Online grievance redressal forum
For the district administration in Tamil Nadu, every Monday is designated by Government Orders as “Grievance redressal day”. It helps the ordinary people to directly meet with the District Collector and the entire team of officers of all Government departments, to vent their grievance in writing and also elicit a response from them. It has worked very well in Tamil Nadu. This is in addition to the Mass Contact Programme of the Collector, Local Minister, MLA, MP etc. During Mondays, all officers are supposed to be at headquarters, so as to be available to petitioners and ensure a reply to their petition or grievance. Tamil Nadu is probably the only state in the country, where all officers and the political system are directly accessible to people at all times in the day, and sometimes at nights too! And the system has delivered! The Hon’ble Chief Ministers Special Cell at Secretariat Chennai also caters to petitioners who directly want to petition the Chief Minister. When I was posted as District Collector, Krishnagiri, I realized that if one was effective, more and more people would throng the Monday grievance days. But a fact struck me; that just to meet the collector or his cohorts at the district headquarters, the ordinary poor petitioner had to shell out at least Rs.400 per visit! The days wage loss; Rs.150/-, Coming, going Rs.100;, food Rs.50; and probably a transaction cost Rs.100/-. This realization is what led me to think why not have a grievance redressal system that would allow petitioners to file their petitions/grievance online from the Panchayat offices or browsing centre etc, and the reply can be filed by the DC, Public Grievance Redressal, after collating the response from each department.
A telephonic conversation with Mr.Mohan, then State Information Officer, NIC followed. His extremely positive response is what led to the creation of www.vasathi.in He put Mr.Chakrapani and Ms.Gomathi on the job of developing the application software and site. Thus over a 100 telephone calls and three months, the application was ready. The DIO, NIC Krishnagiri Mr.Sadiq, also played a very important role in the successful development and launch. It was launched without much fanfare, in the presence of the Krishnagiri MP, Mr.Sugavanam on 04.12.2006, barely six months after my taking over as Collector. Every Monday, the application was put online on the large screen, and I would quiz the department heads as to the disposal of the petitions and the quality of their disposal. A few collectors soon took this application up enthusiastically. In 2012, the Hon’ble Chief Minister launched it as a statewide application. It is hosted now at the State Portal www.tn.gov.in