Telangana: Grievance Redressal System For 23 Rural Development Schemes Reduced To 4; Lakhs Affected
In our country, there are many public schemes. However, there is a lack of services and knowledge to avail these schemes. This is one of the problems that the lakhs of people in Telangana are facing. The grievance redressal system (a mechanism to act on grievances reported by a private organisation or public citizens) in Telangana for 23 rural development schemes has been reduced to just four. These schemes concern lakhs of people who are now left to suffer in the state. The officials are also unaware of the reasons for the shutdown but say it is a violation of Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct.
According to The News Minute, the cut down in the call centre or grievance redressal system came on October 1. With this unprecedented move, the people who have been availing these schemes or wish to avail them will now have to visit the Mandal Revenue Officers or the District Revenue Officers to get their complaints registered.
Many dependent on these Call centres
These 23 central government schemes include Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGA), disabilities pensions, Aasara (old age pensions) and Streenidhi scheme. Many of these schemes come under Rural Development Department that aims to eliminate Rural Poverty.
Telangana has over 10 lakh people with disabilities as per the 2011 census. According to the socio-economic outlook, 2017, almost 9 lakh people avail Aasara pensions in the state. This indicates that a large number of people are dependent on these schemes and use to take the services of the call centres to register their complaints.
While talking to The News Minute, a program manager with Libtech India (a group of team of engineers, social workers and social scientists working with tribals in Telangana) Chakradhar Buddha said, “The sheer number of schemes being handled by this call centre makes it a crucial part of service delivery. In rural Telangana, the accessibility to offices is difficult due to poor road connectivity. The people availing these services are poor and will have to spend a lot of money to get to the office to register a complaint.”
The officer said that the problem is not just that these people now would have to physically go to Mandal Revenue Officers and with no surety if the official would be present and their complaints will be heard there on their first visit.
Violation of election codes
On October 1, the number of people working in these call centres was reduced from 10 to just five employees. This has resulted in a drop in calls. Previously, the call centre would take at least 800 calls a day which has come down to 150-200 calls a day, said the officials, as reported by The News Minute.
For now, redressal services for MGNREGA, watersheds activity, Indra Jala Prabha scheme, Shyam Prakash Mukherjee rurban mission scheme are still available. However, the services for some of the schemes have been stopped. The publication spoke to the two programme officers, who handled government schemes, for which the service has been stopped.
The officer said, that these call centre had a transparent process. A complaint would get resolved there, a data for this would be stored for this every single day.
Another programme manager for a state scheme said, “Since the last three days, I have been calling six people to know the time and date of a camp. Till now, I don’t have clarity.” He added that if a government officer like him could face problems it would be much difficult for a common man.
The program officer added that this was a violation of the moral code of conduct in the state. He said that a department could not start a scheme nor can it stop the services for the existing scheme when elections are coming. At the election time, any action by the department amounts to curtailing information to the public, he said. The officials told the publication that they believe the call centre services were not stopped due to lack of funds. They say that these services require just Rs 30 lakh per month to function.