SWAGAT  

Name of the project: State Wide Attention on Public Grievances by Application of Technology (SWAGAT)
 

Department under which the project was taken: Chief Minister’s Office, Govt. of Gujarat

 

Vision

  •      On April 24th 2003 Gujarat was the first State in India to launch a combination of digital and communication technology in the form of a programme named SWAGAT- State Wide Attention on Grievances by Application of Technology. SWAGAT in local language means ‘Welcome’; thus citizens are welcome to this forum for seeking satisfactory solutions.

Mission

  • The Chief Minister’s Office in Gujarat operates an SWAGAT for effective, transparent and speedy redress of the grievances of the citizens at various levels of the Government throughout the State including that at the highest level by direct interaction with the Chief Minister. 

  • SWAGAT was the Winner of United Nations Public Service Award 2010 for improving transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the public service category.

  • Commonwealth Telecom Organization and University of Manchester have considered SWAGAT as an excellent model of e-transparency.

Objectives

  • Attention on grievances to strengthen good governance:

              -  Analysis of the nature of grievances submitted to Government at all levels

              -  Attention on the quality of Redressal at all levels

  • Activate administration to solve public grievances at State, District and Sub District Level:

               - Monitoring the quality of grievance Redressal by local administration

  • Solving the grievances from the top when they need such intervention.

Project Description:

  • On the 4th Thursday of every month applicants arrive at the Chief Minister’s Office in the morning.  Grievances are scrutinized, registered and instantly transmitted online to the concerned authorities at the Secretariat level, District level and Sub-District level, whereupon the authorities input their replies by afternoon on the same day.  From 3.00pm on the same day, the Chief Minister personally listens to the applicants one-by-one.  The grievances as well as the replies of the concerned authorities are available through the system on a screen.  The concerned secretaries are present along with the Chief Minister, for direct interaction with the aggrieved citizen, and district authorities are connected through video-conferencing. 

  • After listening to all the aspects of the case from all sides, necessary instructions are given for resolving the grievance. A record is maintained in the SWAGAT database and a separate log is maintained for each case.  There is a focus on monitoring the cases to ensure solutions are made according to instructions given by the Chief Minister.  Citizens can view the status of their application online, using their allotted password and login at local Government Offices and at any internet access point.

  • Grievances are only eligible if they have already been presented to the appropriate authorities (such as the Sub-District Officer or the District Officer), and have not been resolved at this level.  Cases for attention of the Chief Minister are selected as those that are long-standing, acute humanitarian issues, difficult to resolve at other levels of Government and those that have policy implications.

  • The positive impacts realized by the State level SWAGAT gave drive to expand the system to 248 Sub-District offices in 2008, for greater accessibility to the public. Thus the geographical scope covers all of the 6.25 million citizens and 248 Sub-District of the State.  At the District level SWAGAT session, the district authorities hear the public grievances on the same day.  Sub-District level SWAGAT is held on every fourth Wednesday, i.e. one day prior to District and State SWAGAT.  The software application also enables an online review of Sub-District SWAGAT, District SWAGAT and State SWAGAT outcomes.

Advantages

  • Common citizens can access the highest authority of the state to resolve the most challenging cases

  • Citizens have the facility to know the status of their problem from their nearest internet access point, which will be at their own location or at the local Government office.

  • It saves time and cost of public, previously they would have to travel to different offices and wait a long time before their grievances were settled.

  • SWAGAT has had an even more powerful indirect impact in encouraging state officials to resolve grievances before they reach the SWAGAT stage.

  • The system has reduced the response time & cost of settling grievances: a benefit for both Government & citizens. The direct resolution of grievances, SWAGAT has had an even more powerful indirect impact in encouraging state officials to resolve grievances before they reach the SWAGAT stage, given the significant threat that the CM may become personally involved.

Status:

  • A significant development of SWAGAT is the systemized process that has been established.  The entire administration at State, District and Sub-District level is prepared to give attention to public grievances through SWAGAT on the selected dates of the 4th Wednesday and 4th Thursday of the month. 

  • A hard focus on outcomes has driven the system to ensure positive solutions.  Attempts are made to offer a fair and acceptable solution on the same day and no applicant has ever left without any firm reply to his grievance along with a specific time limit for the same. Since the Chief Minister himself has great commitment to this program and interacts personally, there is greater attention to resolving cases successfully.

Achievements

  • The SWAGAT system gives satisfaction to common citizens as they get a chance to present their case to the Chief Minister personally. Since all the stakeholders are connected in real time, neither the aggrieved citizen nor the concerned officer gets a chance to hide or manipulate the facts of the case. This is the crux of the success of the system. The fact that he is given a justified hearing gives contentment to the common man, it also ensures high level of accountability and transparency. Quantitatively over 98% of applications to SWAGAT have had positive results.

 SWAGAT applications made and resolved at State, District and Sub-District level

from April 2003 to November 2010

 

  • Only if the grievance cannot be resolved at Sub-District or District level, then it will be referred to the Chief Minister.  This system ensures most grievances are resolved at the local level effectively. 

  • Many repetitive grievances have led to certain policy decisions thereby eliminating the cause of occurrence of such grievances. Thus it has served as an effective connect and feedback mechanism too. The citizens and the administration are able to understand and appreciate each others’ view point and practical difficulties better.