[Polity] Citizens’ Charter Bill 2011: Salient Features, Issues, Criticism explained

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  1. What is a Citizens’ charter?
  2. Components of a Citizens’ Charter:
  3. Advantages of Citizen charter?
  4. Indian Experience
  5. Recommendations of 2nd ARC:
  6. Citizens’ Charter Bill 2011: Salient Features
  7. Grievance Redressal Mechanism:
  8. Penalty
  9. Criticism
  10. Mock Questions

Citizens’ Charter & The Right of Citizens’ For Time Bound Delivery of Goods & Services & Redressal of Their Grievances Bill 2011

What is a Citizens’ charter?

  • You may have seen the Dominos Pizza Ad: delivery in 30 minutes otherwise free.
  • Citizen charter is a similar concept- applied to public organizations.
  • Basically a public organization will write on a paper “we provide this this and this services with this this and this time limit. If you don’t get the service within that time, contact xyz officer.”
  • Such written document is called citizens’ charter. You can see citizen charters in the websites of almost all union ministries, PSUs, and Public sector banks. click me to see the citizens’ charter of Environment Ministry.
  • Prime Minister John Major introduced the first citizens’ charter in early 1990s in UK.

Components of a Citizens’ Charter:

  1. Vision –mission statement
  2. The list of services delivered. Names and contanct numbers of officials responsible. Grievances redressal mechanism, in case service is not delivered.
  3. List of responsibilities of the citizens in the context of the charter. (that you’re supposed to bring this this and this documents if you want to get xyz service in time.)

Advantages of Citizen charter?

  1. He can avail services in a time bound manner.
  2. Will not have to depend on the mercy of the bureaucracy.
  3. He will not have to face long delays due to red tape.
  4. For a passport, a birth or death certificate, a driving licence or a ration card, Aam Aadmi need not have to sweat it out. There will not be any need to grease palms of corrupt officials.
  5. He can seek compensation for undue delay in delivery of service.
  6. For ex: In Europe people are compensated if the train gets delayed.
  7. Basic thrust of Citizens Charter is to make public services citizen centric by ensuring that these services are demand driven rather than supply driven.

Indian Experience

Citizens Charter

Why do we need Citizens Charter?

At the central level, Ministry of Personnel> Department of Administrative Reforms. This department helps other organizations to formulate the citizens’ charters. However, 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission found following problems with Citizens’ charters in India:

  1. Measurable standards of delivery are rarely spelt out in the charter.
  2. Standards are poorly defined, it becomes tough to assess whether the desired level of service has been achieved or not.
  3. Most charters are verbose. (containing too many words).
  4. Promises contained in the Charter were vague and meaningless. (like those stupid vision and mission statements.)
  5. If the service is not delivered then very hard for citizen to get compensatation. (he has to make trip to this office and that office, bring this Xerox and that receipt.)
  6. Citizen Charters are not revised with time.
  7. The needs of senior citizens and disabled are not considered while drafting charters.
  8. Resistance to change.
  9. Lack of Public Awareness.
  10. End Users (public) & NGOs are not consulted when the charters are drafted.

Recommendations of 2nd ARC:

  1. The Charters should clearly spell out the remedy / penalty / compensation in case there is a default in meeting the standards spelt out in the Charter.
  2. better give a few promises that can be kept, rather than a long list of lofty but impractical aspirations!
  3. Before the organization makes charter, it should restructure its internal system and processes.
  4. One size does not fit all. Citizens’ Charter should be close to ground reality and local conditions.
  5. Consult all the stakeholders before finalizing the charter (including civil society).
  6. Firm Commitments should be made. There must be redressal mechanism should be citizen friendly..
  7. Organization should evaluate the Citizens’ charters periodically.
  8. Hold officers accountable for results.

Citizens’ Charter Bill 2011: Salient Features

Full name

The Right of Citizens’ For Time Bound Delivery of Goods & Services & Redressal of Their Grievances Bill 2011.

Applies to?

  1. The Bill deals with government departments that deal directly with citizens: they include
  2. Constitutional bodies,
  3. Statutory authorities,
  4. Public-private partnerships,
  5. NGOs substantially funded by the government and companies that provide services under a statutory obligation.


  1. The Bill makes it mandatory for every public authority to publish a Citizen’s Charter within six months of the commencement of the Act.
  2. Every citizen is given right to get time bound delivery of goods and services.
  3. If not delivered, there is redressal mechanism.

