Major Initiatives of Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions During 2010
Year-end Review 2010
The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions took several new initiatives during 2010 for raising the efficiency of bureaucracy and better service delivery mechanisms. Steps were taken towards capacity building and strengthening of the historic Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. Major policy initiatives taken by the Ministry are as under:
Whistleblowers’ Bill tabled in Lok Sabha
The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons making the Disclosure Bill, 2010, (commonly known as Whistleblowers’ Bill) was tabled in the Lok Sabha. The bill is presently under examination with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice.
The Bill provides for adequate protection to the persons reporting corruption or wilful misuse of power or wilful misuse of discretion which causes demonstrable loss to the government or commission of a criminal offence by a public servant. The identity of the complainant is kept secret. It also provides punishment for revealing the identity of a complainant, negligently or malafidely.
Changes in IAS recruitment Exam
The pattern of UPSC exam for Civil Services has been changed. The Government has approved the proposal for introduction of Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) in place of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination. The CSAT will come into effect from Civil Services Examination, 2011. This will enable screening of candidates having a right aptitude for Civil Services.
In CSAT, one of optional subjects, which a candidate could have chosen out of 23 optional, is being replaced with a common paper on aptitude test. The CSAT is aimed at providing a greater degree of level – playing field to candidates of different backgrounds.
Steps to Strengthen RTI Act
i). A new Central Sector Scheme on ‘Improving Transparency and Accountability in Government Through Effective Implementation on RTI Act’ has been approved. The scheme aims at Awareness Generation and Capacity Building of Stakeholders. Draft RTI Amendment Rules have been posted in the website persmin.nic.in for seeking comments finalising the same.
ii). The provisions related to RTI applications received by a public authority regarding information concerning other public authority/authorities have been clarified.
iii). 35000 RTI Posters on Regional Languages i.e. Bangla, English, Marathi, Oriya, Kanada and Malayalam were displayed in Regional Post Offices.
RTI Logo & RTI Portal launched
Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) launched RTI logo & RTI portal with a view to give this historic legislation an iconic symbol and one stop knowledge bank for information seekers. The simple and iconic logo represents people’s empowerment through transfer and accountability in Governance. The logo’s shape and structure make it easy to remember, recall and replicate with minimal distortion.
In the last five years the RTI regime has heralded a regime of transparency and accountability and strengthened the democratic structure of the country. Success stories of citizens using the RTI Act abound. The Act has achieved great success in empowering the citizens of India. However it was felt that the core values of the RTI regime – Empowerment, Transparency and Accountability- need to be given a shape in the form of a logo. The logo would be displayed at all public authorities and will be used in various communications related to RTI.
The Right to Information Portal www.rtigateway.org.in is one stop knowledge bank for information seekers, information providers, trainers, Information Commissions, students and academicians. It provides for a digital library, discussion fora, e- newsletter and a blog.
Measures to strengthen CBI
It was decided to set up 71 additional Special Courts for CBI in various States of the country to expedite adjudication of the pending cases. Out of these 51 courts have already been sanctioned, and 204 posts of Prosecuting Officers and Supporting Staff have been sanctioned for manning these courts. In order to expedite investigation and prosecution of cases, CBI has been permitted to engage 60 Law Officers and 75 Technical Officers on contractual basis for a period upto 5 years. An amount of RS.49.54 crores has been sanctioned for Mumbai Building of the CBI.
Group on Data Protection & Privacy set up
A Group of Officers under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has been constituted to develop a framework that could balance the country’s interests and concerns on privacy, data protection and security and which could respect the domain legislations on the subject. The framework developed by the Group would include legal provisions, principles and elements of data protection, security and privacy. While developing the framework, the Group will keep in view the existing provisions of various laws regarding protection of data and privacy of individuals. The Group has asked for suggestions from all interested / knowledgeable persons / observers in this regard.
