Citizen Charter

Mains Marks Booster     1st August 2023        
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  • Meaning: A voluntary written document known as the Citizen's Charter outlines the steps the service provider has made to concentrate on their commitment to meeting the requirements of the citizens/customers.
  • Origin: Former British Prime Minister John Major introduced the idea of a citizen's charter in 1991.

Citizen charter in India

Citizen charter in India

    • The concept of a citizen's charter was first adopted in India in May 1997 at the "Conference of Chief Ministers of various States and Union Territories" in the national capital.
    • Nodal agency: The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances oversees citizen charter coordination, formulation, and implementation (DARPG).
      • The DARPG website lists more than 700 charters ratified by Indian government agencies.
    • Making a law: Citizens' Right to Timely Goods and Services Delivery and Grievance Redress Bill, 2011 (Citizens Charter) was presented to Lok Sabha in December 2011.
    • However, as a result of the Lok Sabha's dissolution in 2014, the bill expired.
    • Not legally Binding: Citizens' charters are not binding legal contracts. They are only recommendations to improve the provision of services to citizens.

    Components of the Citizen's Charter

    Components of the Citizen's Charter

    • The mission and vision statements of the organisation.
    • Information on the organization's operations and other relevant information.
    • Describe who the clients and citizens are.
    • Description of citizen services, including availability, quality, and other factors.
    • Mechanisms for resolving disputes.
    • Citizen/client expectations.
    • Additional duties, such as reimbursement for poor service.

    Characteristics of Citizens' Charter

    • Specifies precise requirements for the provision of services
      • The criteria must be quantifiable, time-bound, pertinent, precise, and correct.
    • Provides comprehensive information about the services in plain language, including what services are provided, what degree of quality to anticipate, how to file a complaint, etc.
    • The charter should offer a variety of services.
    • Regular consultations with stakeholders, including customers, should set quality standards.
    • It should encourage politeness and helpfulness among service provider employees.

    The difficulties encountered in establishing Citizen's Charters in India:

    The difficulties encountered in establishing Citizen's Charters in India
    • Merely formalities: There is no participation from personnel or people, and the entire exercise is carried out because it is a directive from the top.
    • Inadequate staff training results in the charter being merely created and not properly implemented.
    • Unrealistic charters are sometimes drafted and the charters are not updated on a regular basis.
    • The citizen's charter is not legally binding and it is not widely known among the general public.
    • No consultation with stakeholders: Service providers draught charters without client input.
    • Ineffective implementation: Officers and field personnel have different hierarchies, which hinders cooperation and motivation.

    2nd ARC Recommendations:

    • Citizen’s Charters should be made effective by adopting the following principles:
             2nd ARC Recommendations
    • One size does not fit all,
    • Citizen’s Charter should be prepared for each independent unit under the overall umbrella of the organization’s charter,
    • Wide consultation which include civil society in the process,
    • Firm commitments to be made
    • Internal process and structure should be reformed to meet the commitments given in the Charter
    • Redress mechanism is case of default
    • Periodic evaluation of Citizen’s Charters
    • Benchmark using end-user feedback
    • Hold officers accountable for results


    • Meaning: The word, Sevottam is a combination of two Hindi words: 'Seva' (service) and 'Uttam' (excellence). The 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) established Sevottam model, a generic framework for achieving excellence in public service delivery. It was created with the overarching goal of increasing the country's public service delivery quality.
    • Objectives: To address the shortcomings of Citizen Charters (CC) and to provide a framework for assessing and improving the quality-of-service delivery to citizens. 
    • Origin: It was conceived in 2006 by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions' Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).

    Three components of Sevottam model:

    • Citizens' Charters - first component
    • Public Grievance System - Second component 
    • Service Delivery Excellence - Third component

    2nd ARC Seven Step Model for Citizen Centricity:

    1. Define all services which you provide and identify your clients
    2. Set standards and norms for each service
    3. Develop capability to meet the set standards
    4. Perform to achieve the standards
    5. Monitor performance against the set standards.
    6. Evaluate the impact through an independent mechanism
    7. Continuous improvement based on monitoring and evaluation of results

    The following are the important success factors for the Sevottam model:

    • This concept requires organisation and implementation agency commitment and passion.
    • Stakeholder involvement will also determine success.
    • Performance management must replace "administrative management" for the government and other interested parties.
    • Adequate institutional frameworks must be in place for the Sevottam model to be adopted on a big scale. 


    • The model measures Indian Public Sector Organizations' service quality, but its success depends on the highest administrative levels' commitment to this activity. The Sevottam model will foster healthy competition to improve service delivery in the country.
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