May 24th, 2016
Being the most important government office in the country, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) must be receiving a lot of petitions/complaints/ representations/letters each day. Technology has also made it easier to lodge such petitions. But how does the PMO deal with the many petitions that it receives? What is the procedure followed? Factly filed an application under the RTI act to find out.
Two categories of Petitions
As per the reply received from the PMO’s public wing, there are certain guidelines to deal with the petitions received in the public wing. All the petitions received in this wing are categorized into
- Actionable Petitions and
- Non-actionable Petitions
How is the categorization done?
As per the existing guidelines, the following types of petitions are categorized as non-actionable petitions.
- Petitions not directly addressed to the PM or the PMO, but only a copy is endorsed to the PM/PMO
- Anonymous petitions
- Unsigned petitions
- Petitions containing frivolous suggestions (Decision whether it is frivolous or not will be taken after the approval of Under Secretary (Public))
- Petitions containing comments without any specific grievance
- Letters written in foul indecent language
- Meaningless letters which are vague in nature
- Requests for nomination to different commissions, bodies, routine request for awards, routine requests for jobs, request for financial assistance
- Request for free/concession tickets
- Letters from foreigners highlighting India’s international matters
- Letters asking for favours like the following items
- Routine requests for admission to schools/colleges
- Routine requests for agency/dealership
- Routine requests for shop/kiosk/Tehbazari etc
- Routine request for allotment of land/house/flat etc
Only four different types of petitions are considered as actionable petitions.
- Petition containing specific grievances
- Petitions alleging corruption in any Ministry/Department/ Organization of Government of India/ State Government or any public servant
- Petitions containing significant suggestions
- Petitions seeking appointment with the PM
As per the guidelines, in case of a doubt about categorization of any petition, the Under Secretary (Public) will decide if it’s to be acted upon or not.
What happens then?
As per the guidelines, all non-actionable petitions are filed and no acknowledgement is sent to the petitioner. But in case of actionable petitions, the following actions are taken.
- All actionable petitions highlighting specific grievances are forwarded to the concerned Secretaries/ Chief Secretaries of the Ministries/ State Governments. Reports may be called on petitions containing grievances which are severe in nature.
- In case of any complaint regarding corruption, the same is sent through the Under Secretary (Public) to the sectoral officer in charge of Anti-Corruption unit of PMO, who will in turn decide on one of the following courses of action
- Complaint may be filed in the public wing
- Complaint will be examined in the PMO or
- Complaint may be forwarded to the concerned Ministry/Department/State Government through the public wing directly
- All such petitions which have been decided as significant by the Under Secretary (Public), will be sent to the sectoral officer who will decide on one of the following courses of action
- Send it back to the public wing for filing or
- Forward it to the concerned Secretaries/ Chief Secretaries of the Ministries/ State Governments through the public wing. If the suggestions pertain to various ministries in the Government of India, then the petition may be sent to the Cabinet Secretary for appropriate action through the public wing or
- Process on file the suggestion in the PMO
- Petitions requesting for appointment with the PM received in the public wing are sent to the Personal Section for taking a decision
- A copy of the petition which is forwarded to the concerned Ministry/Department/Organization of Government of India/State Government will also be endorsed to the petitioner as acknowledgement.
How many such petitions does the PMO receive?
Though the latest information is not available, a total of 1,07,775 petitions were received in the public wing in the 18 month period between 1st May 2013 and 31st October 2014. This is an average of 6000 petitions a month or 200 such petitions a day.