[Answered] What is Citizen Charter? Discuss it’s purpose and effectiveness in India?

upsc mains marathon questions answers
Demand of the question
Introduction. What is citizen’s charter?
Body. Need of citizen’s charter. It’s effectiveness in India.
Conclusion. Way forward.

The citizen’s charter is a written, voluntary declaration by service providers about their service standards, choice, accessibility, non-discrimination, transparency and accountability. It is a useful way of defining with the stakeholders what service should be and what standards to expect.

Need of Citizen charter:

  1. To make administration accountable and citizen friendly.
  2. To ensure transparency.
  3. To take measures to improve customer service.
  4. To adopt a stakeholder approach.
  5. To empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.
  6. To specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met.
  7. To encourage access and the promotion of choice.

Effectiveness of citizen’s charter:

Citizen’s Charters have currently been in place in India for more than a decade. In 2006, the DARPG website listed 767 charters drafted by various government agencies around the country. Introduction and implementation of the concept of Citizens’ Charter in the Government of India was much more difficult due to the old bureaucratic set up/procedures and the rigid attitudes of the work force. The major issues related to citizen’s charter initiative:

  1. It has became one of the routine activities of the organisation and had no focus.
  2. In many cases, the concerned staff are not adequately trained and sensitised.
  3. Sometimes, transfers and reshuffles of concerned officers at the crucial stages of formulation/implementation of a Citizens’ Charter in an organisation severely undermined the strategic processes which were put in place and hampered the progress of the initiative.
  4. Lack of awareness and knowledge and inadequate publicity, led to loss of trust among service seekers.
  5. Lack of infrastructure and initiative defeated the very purpose of citizens charter.
  6. Different mind-sets of officers and the Staff- Insensitiveness on the part of the Supervisors and the Staff because they are yet to be sensitised.
  7. Staff is not prepared to shoulder the responsibility due to lack of motivation and accountability.
  8. Non-revision, complicated and restrictive rules & procedures reduced its effectiveness.

So the effectiveness is minimal due to lack of awareness among the citizens and there is no legal back up for these services made them toothless tool to the citizens and the governance still need to be improved, the aspirations of people have gone up and government cannot run away from its responsibility.

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