Thursday, February 12, 2009

Goa and the citizens charter

In the Goa of yesteryears there was hardly any "Babudom". Things  were not as bad as they happen to be today where government officials make Goans dance to their tunes for issuing any documents, passing files or certifying plans.

Many of my friends have migrated to other countries with the single frustration of "babudom" in Goa ,which frustrated their lives so much that they decided to bid goodbye to Goa for good.

Some like myself have however reconciled to be in Goa for the rest of our lives for the sole love of this place. However "babus" in various government departments in Goa have always left me indignant and angry sometimes in futility. My anger has often resulted in stalemates of various procedures due to my outbursts against these people who simply delay files, stop issuing licences , subdue documents etc or seek some unholy compensation to do the job as if their salaries were unpaid for years.

This malaise is almost across all government departments and is not restricted to some alone. It has spread like a disease and it is consuming lives of Goans most willingly.

In recent times I had an incident where I had to get a marriage certificate from the civil registrars office and the concerned clerk had set his own set of rules to issue such certificates, instructing citizens to return back for the certificates after an agonising 7 days. while I relented to his non-negotiable wishes I was in for a surprise as even after 10 days when I approached him one morning, he denied me the certificate which was already signed and in ready condition, citing his self appointed issuing time to be in the evening.

Since I needed the certificate instantly on the 10th day morning, I pleaded in asking him for a favour and issue me in the morning. But he blankly refused.

What followed next was a revolution. I was livid. But I said nothing to this " Babu". All I told him was that I would get to the bottom of the matter of issuing such certificates. In my sudden gush of anger and disgust, I left my urgent work aside and rushed instead to the office of the state registrar in Panjim and sought the citizens charter which clearly stipulates the time required of government officials to issue such certificates.

To my pleasant surprise I discovered that such certificates are compulsorily to be issued on the same day or three days maximum and there was no time stipulated to issue such documents which meant that the concerned clerk was acting on his own whims and fancies.

Armed with a copy of this citizens charter, I returned back to seek explanations from the clerk who had none to give. I brought this anomaly to the notice of the sub-registrar who himself seemed clueless with few answers. However after their profuse apologies, I dropped the matter and did not proceed on the same to the higher authorities.

I am writing this post to educate Goans about the citizens charter. It is a powerful document for every citizen not to be cowed down by the antics and useless tantrums of government employees   from all government departments  who force their own rules on citizens who dont know their rights. There is a citizens charter for every department to follow and they have to follow it. if they dont we can approach the public grievance officer of that department or use the "right to information" tool to good effect.

From the fire department, to the civil registrar, to the police and the health department every one has a guideline to follow. It is our duty to remind them that we know of these guidelines. Else they will make merry at our cost.

For those who want to know more about the citizens charter it is also available online. Just search in Google for "citizens charter, goverment of Goa"  and you will get this site :

 Just click on that site and you will get the citizens charters you want for every government department.

Dont be fooled by these Babus.Just beat them at their own game.

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