It is widely acknowledged that excellent governance is vital for long-term economic and social growth. Transparency, accountability, and administrative responsiveness are the three basic characteristics of successful governance. The Citizens' Charters idea is a reaction to the desire to find solutions to the challenges that citizens face on a daily basis while engaging with organisations that provide public services.
The Citizens' Charter idea enshrines trust between the service provider and its users. The concept was first articulated and implemented in the United Kingdom in 1991 as a national Programme by the Conservative Government of John Major with a simple goal: to continuously improve the quality of public services for the people of the country so that these services respond to the needs and wishes of the users.
The basic objective of the Citizens Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.
Six principles of the Citizens Charter movement as originally framed, were:
Quality: Improving the quality of services;
Choice: Wherever possible;
Standards: Specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met;
Value: For the taxpayers money;
Accountability: Individuals and Organisations; and
Transparency: Rules/ Procedures/ Schemes/Grievances.
These were later elaborated by the Labour Government as following nine principles of Service Delivery (1998):- Set standards of service; Be open and provide full information; Consult and involve; Encourage access and the promotion of choice; Treat all fairly; Put things right when they go wrong; Use resources effectively; Innovate and improve; Work with other providers.
Significant progress has been achieved in the sphere of economic development in India throughout the years. This, along with a significant rise in, has made Indian individuals more conscious of their rights. Citizens have grown more vocal, and they want the government to anticipate their needs as well as react to them. It was in this climate that since 1996 a consensus had evolved in the Government on effective and responsive administration.
An 'Action Plan for Effective and Responsive Government' at the Centre and State levels was approved during a Conference of Chief Ministers of different States and Union Territories held on May 24, 1997 in New Delhi.
The job of organising, creating, and implementing Citizens' Charters was begun by the Government of India's Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG). Guidelines for developing the Charters, as well as a list of do's and don'ts, were sent to different government departments/organizations in order for them to produce focused and successful charters.
The Charters are expected to incorporate the following elements :-(i) Vision and Mission Statement; (ii) Details of business transacted by the organisation; (iii) Details of clients; (iv) Details of services provided to each client group; (v) Details of grievance redress mechanism and how to access it; and (vi) Expectations from the clients.
Devoid of participative Mechanisms
Poor design and content
Lack of Public Awareness
Not updated, redundant
There is a need for wider consultation, all the stake holders must be consulted.To guarantee that the Citizens' Charter serves the demands of its users, consumer organisations, citizen groups, and other stakeholders are encouraged to participate in its development. The Charters must be monitored, reviewed, and evaluated on a regular basis, both internally and via external authorities.Creating awareness is critical; if citizens are unaware, the charter's purpose is defeated. The charter is not an end but means to an end that is serving citizenry.
The Sevottam model was created with the ultimate goal of increasing the country's public service delivery quality. The model consists of three components, and in addition to the overall goal, intermediate results are anticipated from compliance with the criteria set for each of these three components.
The first component of the approach necessitates successful charter implementation, which opens up a route for citizens' input into how organisations decide service delivery needs. Citizens' Charters make available the information on their' rights, allowing citizens to demand better services by making them more educated.
The model's second component, 'Public Grievance Redress,' necessitates a good grievance redress mechanism that operates in a way that leaves the public more content with how the organisation reacts to complaints/grievances, regardless of the ultimate outcome. The goal of any Public Grievance Redress Mechanism is to settle public complaints in a timely and efficient way. Furthermore, complaints give critical input on the efficiency and efficacy of service delivery. Agencies may take corrective and preventative steps based on such input to eliminate complaint-prone areas.
The third component, 'Excellence in Service Delivery,' asserts that an organisation can achieve great service delivery performance only if it effectively manages the main elements for successful service delivery and builds its own ability to constantly enhance delivery.
Furthermore, any evaluation model must be updated on a regular basis to keep up with new changes. Change management and R&D have therefore been recognised as major priority areas for operating this model, in addition to administration of the evaluation process and its climax in certification or prizes.