According to the bill, citizens’ charters should be in following format:

  1. List the details of the goods and services provided by a public authority;
  2. The name of the person or agency responsible for providing the goods or services;
  3. The time frame within which such goods or services have to be provided;
  4. The category of people entitled to the goods and services; and
  5. Details of the complaint redressal mechanism.
Here are examples
Name of service designated officer time limit for service first appeal officer time limit for disposal second appellant authority
Domicile certificate, land records. Tehsildar 7 days SDO (Revenue) 15 days Collector
New Electricity Connection Zolan distribution in charge 10 days Executive Engineer 30 days Superintendent Engineer

Public Grievance Redressal Commissions

Bill aims to establish Public Grievance Redressal Commissions @Centre and State level.

Strength 1 Chief Commissioner + a maximum number of 10 Commissioners.
  1. Present or former Supreme Court judges or Chief Justices of a High Court (district court judges for 10 years, or High Court judges); or
  2. Present or former Secretaries to the central (state) government;
  3. Eminent persons with at least 20 years of experience in social sectors with a post graduate degree in a relevant sector.(15 years for state panel)
Appointed by
  1. Governor (in state Commission)
  2. President (in Central Commission)

But President /Governor will make appointments as per the recommendations of select Committee. The select Committee will consist of

Union level

State level

Leader of opposition in Lok Sabha In Legislative assembly (Vidhan Sabha)
Sitting just of SC Of HC

The Commissioners may be removed by an order of the President /Governor under certain conditions.

Grievance Redressal Mechanism:

In right to information Act, the mechanism/ structure / hierarchy is:

R.T.I structure What?
Public information officer (PIO) (Central or State) You send R.T.I application to him. He must give information within 30 days.
First Appellant authority (FAA) He is an officer above the rank of PIO.You approach him if your R.T.I is not replied within 30 days (or if PIO did not give you the necessary information).
Central/State Information Commissioner (CIC or SIC) Finally you can appeal to him in case FAA doesn’t help.

Similar appeal structure is provided in Citizens’ Charter bill

R.T.I act 2005 Citizen charter bill 2011
Public information officer (PIO) Grievance Redress Officers (GRO). You send your complaint to him. He must address the issue within 30 days.
First Appellant authority (FAA) Designated Authority (DA), if GRO doesn’t help.
Central/State Information Commissioner (CIC or SIC) State or Central Public Grievances Redressal Commission. If DA doesn’t help.

In relation to an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, a third appeal against the decision of the Commissions shall lie with the Lokpal or the Lokayukta.


  • DA and Commission can impose fine of Max.Rs.50000 to concerned officials/GRO.
  •  The penalty shall be recovered from the salary of the official. Such penalty may be awarded as compensation to the appellant.


#1: Against federal Spirit

  • (BJP says) Yet Citizens’ charter bill provides for GRO and Grievances Commission @state and central level.  But Parliament doesn’t not have jurisdiction to enact such law. Because 7th schedule of constitution->State list ->State Public services (Entry 41).
  • It means, only State legislature has jurisdiction to make laws regarding state public services.
  • More than ten states have already enacted a Citizen Charter Act or Public Services Guarantee Act in their respective states.
  • The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh have their own laws in place.
  • Many of ^these state laws have provisions that are much better than the proposed Bill.
  • The Central government can and should enact Citizen Charter for central services but should not encroach upon the states’ domain. At best, the Centre can suggest a model law.
  • However, the Ministry of personnel affairs, defends this bill saying “Provisions of the Bill relate to ‘actionable wrongs’ which comes under the concurrent list.”

#2: Duplication of work

  • Several states such as Delhi, Punjab and Bihar have also enacted their own grievance redressal laws. The mechanism provided under these laws is different from that provided under the Bill.
  • So this will lead to duplication of work and organizations.
  • Similarly, MNREGA Act, RTE Act, National Food Security Bill, 2011, and the Public Procurement Bill, 2012 also have their own grievances redressal forums. = duplication.
  • Similar to R.T.I act, this bill also applies to organizations funded by Government. (e.g. Air India, Public Sector Banks, LIC.) However, if those organizations donot provide services on time, the matter also falls under jurisdiction of consumer courts, Banking ombudsman, IRDA respectively= lot of duplication.
  • So it seems Government hasn’t done the homework, they just want to pass a bill to divert peoples’ attention from more important issue, that is Lokpal.

#3: Autonomy
According to the bill, the commissioners may be removed without judicial inquiry. This is unheard of!
#4: Lokpal yet to come
Government officials intentionally delay the service delivery because they want to demand bribe. So the whole Citizen charter thing is incomplete, without Lokpal and Lokayukta.
#5: Exclusion of Non Citizens:
Only Citizens can seek redressal, NRI & PIO are not entitled.
#6: Distribution of responsibility
For example, if a passport is held up because the police verification took too long, should the passport office be responsible? Or should the police be held responsible? Bill is silent over the issue, this will only lead to blame games and further delays while seeking redressal.

