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Right To Customer Service (RTCS) by Recognizing Citizens as Customers of Government Services
Emerging Service Scenario

The demand for services has been growing at an exponential rate. Sticking to the conventional methods of delivery of services is no longer going to work. In line with the scenario in the developed world, India would witness an unprecedented boom in tools, techniques, processes, procedures and methods to establish a matching service oriented infrastructure and employ able manpower to deliver the services. In view of the foregoing really becoming imminent, the world is moving towards ubiquitous connectivity and an emerging scenario where delivery of services would be increasingly over the broadband as almost all governments have been advised by the UN to invest and deploy the infrastructure to make “broadband for all” a reality.

The service economy is poised for a big boom now in India and by the year 2020, the government would be the single largest service provider in the country. While Right To Broadband (RTB) has been enshrined in NTP 2012 and by 2020, it is expected that at least half the citizens would have access to basic broadband as a bearer service, it is important to think as to how government services scenario towards the citizens would unfold when most of its obligations would be met through the National e Governance Plan (NeGP) and State e Governance Plans (SeGPs) running in parallel with National Broadband Plan (NBP).

There are various constitutional, legal and regulatory provisions existing for infrastructure and bearer services of Telecom, Media and Technology (TMT), apps and services in general and government services in particular do not have any formal framework of delivery of the same as its obligations as per the constitution. Here, it is proposed that Right To Customer Service (RTCS) by treating citizens as customers of government services must be made as a fundamental right of each citizen.

Citizens Turned Customers Scenario in India

Government services to citizens turned customers while creating a true consumer environment turns around the government as a true service provider just like the private ventures. The private consumer companies faithfully get their Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey done every quarter through reputed independent CSAT survey agencies to ascertain the deficiencies in their service delivery and they publish their results internally to their employees. The results are very easy to grasp by various functional departments of the company who have plans in place to improve the shortcomings in the next quarter. Next CSAT survey results reflect the CSAT score and the inter-se rankings of various regional entities of the companies show the progress. This regular exercise keeps the companies striving to improve their service delivery standards to their customers on continuous basis.

Government too has similarly organized entities at national and state level in the form of ministries and departments which are responsible to fulfill their obligations for government services to the citizens. Once, the government decides to treat its citizens as customers, the first impact it creates is in the mind of political leaders, bureaucrats, police, judges and each and every government employee that the beneficiaries of their obligations are the customers and not merely citizens or people. An organized CSAT survey in place giving very meaningful reports every quarter in national dailies, regional dailies, national and regional DD TV channels giving inter-se ranking of ministries, states and departments in their obligations to the citizens turned customers would usher in an era which has a potential to only improve the government services standard. Coupled with similar reward and punishment systems in place as prevalent in service companies, this citizen turned customer environment in the country has a potential to improve the human thinking which would bring continuous improvement in the quality of government services a great deal.

PM’s Declaration to Nation on 26 Jan 2013

Let the honorable PM on 26 Jan 2013 declare that government recognizes that it has its obligations to the citizens and thus has decided to treat the citizens as its valued customers for all government services. In order to make this a national commitment, it has decided to consider a comprehensive Right To Customer Service (RTCS) as a fundamental right of the citizens to enjoy superior quality of all government services. In one year’s time, it would put the necessary charter and mechanism in place to implement the RTCS. Let 26 Jan 2013 start an era of supplier and customer type relationship between government and citizens and striving to achieve excellence in customer service, the whole working environment in government ministries and departments undergoes a historical and paradigm shift only to the benefit of the entire population of the country.

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