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The number of grievances lodged by the public has increased sevenfold in three years, from about two lakh in 2014 to 14 lakh in 2017, the personnel ministry said on Friday. This is due to the prompt response of the department of administrative reforms and public grievances (DARPG), it said. "Now about 99 per cent grievances are being disposed by the DARPG. The average response time to the grievances has been reduced, e.g. in department of revenue, it has reduced from 108 days in 2014 to 25 days this year and similarly in department of telecom, it has reduced from 19 days in 2014 to 12 days this year," the ministry said in a press release, highlighting its major activities during 2017. The DARPG is also writing letters to state chief secretaries to link their grievance cells to CPGRAMS (Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System) portal, meant for registering of grievances, it said. This will bring uniformity and ease of disposal besides providing a comprehensive view of the grievances, the release said. "The number of grievances lodged by the people has increased sevenfold since 2014, from about two lakh grievances to about 14 lakh this year," it said. The ministry said service rules have been amended to provide specific timelines at different stages of the enquiry, with a view to completing disciplinary proceedings against the members of all India services in a time-bound manner. Giving details of the RTI website, it said 2,149 public authorities have aligned with the portal. "The government is persuading the states to implement the RTI online portal.
The RTI online portal will also curb delays in responding to the RTIs," it said. In a major relief for government employees, the department of pensions and pensioners' welfare, under the personnel ministry, in March 2017 announced several relaxations in General Provident Fund rules, with liberalisation and simplification, particularly relating to advances and withdrawals by the subscriber/employee. According to the liberalised rules, limits for withdrawals have been raised and procedures simplified, especially for activities of house building and education of children, where costs have gone up manifold over the last two decades, the ministry said. "In furtherance of the government's commitment towards self-certification, subscribers will be allowed to withdraw funds based on a simple declaration. No further documentary evidence will be required," it said. Referring to 'Jeevan Pramaan', launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2014, the ministry said more than 11 lakh pensioners availed the Aadhaar-based scheme for online submission of digital life certificates through banks during November 2017. The scheme benefits pensioners, particularly the old and the infirm who can submit life certificates from the comfort of their homes anywhere in the country or abroad, it said. Till date, about 93 per cent of pension bank accounts of central government pensioners drawing pension through banks have been seeded with Aadhaar numbers, the ministry said.