Parishkaram - an
ICT enabled Grievance Redressal System in Mahabubnagar District connects citizens to the
administrative services through a phone call
Efficiency in addressing
public grievances is one of the important indicators of governance at all levels.
District being a significant administrative unit in terms of devolution of powers,
reaching out to public with basic services is pivotal to responsive governance.
The standard practice of grievance redressal at the district level lacks efficiency
as it works on a ` first come first served ‘basis on every Monday at district headquarters.
This system is inherently exclusionary as poor, socially, politically and geographically
marginalized may not get through the labyrinth of bureaucracy at the district headquarters.
Parishkaram – meaning
“Solutions” is developed to improve the efficiency of the grievance redressal cell
in Mahabubnagar District, Andhra Pradesh. As an ICT tool, it uses a combination of mobile,
blue tooth, web space and SMS technology to create a responsive and efficient district
administration in solving people’s grievances. By design, it is inclusionary and
allows for paper less trail of the progress of each complaint that is lodged as
a voice complaint with the grievance cell. It also facilitates the District Collector/Magistrate
to track the progress using real time analysis across various departments and at
sub- district level. Supportive software being available as open source, Parishkaram
can be easily replicated in other districts across the state.
Reaching the district headquarters from
far flung areas of the district is time taking and also expensive.
With saturation of mobile connectivity
covering remote areas, it offers a viable and effective tool.
Citizens can access the district administration
through a phone call.
Use of mobile allows department heads
to address the grievances and remotely monitor the disposal of the complaints by
Parishkaram is a
collaborative effort of Mahabubnagar District Administration and UNICEF- Hyderabad Field
Office to act as a single window for lodging complaints through a phone call. Phone
calls are treated as voice complaints and will be forwarded to the concerned officers
as SMS for redressal and the responses are monitored by the District Collector.
The website is officially
launched on the Independence Day i.e., ******, by the Honorable Minister
How Parishkaram works?
New media technologies have shown remarkable
potential in brining citizens and government closer together. Within the larger
framework of pro- poor governance, there is increasing evidence that ICT can improve
the access to public services and increase the efficiency and accountability. It
also offers opportunities for strengthening the ongoing process of improving services
by focusing on demand orientation and targeting of the poor.
Experiments and experiences over the past
decade have put India as one of the world leaders in enabling what is popularly
known as ICT4D. Lessons from such experiences provide opportunities for further
improvisation on the reach and coverage of such initiatives. One of the significant
lessons is that organizational and infrastructure architecture is important in delivering
the services to citizens through technological initiatives. Equally significant
is to ensure that the initiative is built on the existing system but efficiency
is brought in to the extent that any relapse to the older system is deterred. This
also addresses the sustainability factor crucial to the initiatives
2. Parishkaram: ICT interface for the
grievance redressal cell at the district headquarters
2.1: The previous system of grievance
redressal of citizenry in Mahabubnagar
Every district has a grievance cell where
in citizens can personally meet the district magistrate and lodge complaints. Every
Monday is dedicated for grievances to be addressed by the district collector/magistrate
and the cell functions as a response system of the district magistrate to reach
out to the service delivery gaps. The efficiency of the system is limited to the
number of people that can be met during the day and also by the nature of complaints.
Though the cell tends to function with a self-targeting of the poor, distance to
the headquarters and accompanying cost as well as the code of conduct and lack of
other information seems to limit its coverage of the poorest.
Another significant point is that even when
the District Collector (DC) favorably disposes the complaint, there is limited mechanism
by which the DC can monitor the follow up actions by the concerned officers. This
seriously impairs the efficacy of the system as well as the confidence and trust
of the citizen.
2.2. Parishkaram (Solution)
Parishkaram is an ICT (voice files/Blue tooth
technology and SMS) enabled response system of the district administration than
an individually addressed mechanism. The goal of Parishkaram has been
enhance the capacity and efficiency
of the district redressal mechanism by increasing the coverage to include all basic
services along with gaps in the implementation of major programmes and improving
the reach by enabling ` easy to use- low cost ‘ access to the district administration
to the marginalized communities.
Main objectives of Parishkaram are as