Mock Questions

Q1.Find Correct statements about Citizen Charter

  1. It is a document listing the fundamental rights and duties of citizens.
  2. Citizens’ charter was first introduced in United States by President Nixon.
  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both
  4. None

Q2. Which of the following is not part of the Concurrent list under 7th schedule?

  1. Actionable wrongs
  2. Bankruptcy
  3. Lunacy
  4. Fisheries.

Mains GS2

  1. Right to information and right to service (citizens’ charter) should be turned into fundamental rights under the Constitution. Discuss the pros and cons of such Constitutional amendment.

Mains GS4 (Ethics)

  1. Define following terms (2 marks each)
    1. Citizens’ charter
    2. Transparency
    3. Accountability
    4. Good governance
  2. Write a note on the salient features of Citizens’ Charter bill 2011.
  3. Right to information and right to service, are pre-requisite for good governance. Comment.
  4. What are the major impediments in implementing Citizens’ Charter? List the recommendations of 2nd ARC in this regard.
  5. If implemented properly, Citizens Charter will have more positive impact on the lives of citizens than RTI. Comment.


  1. This citizens’ charter bill provides for deadlines and hefty penalties. Don’t you think it will lead to mistakes and errors on part of lower bureaucracy, when they try to finish things in haste/fear?
  2. Instead of having  two parallel streams: R.T.I and Citizens’ charter, they should be merged and a new combined law should be created. Yes/No why?
  3. Apart from right to food, education, service, information and all those other fundamental rights listed in Constitution, can you suggest any new rights that should be introduced?
  4. Opposition parties say that Citizen charter bill encroaches upon on the jurisdiction of state legislature and hence against the spirit of fedaralism. Agree / Disagree? Why?

For more articles on [Polity], visit Mrunal.org/polity


  1. Major inputs from Mr.Palas Nuwal.
  2. 2nd ARC: 12th Report Citizen Centric Administration
  3. PRSIndia.org
  4. Economic Times
  5. Indian Express
  6. BJP press statement
Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

85 Comments on “[Polity] Citizens’ Charter Bill 2011: Salient Features, Issues, Criticism explained”

  1. 1-d

    Thanks for the article sir !

  2. Answer:

    1. (d)
    2. (d)

  3. Nice one!
    plz provide info on LAND ACQUISITION BILL.
    Thank you

  4. ‘->’…wats its meaning..pls tel

    1. In general parlance, it means “implies”. Say A -> B ( A implies B).
      In the above article, it means the department is under ministry of “xyz”.

  5. Mrunal can i get some insight regarding ur journey as a civil service aspirant??i tried searching as someone had suggested in the blog but i couldnt get it..

    1. He left the game in 2010. Read somewhere correction by UPSC was not as expected in his case.

      1. thanx rahul for the response…actually i wanted to know how come a person with so much of knowledge and and more importantly having skills of presentation couldn’t clear UPSC ? Mrunal i want a copy of ur short biography if u hav any…and sorry if i am pestering u repeatedly…

        1. I am also searching for it…

      2. he had shot at mains in 2009. that was the last. Mrunal has mentioned many times that he is not an UPSC Aspirant..
        Ref: Indianofficers.com

  6. Succinct… Thank you


    1. Mrunal Sir is already into writing the mains strategy. But to give a fine touch to the minutest details, it will take some time.
      Please be patient. It will soon be out.

      1. thanks…eagerly waiting for it…

  8. 1)d

    Nice article

  9. Plz write on new strtagy for mains thank u

  10. That is what I am waiting for,
    Thank you Mrunal, we owe you…

  11. I hope mrunal sir atleast takes a month and comes up with a strategy helps us to crack the code of upsc…any haste as some people are suggesting him to do will be counter-productive and would eventualy prove catastrophic…sir please take your time!!

  12. Sir I have a doubt is it enough to read NIOS and IGNOU material for Indian Culture or do we need more books to read along. If yes then which are such books specifically focused on UPSC syllabus??
    Please reply Help me out Mrunal sir…-Aashay

    1. have you read spectrum indian culture?

  13. goodmorning sir if i am thorough with all ur articles is it possible to clear prelims i find them more interesting than TMH manual

    1. people have a habit of expecting too much … i know his articles are good but that should not prevent you from putting your own efforts …

      1. hey Mr IITian u seem to replying to many of the troubles of the aspirants, and ur advice is good. so help me also. suggest a good book on world geography, except majid husian.

