure fairness in the workplace.
As India embraces e-governance, and higher education make people aware of civil rights, the demand for a better grievance redressal mechanism will only increase. The integration of CPGRAMS into national systems promises faster grievance redressal, and encourages more participatory and efficient governance. Ultimately, these strategies pave the way for a brighter future,where good governance and equal working relationships will be the norm.
2) GrievanceRedressal: A key to Good Governance - GS SCORE (iasscore.in)