The stereotype of a government office—full of archaic cabinets with dusty old files—may soon be a thing of the past.
The Government of India, on directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will in October dispose of all pending public grievances and complaints, along with all pending assurances given to Parliament, MPs and state governments as well as conclude all inter-ministerial consultations. As part of this exercise, the government will be weeding out old, unwanted files along with all obsolete material.
Starting September 13, all ministries, departments and subordinate offices, as per instructions from Cabinet Secretariat, have been preparing the material and identifying the scope of the work to be done.
While doing this, ministries are also to review the existing rules and old orders that increase paperwork in government working. “…The existing processes may be reviewed with a view to reducing compliance burden and unnecessary paperwork done away with, wherever feasible,” says the letter to all ministries from Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, who wrote “to convey the directions of the Prime Minister.”
“It may be recalled that during his Independence Day address this year, the Prime Minister has emphasized the need to review existing rules and procedures on a continuing basis,” the letter states.
This process is set to last till September 29, and the disposal exercise will start October 2, Gandhi Jayanti. The disposal exercise is part of the nationwide cleanliness campaign started by the NDA government.
Typically the Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System website of the Ministry of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances receives complaints from citizens concerning any ministry. It is the nodal body to oversee this drive as well. It forwards the complaints to ministries concerned and there is a protocol for redressal.
Along with disposing of all pending matters, the directive from the Cabinet Secretary also lists out that ministries should review record retention rules so that records are neither prematurely destroyed nor are they retained beyond a necessary time frame. Redundant scrap material and obsolete items are also to be identified for disposal.
As far as assurances to Parliament and MPs are concerned, each Parliament session throws up numerous “assurances” for a ministry during Question Hour, wherein the ministry or the minister concerned assures the Houses of some action. Each assurance becomes a separate file to be dealt with by the ministry, and it is the right of Parliament to seek an explanation on assurances given to it. The disposal exercise will ensure no assurance remains pending.
This year, the government has reduced the maximum time for the redressal of a complaint from 60 days to 45 days. This is because the government has found that 87 per cent of the complaints on CPGRAMS got resolved in 45 days.