Kejri asks ministers, officials to meet people for an hour daily

NEW DELHI
24 May 2017

To tackle the Delhi government's apparent "disconnect" with the people, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today asked all his ministers and officers to open their doors to the public for an hour on weekdays. Aam Aadmi Party chief Kejriwal has issued a note to Chief Secretary M M Kutty directing him to make a formal arrangement for the meetings that would address people's grievances. The move followed complaints to AAP ministers, including the CM, that officers were not accessible to the people, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters here. The public meets are a part of an outreach programme that seeks to bridge the gap between the people and AAP, which faced defeats in recent state assembly elections and a rout in the Delhi civic polls held last month. "During our visits (to parts of the city) in the past few days, people complained of a disconnect between the government and the masses," Sisodia said. It was in view of this that the CM had ordered an hour- long meeting every day, he said. "Ministers and officers will meet the people without prior appointments from 10 AM to 11 AM in their respective offices from Monday to Friday," Sisodia said. He said it had been noticed that when officers were accessible, the number of public grievances tended to drop. The Deputy CM said the decision would not be applicable to the government's field staff such as doctors and teachers. "The CM has directed the chief secretary to ask officers not to schedule their meetings between 10 AM and 11 AM so that they can address people's grievances. Exceptions will only be granted if an officer is on leave," he said. In his note to the chief secretary, Kejriwal said if officers had to leave their seat for an emergency, they should seek permission from their senior officer on the phone, who in turn would inform the office of the minister concerned. Kejriwal said a record should also be maintained of the grievances and of action taken. Asked about an earlier AAP government decision ordering officers to meet people from 12 to 1 PM, Sisodia said the government would "effectively" implement its new decision. A senior government official said if needed, the Cabinet would pass a proposal on a structure for such meetings. Sisodia said the government did not apprehend a "huge rush" in government offices because of the public meetings. "We have not centralised the public meeting at one place. If someone has a grievance related to the office of a sub- divisional magistrate, they would meet the SDM concerned," he said.(PTI)