In contemporary society, State plays an important role in socio-economic development. The success of democracy and development depends to a greater extent on the efficiency of the government machinery. However, in the exercise of administrative powers, there is always a possibility of malpractices. This results in public grievances towards the administration. According to Chambers dictionary, grievance means a ‘ground of complaint, a condition felt to be oppressive or wrongful’. In a democracy, people should have the opportunities to ventilate their grievances and a system of redressal. In this unit, we shall be discussing the nature of public grievances and the institutional arrangements for the redressal of the same.
The colonial history and the authoritarian orientation of the Indian administration resulted in the negative attitude of citizens towards the administration. The gap between the performance of the administration and the expectations of the people also created a negative image of the administration. The democratic -aspirations of the people and the authoritarian attitude of administrators produced tensions between the two. The contradictions in the social situation have resulted in inequalities. There is discrimination in the treatment of citizens by the administration. The social gap between the civil servant and the citizen whom he is expected to serve also is a cause for the hostile relationship between the two.
The well-educated urban middle-class civil servants is expected to serve the poor and illiterate rural citizens. This creates a socio-psychological gap between them. Then, there are the chronic delays in getting things done, and innumerable rules and regulations that are not easily comprehensible to ordinary citizens. The cumulative effect of all these factors is the piling up of public grievances against the administration.
Some of the common grievances against administration may be listed as under:
1) Corruption: Demand and acceptance of bribery for doing or not doing things.
2) Favouritism: Doing or not doing things for obliging people in power or people who matter.
3) Nepotism: Helping the people of one’s own kith or kin.
4) Discourtesy: Use of abusive language or other types of misbehaviour.
5) Neglect of Duty: Not doing things that the law requires.
6) Discrimination: Ignoring poor and uninfluential citizens’ genuine complaints.
7) Delay: Not doing things at the appropriate time.
8) Maladministration: Inefficiency in achieving the targets.
9) Inadequate Redressal Machinery: Failure to attend to public complaints against administration.
In addition to the above-mentioned common grievances, there may be specific grievances relating to particular 7 r administrative departments agencies. For example, people have many grievances against the police resorting to third-degree methods like beating, torturing, wrongful confinement or harassment of suspects and witnesses. Fabrication of evidence, nexus between the police and the underworld are some other areas of public grievances against police administration. The grievances against agricultural administration may be mainly related to the quality yd quantity of inputs and services provided to farmers. Though there may be many specific grievances against individual administrative agencies, corruption is the most common among them all. We shall be discussing the public grievances pertaining to corruption along with the machinery for the redressal of the same in the ensuing sections.