Smarting from Haryana LS poll setback, BJP govt. launches drive to resolve public grievances

Daily camps to be held across State for on-the-spot resolution of complaints related to e-initiatives, Property ID, land registration, no dues certificates from local bodies, social welfare pensions, ration card, and public distribution system

Published - June 16, 2024 01:24 am IST - GURUGRAM

Patient hearing: Gurugram Deputy Commissioner Nishant Yadav at a ‘Samadhan Shivir’ in the city.

Patient hearing: Gurugram Deputy Commissioner Nishant Yadav at a ‘Samadhan Shivir’ in the city. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

With widespread public resentment over the Haryana government’s e-initiatives being cited as one of the factors for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s dismal show in the Lok Sabha election, the Nayab Saini-led regime has decided to focus on quick resolution of public grievances in the run-up to the Assembly poll due later this year.

Despite changing the Chief Minister just before the general election to consolidate the OBC vote and abate the anti-incumbency sentiment, the BJP lost five out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in the State to the Congress, and its vote share dipped from 58% in 2019 to 46% in 2024.

Several e-initiatives introduced by Mr. Saini’s predecessor, Manohar Lal, to achieve the State government’s vision of “paperless” delivery of services had been marred by large-scale discrepancies in user details, causing inconvenience to people. Sensing public ire over the poor implementation of the e-initiatives, the Opposition had made it a poll issue.

Taking a dig at the State government, Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda had termed it “Portals Ki Sarkar” and vowed to scrap the ‘Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP)’, a platform to create verified and reliable data of all families in Haryana, and the “Meri Fasal Mera Byora” programme, which provides multiple services to farmers through a single portal, if voted to power.

Though Mr. Lal has vehemently defended the e-initiatives and described them as stepping stones to curb corruption and ensure doorstep delivery of services, BJP leaders and workers partly put the blame on the poor implementation of these online programmes for the party’s poor show during the post-poll evaluation.

A BJP worker said he noted that people in the Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency were unhappy over lack of civic amenities and frequent power outages, and demanded the scrapping of PPP during the election campaign for the party’s Lok Sabha candidate, Rao Inderjit Singh.

In a tight contest, Mr. Singh registered his fourth straight win from the seat, defeating the Congress’s actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar by 75,079 votes. However, the victory margin of Mr. Singh, who had defeated the Congress’s Captain Ajay Yadav by over 3,86,000 votes in 2019, was reduced this time.

At meetings to review the BJP’s performance, there were even suggestions to take up these initiatives offline for a few months before the Assembly election to contain public anger. Sensing the urgency, the government announced on June 9 that ‘Samadhan Shivirs (Resolution Camps)’ will be held every working day from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the district and subdivision levels for people to seek redressal for their grievances.

“It shall be the endeavour of the administration to resolve each and every public grievance presented in the ‘Samadhan Shivir’ as far as possible. People can put up any grievances in these camps, including those related to Property ID, PPP, land registration, no dues certificates from local bodies, map approval from municipal committees, social welfare pensions, ration card, and public distribution system, besides complaints related to crime, power, irrigation, and public health,” said Chief Secretary T.V.S.N. Prasad while announcing the launch of the initiative.

He also announced the setting up of a ‘Samadhan Parkosth (Resolution Cell)’ at his office in Chandigarh for day-to-day monitoring of the ‘Samadhan Shivirs’, with officials required to submit daily progress reports with details of the complaints received and resolved. While the resolution cell would work on policy-related issues pertaining to these complaints, the camps would take care of the administrative hurdles, he said.

Speaking to The Hindu over phone, Mr. Prasad said the grievance resolution programme has been receiving an “extremely good” response within a few days of its launch.

The Chief Secretary’s office said of the 4,802 complaints received at the camps organised across the State so far, 1,362 have been resolved.

“The officials of all departments concerned have been directed to be present at these camps for immediate resolution. It also ensures better inter-department coordination. The issues involving any policy gaps or budget allocation would be taken up at the cell level,” Mr. Prasad said. He added that PPP was a “good IT initiative” but there were some teething troubles in its implementation and those would be set right soon.

Gurgaon Additional Deputy Commissioner Hitesh Meena told mediapersons that the complaints received at the daily district camps pertained to all departments, but a majority of them were related to PPP and Property IDs. He said the department concerned would be given 24 hours to seven days to resolve the complaints and special camps will be organised across the State for people to air their grievances regarding PPP.

‘Admission of failure’

Reacting to the government’s latest initiative, Mr. Hooda said it was actually an “admission of failure” by the BJP government and came a little too late as the party has been in power for the past 10 years. “The PPP is actually ‘Permanent Pareshani Patra’, causing constant hassle to the people. Same is the case with ‘Mera Fasal Mera Byora’ and other e-initiatives as most of these portals don’t function properly, adding to people’s woes,” he said.

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