Sevottam for Ensuring Excellence in Services


Ravinder Singh**

The Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has taken steps to put in place Sevottam Compliant Citizen’s Charter and Grievance Redress Mechanism. The Sevottam framework was designed by DARPG in 2006 as an assessment  improvement framework for public service delivery.

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) in its 12th Report “Citizen Centric Administration – The Heart of Governance” has recommended that Union and State Governments should make the Seven Step Model outlined in para 4.9 mandatory for all organizations having public interface which was accepted by the Government of India. The ARC had made the recommendations after studying the Sevottam model which the Commission felt was a step in the right direction.

What is Sevottam

Sevottam literally is the combination of Hindi words ‘SEWA + UTTAM’, meaning uttam sewa i.e. excellence in services. The Sevottam model was developed with expert support after studying international best practices, stake-holder consultations and field validity. It has basically three modules – Citizen Charter, Public Grievance Redress Mechanism and Service Delivery Capability.  Each of the modules is further divided into three criteria and eleven elements each. The framework helps Government Departments towards improving their public service delivery.

Sevottam as Pilot Project

Initially, Sevottam framework was undertaken from April 2009 to June 2010 in ten Departments of the Government having large public interface. These are, Department of Post, CBEC, CBDT, Railways, Passport office, Pensions, Food Processing, Corporate Affairs, Kendriya Vidyalaya Schools and EPFO. All these organizations have declared standards and implemented in pilot locations.  The Project is now being extended to 62 ministries of the Government.

Sevottam in Operation

The Seven Steps to Sevottam are – Define all services which a department provides and identify clients; Set standards and norms for each service; Develop capability to meet the set standards; Perform to achieve the standards; Monitor performance against the set standards; Evaluate the impact through an independent mechanism and Continuous improvement based on monitoring and evaluation results.

Seven Steps to Sevottam Compliant Grievance Redress System are – Well established system of receipt of grievances; Convenient for all users and its wide publicity; Timely acknowledgement; Time norm for redress; Communication of action taken on redress; Platform for Appeal and Analysis of grievance prone areas for making systemic improvements

Preparing more departments for Sevottam

The  Department  of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances organised between August 30 and September 21, 2010 four workshops, each of two day duration, for officers responsible for implementing the Sevottam compliant citizen charter in 62 ministries/departments of the Government. The aim of the workshops was to facilitate preparation of Sevottam Compliant Citizen Charters and Grievance Redress Mechanism for Ministries/Departments of the Government and its Organizations for modernizing governance through better and enhanced results oriented Public Delivery System to the Citizens/Clients/Stakeholders.

The Agenda of the workshops was: Sevottam Compliant Citizens’ Charters and Grievance Redress Mechanism; Modernizing Governance through Strategic Commitment, Awareness and Outreach and Enhanced Performance and Result in Outcome. It included sessions on the concept of Sevottam, Sevottam Compliant Citizen’s/Client’s Charter, Sevottam Compliant Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM), and linkages between Sevottam, Strategy and Results Framework Document (RFD).

The participants in these workshops included two officers of Joint Secretary/ Director level from each of the 62 Central Ministries included in the Results Framework Document for 2010-11, and one or two representatives from  select Training Institutions such as Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi; Institute of Secretariat Training and Management, New Delhi; State Administrative Training Institute, Jaipur; State Administrative Training Institute,  Chandigarh; Centre for Good Governance, Hyderabad and Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad. As such a total of about 250 officers participated and were trained through these four workshops.

The first workshop was inaugurated by Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions. These workshops were organised in collaboration with Performance Management Division of Cabinet Secretariat and FICCI Quality Forum as Consulting Partner. Cabinet Secretary, Shri K.M. Chandrasekhar, Member planning Commission Shri Sam Pitroda and UIDAI chairman, Shri Nandan Nilekani took part in the workshops.

Implementation of the Concept

The Performance Management Division of the Cabinet Secretariat has included two modules of the Sevottam framework i.e. Citizen Charter and Public Grievance Mechanism, as mandatory success indicators in the Results Frame Document (RFD) 2010-11 for 62 Ministries/Departments approved under Performance Monitoring and Evaluation System (PMES) by the Prime Minister. The four workshops held would facilitate these Ministries/Departments in achieving the Sevottam compliance success indicators under Results Frame Document. December 30, 2010 has been fixed as the target date for the formulation of Sevottam Compliant Citizen’s / Client’s Charter. To facilitate meeting  the target date, a Helpdesk for Sevottam related queries has been made available at

Sevottam in States

Four States namely, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa have adopted Sevottam for capacity building for poverty reduction pilot projects of quality management system.

The Government of Himachal Pradesh selected Municipal Corporation Shimla for the first QMS Sevottam pilot project in 2008 – 2009. As a result, processes in issue of Electricity and Water Bills have been streamlined resulting in timely receipts and enhancement in the collection of revenue. Operations of water bills, property tax, registration of births and deaths, and other services provided are being integrated through a common digital database.

The Grievance Redress Mechanism has been improved. Improvements have been made in functioning and monitoring of the Solid Waste Management Plant and financial arrangements have been made for procuring 33 new vehicles. A ‘User Manual’ for the sector has been created that will facilitate the replication of the process in other municipalities. The User Manual has been uploaded on DARPG website

The capacity of Himachal Pradesh Institute for Public Administration (HIPA) Shimla, has been built in this regard and funds have been provided for opening of a new ‘Training Centre on Sevottam’ in HIPA.

The Government of Karnataka selected the Department of Women and Child Development with vertical chain  of service delivery for the Integrated Child Development Services in 7 Anganwadi centres in two villages of Badanaguppe in Chamrajnagar district and Mudlapura in  Raichur district.  The pilot project was started there in December 2008 and  concluded  in February 2010.  This has been a very successful Sevottam pilot project. As part of capacity building a Sevottam training cell has been established in ATI, Mysore to train personnel for extending the service delivery framework in other organizations of Government of Karnataka.

The Madhya Pradesh Government has selected the Public Health and Family Welfare Department with vertical service delivery chain in J.P. Hospital, Bhopal; Community Health Centre, Gandhinagar; in Phanda Block of District Bhopal; Community Health Centres in Bairsia Block and Health Centre Tehsil Bairsia with  PHFW service delivery units in 5 to 6 village clusters therein. Simultaneously, capacity building for training in QMS Sevottam model of the Madhya Pradesh State Administrative Training Institute is involved. Started in August 2009, the project is due to conclude in December 2010.

The Government of Orissa has selected the Food, Supplies and Consumer Welfare (FSCW) Department and its vertical chain of service delivery in Balipatna Block of Khurda District and simultaneous capacity building of State ATI, Bhubaneswar. The project begun in September 2009 and  is due for conclusion in December 2010.

**Director ( M & C), Press Information Bureau, New Delhi.


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