DoPT & IGNOU signed MoU on distant learning for Govt. employees
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for offering Distance & E-Learning Programmes to Government employees. The Government employees can now enroll for a wide spectrum of Programmes offered by IGNOU and get their fees reimbursed on successfully completing the programmes. The courses are open to central government employees working in Ministries / Departments / Attached offices and the faculty members of State Apex Training Institutions.
The purpose of the Programme is to increase the availability and flexibility of options open to employees for enhancing their knowledge and skills in order to improve the functioning of Government organizations and the delivery of services to the public.
The categories of courses open for enrolment under this programme are Short-Duration Specialised modules; Certificate Programmes and Masters, PG and PG Diploma Programmes.
46th Meeting of the National Council (JCM)
The 46th Meeting of the National Council (JCM), the apex body of the Joint Consultative Machinery for the Central Government Employees, was held under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Shri K. M. Chandrasekhar. Senior leaders of the Central Government Employees’ Unions/ Federations and Secretaries of various Ministries/Departments actively participated in the deliberations. the need for the Staff Organizations to work in harmony with the official side to enhance productivity and efficiency and the endeavour of the Government to maintain a sustained level of contact with the Staff Side to take forward the process of consensus building were highlighted at the deliberations. Various issues of importance to the Central Government employees and their families were also discussed with a view to find amicable solutions and to ensure harmonious relationship.
Flexible Complementing Scheme for scientists modified
Under the Modified Flexible Complementing Scheme (FCS) five upgradations are possible from Scientist B to Scientist G, after prescribed residency period, without linkage to vacancy. The criteria for identifying institutions/organizations as scientific and technical institutions and defining scientists/ scientific posts have been made more objective and stringent. In tune with the merit orientation of the scheme, peer assessment procedure, field experience requirement, scientific work reporting has been spelt out in detail under the scheme. Modified ACP scheme has been allowed as a fall back option so as to allow alternate mode of growth to scientists and preserve the merit orientation of Modified FCS. This scheme for scientists is applicable where promotions are made without linkage to vacancies.
Quality Management System ‘Sevottam” developed
A Quality Management System (QMS) ‘Sevottam’ framework has been developed for bringing improvements in the quality of public service delivery. This is a citizen centric initiative for institutionalizing an assessment-improvement framework for improving the quality of service delivery on a continuous basis through the involvement of Ministries / Departments and citizens. Sevottam includes three dimensions of a public service organization as follows: (a) Citizen’s / Client’s Charter that specifies the service delivery standards (b) Grievance Redress Mechanism that gets activated if the service delivery is not as per standards in the charter (c) Service Delivery Capability of the organization to delivery service as per standards in the charter. A ‘nine point quality of compliance’ criteria based on published standards has been developed. Pilot Projects on Sevottam in 10 Central Ministries / Departments has been concluded in June 2010.
The Depertment of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) organized four workshops/seminars for 62 Ministries/Departments on Designing & Implementing Sevottam Complaint Citizen’s Charter and Grievance Redressal. Sevottam framework focuses on improved service delivery through setting of standards and monitoring the performance of service delivery as against Results Framework Document (RFD) standards.
An upgraded version of the Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) was inaugurated in September, 2010. CPGRAMS is an online internet based facility for citizens to lodge their grievances from any part of the country or the world. It is accessible at http://pgportal.gov.in and also through www.darpg.nic.in . It is also a tool for effective monitoring of redress of grievance received through the Grievance Redress Mechanism, established in Government of India. The System networks 89 Central Ministries / Departments / Organizations including all responsibility centres under them. Through CPGRAMS citizens can lodge complaints online and immediately get a unique registration number for further reference. The number is useful for checking the progress on redress of their grievance and for sending reminders. Citizens have a choice to lodge the grievance directly with the Ministry / Department concerned or to send it to DARPG. The grievances received in PG Division are forwarded online to the Ministry / Department concerned for redress. Reports can also be generated through the System for analyzing grievance prone areas for taking remedial action for preventing similar grievances from arising in future.
All grievances received by post / by hand are also lodged on to the CPGRAMS by PG Division on behalf of the citizens. Acknowledgements are generated and issued by post, and final redress response is also sent by post in all such cases.
