Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fwd: A barometer of performance


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: S G Naravane

Bibek Debroy | Published:July 21, 2016

Resolution of citizen grievances is an indicator of the performance of government departments.


Resolving citizen grievances is a job for the department of administrative reforms and public grievances (DARPG). The DARPG has a public grievance portal. For 94 central government ministries and departments, citizens can write in with their complaints. The awareness that this portal exists is evidently increasing. There were 132,751 complaints between May 2014 and September 2014. Between May 2015 and September 2015, that number increased to 466,406.
In gauging citizen evaluation of the Union government, this database can be used with three sampling biases. First, not everyone knows this portal exists. Second, citizens write in when there is a grievance. A satisfied citizen doesn't necessarily bother. Third, everyone doesn't have access to the internet nor does everyone with a grievance write in.
Data analysed was for a longer period — January 2012 to September 2015. Seventy-three per cent of the grievances concerned just 20 ministries/departments. In descending order of importance, they are: Department of telecom, the Railways, financial services, home ministry, central board of direct taxes, higher education, ministry of external affairs, department of posts, health & family welfare, petroleum & natural gas, labour & employment, defence, school education & literacy, personnel and training, road transport & highways, urban development, department of justice, central board of excise and customs, department of revenue, and the department of ex-servicemen welfare.
Let's pick one of these to see what the analysis tells us. The one department most people will readily relate to is possibly the Railways. During the period mentioned, there were 19,540 grievances against the Railways. Let's slice it further to see what sub-departments within the Railways attracted the most grievances. (Railways is actually a bad example to think in terms of sub-departments since, functionally, it is driven by 17 zones.) Seventy-one per cent of the complaints were against zonal railways, 8 per cent against the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation and 5 per cent on passenger marketing issues. An even better idea is not to look at sub-departments but focus on the reasons for grievance. What service deficiency led to the grievance? You then find that 45 per cent grievances were about the inefficiency in the refund process, 34 per cent were about the delays in pension release, 7 per cent about the quality of service onboard trains, 2 per cent for unclean stations and 1 per cent for congestion on the IRCTC website.
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