        1. see.. as far as i can remember i have already read world physical goegraphy from my class 6,7,8 ICSE geography boook … in our class 6,7,8 geography books we used to have chapters like Africa : physical features …two three chapters for every continent … for GS we dont need to go into too much detail … and dont think that these books are for 6,7,8 so their content is inferior or something ….combined these 3 books would be around 250 pages …but you can read them very quickly as they have lots of pictures and maps… i think thats enough ..

    2. and remember the syllabus says salient features of world physical geography … not world geography

      1. hi mr.IITian you seem to be nice. would u plese tell what to read on ethics and integrity and polity too.

        1. sorry chokuva … i am no mrunal …i m just a third year btech student .. i m clueless about ethics and integrity … as i have enough time , i will wait untill a proper strategy is in place for ethics paper …. if you find something , do tell me …

  14. Eminent persons with at least 20 years (15 years)?????? of experience in social sectors with a post graduate degree in a relevant sector. is it 20 or 15 what it implies

  15. mrunal sir please tell me, is this act (citizen charter) applies to lenovo, dell or hcl which provide service to customers for their hardwares and computers???

    1. no. But they fall under consumer protection act.

      1. Iam not able to login Forum…. help me out

  16. Thanks Mrunal sir …. This article appreciate it…!!!

  17. sir isme “sitting JUDGE of SC” na hoga union level me?

  18. mogambow khush hua……..

    1. sir please provide a write up on “ecology and environmrnt”

  19. can u suggest the list of books for prelims and genreal studies mains separetly

  20. Mrunal sir will you plz guide us how to tackle with new syllabus?

  21. i wonder if anyone would share their experience regarding prepration of indian culture … how we are supposed to remember so many dances , paintings and their features …. i have read culture from spectrum but i m unable to gain confidence …. do other aspirants face similar problems when it comes to culture ???????

    1. IITian,

      That is the issue. I can tell tricks of mnemonics or making data into concise tables and to remember them but you will give up. You should want to know the varied cultures and diversity of India. If inside you feel like you are reading these “only for exam”, it will be tough.

      Make a change in perception. Take an active interest in them.

      Think why it was included in the syllabus?
      Why are such art forms varied?
      How have they been changing?
      What is their significance to the way of life as we know it?

      “Theatricality and deception” – the principles of drama taken from our epics have been used consistently in Hollywood super hero films like The Dark Knight. Get really interested in them!

      1. thanx rahul .. i will try my best to follow your advice … but the questions like explaining the features of moatsu dance of nagaland or diff b/w xyz dances of arunachal pradesh .. even if by putting tremendous efforts one learns whole of spectrum than also we cant answere such question as they are not covered ………. so can we assume that questions like these are meant to be left …..

        1. IITian,

          There are times when an officer gets 1000 files a day. You think he can do his job if he takes care of every single detail? Concentrate on the crux and important aspects. Don’t go too much into technicality. There WILL be some things that needs to be remembered. It’s your wisdom to know what they are. Those things can be underlined and revised when needed. That way you will cover the important aspects of “any subject/topic” plus your underlines notes revision will help in remembering the things. Boom. The whole thing won’t appear scary anymore.

      2. i have started my prep. 2 months back only. can i clear exam this year?i heard that exam takes 2-3 yrs. to clear. is it true?i am reading ARIHANTH-HISTORY,WIZARD GEOGRAPHY,POLITY-LAXMIKANTH,ECONOMY-MRUNAL’S&RAMESH SINGH, ENVIRONMENT-ERAC BHARUCH. as mentioned above is it necessary to read all dancing types. i didn’t find any of the qnz in previous papers.i don’t have any acess to coaching. i didn’t read hindu news paper for long time. do i have any siurse to get them now. plz reply…….

        1. dude dont take it as a offence … just embrace the reality … you started prepration two months earlier and the only case you can clear this year is that you are in a position to clear prelims at this point….. ie if i give you prelims papers today you should be able to score cut off marks …assuming its true you will have to prepare one optional = will take much time … atlest 3 months…plus you have to get an indepth understanding of current issues + old mains gs syllabus+ newly added topics + how can we forget ethics paper + essay ( dont think it does not require prepration) ++++++++ =+++++ there is much more …. so overall you will have to work very very very hard if u want to clear this time ….. i dont want to discourage anyone and i cant comment on someone’s personal abilities but i would personally suggest you to target 2014 exam …

          1. thankq u, do i have to change the books ?

