Use the government's own grievance redress mechanism effectively

If you have a grievance with a government department or ministry, here is how to file a complaint which does not require much effort skill and can be effective too

 
As an early adopter and practitioner of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, I have watched with some dismay as it became diluted and more complicated over the last few years. In addition, with the passage of time, there have been many issues which have diluted its efficacy, or made it difficult for the applicant to get the sought information. Why do people file for information? To seek information and find a resolution to some form of injustice or non-delivery of service from a government office. The RTI experience has been soured by the following factors:
 
Many amendments and rules that have been made which make matters even more complicated
The amount of paperwork and filing that a typical RTI application is required
The great difficulty in many cases to simply pay the Rs10 as RTI fee to the Public Information Officers (PIOs) or Public Authority
The large number of ‘internal’ RTI applications clogging up the pipeline and diverting resources away from the general public
The chances that, in many cases, the outcome of decisions at Information Commissions will and up in courts
The not so subtle way in which selection of Information Commissioners is done to possibly skew matters in certain directions
Effort required to make small payments for photo-copying charges, when postage for that is often higher
Antipathy and aggressiveness that RTI applicants face if they meet up directly with the PIOs and Appellate Authorities (AAs)
Wide disparity in the way the states have taken forward their responsibilities in implementing the RTI Act
The way a whole lot of professional RTI ‘consultants’ have jumped into the fray, often on a “for profit” basis
More importantly, when you do get the information, what do you do with it?
  
By contrast, the Public Grievances Portal (it can be accessed here: http://pgportal.gov.in/), or the Grievance Redress Mechanism, covering both central and state government entities, appears to be promising and in many cases better. The best part about this is that there is no application fee or subsequent fee involved, and the complete process can be kept paperless, using internet, email and SMS. Of course, if people want to go the hard copy route, then there is provision for that too.
 
The basic premise with the Grievance Redress Mechanism is that it addresses the very question of—what next, after you have obtained the information? And then gives you an answer as well as a solution. Also, it works for both central and state government grievances, again, without any costs involved. Of course, if you are not satisfied with the way your grievance is handled, then you can certainly file another grievance with the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances citing the reasons for your dissatisfaction. This is explained in fairly simple terms as well as in great detail if required, in this booklet available in Hindi and English. 
 
You can download the booklet by clicking here
 
It appears to have actually taken into account without mincing any words that there are government departments which, by definition, are problem areas because of their dealings with the public. Since their very existence depends on dealing with the public, these interactions can not be wished away and hence have to be made accountable.
 
Read much more on RTI by Moneylife; click here.
 
Do give it a go, preferably online, and chances are that you will be pleasantly surprised by the results achieved.
 
(Veeresh Malik had a long career in the Merchant Navy, which he left in 1983. He has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, loves to travel, and has been in print and electronic media for over two decades. After starting and selling a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing.)
 
Comments
Vaibhav Dhoka
10 years ago
I lodged o grievance against SEBI,at http://www.pgportal.gov.in and after about 55 days I received routine reply from this portal_ Case closed log in for details.It is just eyewash by government.None of the government agencies work.The reason-NO ACCOUNTABILITY.
abhi
10 years ago
Veeresh sir,
I tried to find out your e-mail address but couldn't find it out, I want to draw your attention towards the thousands of cadets in this country who are today roaming on streets of mumbai in hope of becoming a seadog one day,these cadets passed out from hundreds of substandard institutes approved by DG Shipping.Where is the luxurious carrier in Merchant navy leading them to? What is DG doing in this regard? Is it not their responsibility to restrict the no. of cadets passing out each year, or to make the entrace that tough that you don't destroy anyone's life, I have personally seen guys getting addicted to alcohol and smoking, and even trying for suicide, they all are loosing hope. What is DG doing???
Veeresh Malik
Replied to abhi comment 10 years ago
Dear Abhi, my email address is fairly open domain, veereshmalik at gmail dot com.

The situation with jobs at sea for young Indians is, to put it briefly, fairly drastic.

What is DGS doing? My observation is that they appear to be suffering from a variety of ailments.

Shall try to address this issue too, thank you for the reminder,

rgds/VM
siddharth biswal
10 years ago
i have used their portal but to no avail.inspite of using their reminder mechanism they have not responded yet even after 5-6 months.I have therefore filed RTI regarding this.Thanks for your suggestion,i will see whether it works !
Veeresh Malik
Replied to siddharth biswal comment 10 years ago
Dear Sidharth, thank you for writing in, and I can only suggest again that you please try to use a combo of PG Portal with RTI to try to get desired results.

Best/VM

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