Model Panchayat Citizen's Charter
Recently, the Union Minister of Panchayati Raj has released a Model Panchayat Citizens Charter.
1. Model Panchayat Citizens Charter has been released by the Government of India. Explain the significance of the Model Charter and challenges in the implementation of the same.
About Model Panchayat Citizens Charter:
● It is prepared by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) in collaboration with the National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR).
● It is a document that represents the commitment of the Panchayat towards standard, quality and time frame of service delivery, grievance redressal mechanism, transparency and accountability.
● It has been developed for the delivery of the services across the 29 sectors, aligning actions with localised Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
● It is expected that the Panchayats will utilise this framework to draw up a Citizens Charter and adopt it through a resolution of the Gram Sabha by 15th August 2021. States were accordingly requested to draw up a time-bound plan of action.
● The basic objective of the ‘Gram Panchayat Citizens’ Charter is to empower the citizens concerning public services and improve service qualityon the lines of Citizens expectations.
● The creation of the Charter brings professionalism in Panchayat functioning and helps to reach out to all sections of the community without any discrimination.
● The standards committed by the Panchayats are useful yardsticks for monitoring and evaluation of service delivery.
● It will help in making the citizens aware of their rights on the one hand, and to make the Panchayats and their elected representatives directly accountable to the people, on the other hand.
It constitutes the third tier of government in the rural areas and represents the first level of Government interaction for over 60 per cent of the Indian populace. Panchayats are responsible for the delivery of basic services as enshrined under article 243G of the Constitution of India, specifically in the areas of Health & Sanitation, Education, Nutrition, Drinking Water.
Process of Preparation of ‘Gram Panchayat Citizens’ Charter’:
● The Citizens’ Charter is to be formulated by each Panchayat separately.
● For preparing the charter the Panchayats shall discuss the various services provided to the Citizens, the conditions Citizens shall have to fulfil for getting a service and the time limit of each service.
● The charter should include only those services that are delivered by the Panchayat on a regular basis. Simultaneously, the Panchayat should also decide the fee leviable for particular services.
The ‘Gram Panchayat Citizens’ Charter should include the following information:
Vision and Mission of the Panchayat
Service Standards / Procedure for obtaining services
● While the citizen charter is a step in the right direction, its effectiveness is questioned on many accounts. Often, the citizen charter is published in a difficult language that is not easily understandable by common village folk.
● The government servants often remain unenthusiastic about the charter and treat it as a formality.Many government departments are yet to upload their charters online, many lack dynamism and measurable standards.
● There is also low awareness among the people regarding the charter, and departments are reluctant in handing out punishments for incompliance with it.
Citizen Charter- Citizen Charter is a document of commitment of the organization towards the customers/user in respect of the standard of services, accessibility to information redressal of grievances courtesy in public services.
Significance of Citizen Charter:
● Citizens’ Charter ensures efficient delivery of public services as a means to an end, which is reflected in the welfare of the citizens. It is a means for promoting Good Governance through citizens’ participation in the administration.
● It has strengthened both the supply of (e.g., more customer-focused service delivery, clearly outlined performance standards) and demand for (e.g., increased citizens’ awareness about their rights) Good Governance. For e.g., Ahmedabad Jan Sewa Kendras.
● It helps the citizens to understand the type of services they can expect from a particular service provider.
● It ensures better service quality and grievance redressal systems in place for citizens.
● It makes the citizens aware of the intent of the service provider and helps in holding the organization accountable.
● Further, improved service delivery by making a public commitment to ensure the quality of services, use resources effectively and be fair and accessible to everyone and promote choice.
● It also decreased the opportunities for corruption and graft by increasing transparency and fairness.
Problems faced in implementing the Citizen’s Charters:
● Every charter is an obligation of the government or public offices to provide services to the beneficiaries, but there are certain flaws or difficulties in bringing the charter into effect, which is as follows:
➢ Loss of trust among service seekers.
➢ Inadequate publicity.
➢ Lack of awareness and knowledge.
➢ Lack of infrastructure and initiative.
➢ Lack of teamwork.
➢ The gap in the hierarchy between the officers and the second level Staff.
➢ Insensitive Supervisors.
➢ Irresponsible staffs
➢ Lack of motivation and accountability.
➢ Unprepared operative and supervisory staff.
➢ Complicated and restrictive rules and procedures
The major challenge with the Panchayati Raj Institutions in India remains the lack of capacity, in terms of funds, functions as well as functionaries. Nevertheless, the charter is the first step towards a government branch adopting a service delivery orientation and accepting accountability towards citizens.