The path-breaking web-based system for online grievance monitoring in Himachal Pradesh has the potential to change governance.
Brajesh Kumar | January 26, 2010
Shimla: A path-breaking e-Governance project pioneered by Himachal Pradesh is e-Samadhan, a web-based system for online grievance monitoring. It has the potential to change governance, as we know it—slothful and steeped in red tape.
After its launch in January 2009, it is already making waves. Out of the total 4,510 grievances received about the whole gamut of government services, 3,305 have already been disposed of. What makes e-Samadhan work is its monitoring provision. Any one from the concerned official (to whom the complaint is marked) to all his senior officials in the department along with the department’s minister and the chief minister can intervene and give instructions for the redressal of the grievance within a fixed time frame.
Harsh Gupta, a resident of Nagar Panchayat Chowri in Chamba district, had a first-hand experience of how effective this mechanism is. He had been doing rounds of the Indiane Gas Agency at Hamirpur for an LPG connection for almost a year but to no avail. Finally, he filed an online complaint through e-Samadhan, and he got an LPG connection within two weeks.
A look at the action taken report on Gupta’s complaint is illustrative.
Gupta filed the complaint on August 26. The next day the director of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS & CA) asked the district controller to take action within a week. As the week passed without any action, the deputy director of FCS & CA reminded the district controller that the “maximum redressal time has been crossed” and asked him to attend to the complaint immediately. On the same day, Bhim Sen, principal secretary to the chief minister, also asked the district controller to “redress the matter by taking appropriate steps at once.” When another week passed without the district controller attending to Gupta’s grievance, FCS & CA Secretary Anil Kumar Khachi lost his temper and asked why the district controller was “sleeping over the complaint?” The next day, on September 17, Gupta was issued an LPG connection.
The project said to be personally driven by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has given Himachal Pradesh residents a say in governance.
“Apart from filing complaints people can make a demand too through e-Samadhan,” says Vinod Garg, the District Informatics officer of Hamirpur. “If there is a need for hand pumps in a village and the local administration has been ignoring the pleas of the locals, they can login to the e-Samadhan website and make a demand for the hand pumps,” he said.
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