India- Brazil-South Africa Web Portal on Public Administration Launched
The India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) web portal on public administration was launched by DARPG under IBSA Co-operation Programme in the field of public administration and governance. The web portal which is a virtual centre of excellence in public administration is a wide ranging web-based resource and an interactive platform for the IBSA partners to facilitate among them an exchange of ideas and knowledge on public administration.
The purpose of the web portal is to create a knowledge base for sharing IBSA experiences and best practices in the field of public administration and development related issues. The IBSA web portal is a landmark achievement in mutual cooperation of the three countries in the field of public administration and governance, providing further impetus to the already flourishing IBSA relationship.
E-Office Pilot Project launched
DARPG has taken up the e-Office Mission Mode Project (MMP) under National Governance Plan (NeGP). The project has been conceptualized to modernise the Central Government Offices through introduction of Information Technology. The e-Office MMP envisages a user-friendly and integrated file and records management software solution with implantation of associated process reforms. Under the e-Office Mission Mode Project, DARPG proposes to devise an e-Manual to be adopted by the various Government of India offices in the e-office environment. The e-Office MMP is aimed at introducing the concepts of e-file in the government offices leading to a paperless office.
The broad objectives of e-Office are: –
(i) To improve efficiency, consistency and effectiveness of Government responses.
(ii) To reduce turnaround time and to meet the demand of the citizen charger
(iii) To provide for effective resource management to improve the quality of administration.
(iv) To enhance transparency and accountability
Detailed studies have been conducted through National Institute for Smart Governance on various processes involved in the implementation to ensure successful implementation of the Project.
The project will be implemented in other Government Ministries/Departments in phased manner after its successful implementation/assessment at the pilot locations. Presently the MMP is targeted Central Government Offices only.
13th Conference on e-Governance
The thirteenth National Conference on e-Governance was organised by DARPG in coordination with the Department of Information Technology, Government of India and Department of Information and Technology, Government of Rajasthan, at Jaipur.
National Awards for e-Governance 2009-10 were given away in seven categories to 17 organisations. These awards are given to recognise and promote excellence in implementation of e-Governance initiatives. These initiatives could be from Government to Government (G2G), Government to Citizen (G2C) or Government to Business (G2B). An exhibition showcasing the capacities, products and e-Governance initiatives of the Government and private sector will also be inaugurated.
The theme for this year’s Conference was “e-Governance from Citizens’ Perspective”. The Conference explored how the use of ICT had transformed governance from the perspective of the beneficiaries of the services. It made an attempt at a reality check to ascertain the outcome of the services rendered and whether it has achieved the intended objectives of transparent, effective, responsive and accountable governance. The focus sector this year was Education with the agenda, “ICT in Education-enhancing quality and reach”. During the Conference, discussions were held on e-Governance from Citizen’s Perspective; leveraging mobile technology for better service delivery – financial inclusion through mobile technology; public distribution system (direct access to the citizens through e- Governance) and ICT in education – enhancing quality and reach.
Conference of Chief Secretaries
The first Conference of Chief Secretaries of States/UTs was organised by DARPG. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. This conference will be held annually henceforth.
The conference is aimed at institutionalising the process of interaction with States / UTs. It will serve as a standing forum for exchange of views between the Centre and the States and provide an occasion for interaction on internal matters. The issues relating to the latest trend in technology, emerging global challenges & opportunities and key security concerns & the role of state governments would be discussed. Global developments that have a bearing on the country would also be deliberated upon.
Conference of AR Secretaries of States/Union Territories
DARPG organized a Conference of Secretaries of Administrative Reforms of the States/Union Territories. The objective of the conference was to create a national platform to share experience of the states in the field of reforms/initiatives undertaken by the departments of Administrative Reforms in the state/union territories and to improve public service delivery, make the administration effective, transparent, accountable and citizen-friendly. It will also provide a forum for the A R departments of the States/UTs to highlight the challenges faced by them and their expectations from the Department of AR &PG, Government of India.