September 26, 2020

Block Divas for grievance redressal

Recently, government launched a new initiative for public reachout at block levels which it believes is a new way of grievances redressal mechanism. The officials under this grievance redressal mechanism records complaints and queries of the complainants in villages for redressal by the competent authorities. Block Diwas organized by the block development officers (BDOs’) and attended by panchayat members and workers is being organized at each block of the district. Officials of different departments particularly those connected with the conduct of social services are invited to attend the meetings compulsorily for respinding to the grievances of the people. Questions and complaints raised by the complainants are recorder by the officials for follow up from the concerned quarters. In most of the cases officials reply to the queries and complaints of the complainants according to their capacity and position. Whole day is being spent on discussions over issues concerning public welfare and the implementation of developmental schemes undertaken by the departments. The basic of motive of Block Diwas is to take the government at the doorsteps of the people for the purposes of improving the system of public accountability at the grass root. This initiative of public outreach if carried forwards with honesty and dedication would surely firm up the roots of democracy in the rural parts of Jammu & Kashmir. In the end the success of the initiative depends on the intensity of the public satisfaction. Just like Back to Village-I and Back to Village-II , the basic motive of holding Block Diwas is to boost the cause of public welfare and public accountability at the grass roots in Jammu & Kashmir. It is good for a citizen to give him an opportunity to come forward with their demands for the availability of social services. Ironically the allegations about the grievances being ignored are rampant. Majority of the population allege that concerned quarters don’t act on the grievances recorded by the public at the public grievances session held under the “block divas” program. Finally the people don’t pay heed to the calls for attending the public grievance session because of the government’s lukewarm response to the public queries and complaints on the implementation of welfare scheme and developmental projects. We know that idea of governance has changed over the period of years and the government tends to embark on developmental plans with public outreach initiatives. Finally it makes two to clap as people and government have to work in close cooperation for bringing about a perceptible change on ground. In the age of technology, education, and ethics people have to raise issues with proper application of mind and government functionaries have to resolve them with administrative wisdom and intellectual acumen right. Decades ago innovation in technology was surprising people; communications were new to the people and grievances redressal mechanism was only in the hands of local, State or Central leadership. People were greatly influenced by the people in power and consequently the public functionaries used to leave the complaints unattended.

For the effective grievance redressal mechanism, MPs, legislators, administrators, local government and the people must be brought on same platform to discuss the issues so, that the policy makers can make policies accordingly in Legislative Assemblies, Parliament and the administration can work to achieve targets in given time time spans. Such events must be organized quarterly or annually.
The use of technology has influenced the system of public accountability so much that the people come to public functionaries with more and more grievances day after day. So ultimately the pressure on the government to resolve the issues at gross root level is rising day after day, month after month and year after year. So the idea of holding block divas is very good for the health of the government’s public accountability system.To conclude the ideas, we can say, Block Diwas for grievances redressal mechanism will drastically reduce the rising frequency of public complaints, but it won’t end the trends of public queries and complaints. Block divas is a very good initiative for building strong relations between the people, the administration and the local government. As we know, legislators and MPs play great role in legislative assemblies and the Parliament of the country. They keep their attention focused on policy making for the welfare of the country and run it’s affairs very well for the welfare of the people. Administration is responsible for implementing the policies of the government. Local government has to take care of public issues at the grass roots. So for the effective grievance redressal mechanism, MPs, legislators, administrators, local government and the people must be brought on same platform to discuss the issues so, that the policy makers can make policies accordingly in Legislative Assemblies, Parliament and the administration can work to achieve targets in given time time spans. Such events must be organized quarterly or annually.
(The author is a freelancer. Views are his own) [email protected]

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