The department of telecommunications (DoT) has directed all carriers to address public grievances within a month's time, a move that is set to help consumers having filed complaints on issues such as call drops.
The directions, issued on Wednesday, came after the issue was highlighted by the Prime Minister in a meeting held in March on analysis of handling public grievances across ministries and sectors. The department highlighted in a note sent to all telcos and its circle offices that complaints coming to DoT through Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) takes more than 60 days, and in some cases more than 180 days.
“This has been viewed adversely by higher authorities in various review meetings,” the DoT said in the notice.
“All telecom service providers are requested to try their best to redress the grievances well within the time frame as specified in Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) regulations or within a month time as desired by the Hon'ble Prime Minister,” the department said in a direction to all telcos.
“If any case is taking more than specified time of one month, then proper reason/ explanation of delay and expected time to redress the grievance should be intimated to the complainant and a downloadable copy of intimation may be uploaded to CPGRAMS,” it added.
In another step to resolve consumer complaints, the Telecom Commission - the highest decision making body in the telecom ministry - has cleared a proposal for creation of an ombudsman under the sector regulator. The department gets about 10 million grievances and complaints per quarter. As per the current mechanism, operators internally deal with complaints after which it comes to the grievance redressal of DoT. The department has not found this method to be fully satisfactory.
All officers and staff should be sensitised to improve the effectiveness or efficiency by using technology, DoT said, adding that all effort should be made to redress public complaints received through various means including CPGRAMS within 30 days.
CPGRAMS is one of the government’s initiatives for the reformation in governance through addressing the grievances of general public started in 2007, which takes complaints on its online portal from people across sectors. For the year 2018, more than 9 lakh complaints have been made using the portal of which 8.23 lakh have been disposed.