Wednesday, February 20, 2013

e-registration of FIR and other reports/applications/complaintss

Living in a village has given me a good idea of the difficulties faced by the rural population in making themselves heard by the officials who matter, be it registration of  FIR  or filing of an application for something which they are entitled to or a complaint  about non-receipt of some benefit or some service that they are entitled to. Therefore, e-registration of reports/applications/complaints can be a major step in empowerment of the common man, particularly those who live in the remote  areas.
A person who needs some official assistance or feels aggrieved on some issue needs, first of all, advice whether he is right to think what he thinks and secondly, if he is right, then, which departmentl to contact. Such advice is not easily available  and therefore, the first thing that needs to be done is to nominate and train some people who live in the villages as counsellors:  the 'Sarpanch' and the secretary of the village panchayat and the head master and other teachers  of the  schools in the vicinity would be the natural choices for this job. The second requirement is that all the departments of the govt ( or at least departments like revenue, police,forest, social-welfare, agriculture) should be covered by this scheme and each department should name a nodal officer, who should receive, directly from the applicant or his counsellor, the report/application/complaint, register it, acknowledge it , give it a registration number  and forward it to the appropriate official in his department for action. (In the case of Police, the nodal officer should be a law-officer attached to the S.P., and he should direct the SHO to register an FIR in every appropriate case). Thereafter, if there is any query, the nodal officer should find out the status from the official concerned (which would also serve  as a reminder to the official) and communicate it to the applicant. This way, it would be possible for a common man to make himself heard and to ascertain what action has been taken in his case, without making expensive and time-consuming trips to the district head-quarters and generally running around in circles.