        2. Dont waste an attempt. Only give the Prelims if u feel that u can clear it.
          Rest it upto u and ur hard work .

          Its a War not a Battle.

          1. s i know i am already 26, @ i have 4 attempts only. nevertheless i attempt or not i should have to lost 1 attempt. that’s why i am doing this year . yup i do agree my prep. is of late.

        3. Pavan, paper – 2 is the game changer. Paper – 1 is difficult for many 1st time aspirants. Concentrate on the important things like geography, polity and history ( modern only ) and try to read from good material. Can’t do that too? Take any manual, the questions given at the back, tick the answers beforehand and learn the concepts concerning them. This not advisable in long-run, but if you want to maximize your scoring, do that. Though it is assumed you do exceedingly well in paper – 2, around 150-160 marks.

          Paper – 1 : 70
          paper – 2 : 160.

          MIGHT do the trick.

          I am mentioning it again, this should be used as a last resort if you are late to enter the game. Else if you can, skip the attempt and prepare well for the next year. The choice should always be yours, not myne or anyone else’s advice :-)

          1. thank you rahul ji, but wether i am reading good material or not.suggest me any changes in the books.

          2. you saId manual . does it mean TMH?

    2. i would like to share some of the things i do.
      I stay up in Gurgaon , so i try to go to all the cultural places and happenings in New delhi and other nearby areas.

      Like there was SurajKund mela just held in Feb . AKademis keep on having their cultural dramas,Music concerts etc every month.(sahityas,Lalit,sangeet etc.)
      I basically go for photography and now have developed an interest in Drama and Theatre too.
      Handicraft and Dances always give me good chance of photography and hence inculcated these interests.
      I feel the best way to learn such things is to feel them.
      Try going to such places once or twice ,if u feel that u are gaining out of visiting places , i guess the problem is solved.

      Its a War not a Battle.

      1. i really appreciate your intrest in cultural things…your strategy is good for interview questions …..but as i said we cant go to nagaland to get a feeling of their festivals…we cant go for “BHARAT DARSHAN” for studying culture…

  22. Mrunal bhai,

    I can see that there is a lot of pressure on you to suggest the strategy for new pattern of mains. If anyone needs to publish citizens charter, then thats you. Tell us exactly when you are coming out with an article and also a proper redressal mechanism. . .

    Just kidding bhai :-)

  23. can u tell me abt preference shares n its norms by SEBI?

    1. Preference shares are also shares of a company but with these features:

      *Preferred shareholders always receive their dividends first(that is before the ordinary share holders). As the name suggests, preference is given to them.

      *If company goes bankrupt,preferred stakeholders are paid off before common stakeholders.
      *They do not have any voting rites in Annual meetings of shareholders of a Company(in this regard they lack power in comparison to an ‘AAM SHAREHOLDER’)
      * But their dividend doesn’t fluctuate like that of common shareholders..For Eg. they have kind of fixed rate of interest and their dividend is independent of company’s profit or loss margins….

      Regarding the SEBI new guidelines. Now it has allowed issuance of preference shares on stock exchanges. It is the crux of the issue,there is otherwise a long list of SEBI’s guidelines released.

      Anyone can help to improve this answer.

  24. The following statement made by UPSC is “”the most important””

    The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding
    of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.
    The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be
    such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. The questions
    will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for
    a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant
    issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio- economic goals, objectives and demands.
    The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.

    Just keep lingering your thoughts on this statement and try to comprehend this by ourselves.. till bhaiya come out with strategy…

  25. Thanks a lot sir…for this article….and one more favor from you…. that is please put the article about the history modern india.

  26. hello iitian can you please tell me which publication book should be preferred for icse geography books.as there are many writers book avilable in the market.please suggest me
    thank you

  27. Dear sir
    I have one query why the so called RTI extension bill ( citizen charter) doesn’t have any provision to go to Courts against the Commission order.
    As with the case with RTI many queries are not answered and even after commission order so is their any provision in RTI also to go to Courts(SC/HC) against CIC/SIC ineffectiveness.

  28. Abhishek,

    Technicalities apart, courts are over burdened. Focused approach towards solving them requires separate “tribunals” or “appellate authority” in this case being the GRO. No, there is no provision to go to courts against CIC/SIC ineffectiveness etc. ( Though that can be debated upon the report submitted by the CIC to president who makes it table it in Parliament )

    This quote is direct verbatim from RTI act “No court shall entertain any suit, application or other proceeding in respect of any order made under this Act and no such order shall be called in question otherwise than by way of an appeal under this Act.”

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