I have been interning at the CM office for a month now at Delhi Secretariat. It started on August 28, 2020. I got this opportunity to work with the Public Grievance Monitoring System (PGMS) Department of Delhi, arranged by my mass communication course professor to help me get an insight into what actually happens in the capital of the country in practice, other than what we learnt in our theoretical lectures.
As the name suggests, the PGMS department is accountable to public grievances of Delhi residents and tries to solve the grievances upto the complainant’s satisfaction. This department does not come under the police department or the Central government security law and order. It is a security department affiliated with the state government i.e. it is a personalised policy that’s been devised by CM Arvind Kejriwal.
My internship started off with a work-from-home setup, and we were explained the functioning and ideology behind this grievance cell.
After a couple of lectures, I was forwarded cases of general public suffering, ranging from illegal construction, bribery by local constables, unattended sewage and drainage issues and daily life problems. I was told to solve the cases as per my understanding and analysis of their situation, keeping in mind the action taken by authorities. It was obviously an overwhelming experience as I felt this kind of autonomy in my hands for the first time. However, it came along with a lot of pressure since for us, it is one of the 100 cases that we have as our daily target, but for those filing a case, it was about their life.
We were assigned to work for/under three superintendents who form the top authority there. They displayed complete trust and cooperation with and my work. Obviously, my work was supervised by them and then approved or disapproved, but even then, they dealt with me with utmost belief as if I were their relief colleague or confidant. This was the first time I felt the spirit of stewardship during this internship.
When the Delhi Metro reopened in mid-September, a substantial presence at the office was expected by the authorities. I painstakingly convinced my parents to go out and work regardless of the pandemic, but was myself skeptical about it in my mind. The aura of the office was so constructive and pragmatic — I could observe on my first day itself that people here are not some position-holding bureaucrats who are here just to make money, but are our foremen who were coming in every single day since the lockdown to bring some real, efficacious change.
On that note, I’d like to share an example. As I entered the cabin, one of the leaders was arguing with a woman over the phone. She had filed a complaint and wanted action.
I assumed that the fight must be over Sir’s priorities as might not have been attending to her with immediate effect. On the contrary, on being asked, he informed me that the fight was over corruption. The lady was offering bribe to Sir for speedy action, which he instantly opposed and rebuked her for being the representative bearer of corruption. Eventually, I got to know that bribery and favouritism are not appreciated in this department and every grievance is treated equally important, turn wise, regardless of the complainant’s status.
After this, there have been numerous events during my internship on my subsequent visits that I cannot forget. I can only learn from the immense hard work and earnest efforts put in by these authorities.
Apart from this, I got to personally talk to complainants over telephone in the office premises to assess and verify the status of their complaint and action taken. I have always wanted to do support marginalised sections of our society since childhood, and this close experience of getting to console them, doing something for them, taking decisions to improve their situation was a jubilant experience for me.
Moreover, with the help of my superintendents, I tried my hands at designing a business model for the welfare of cancer patients in Delhi, which might prove to be helpful to the government, I hope.
In spite of genuine intentions and sincere efforts, there’s still a lot to be done. Complaints are entertained without any biases and efforts are put to solve it, but owing to a huge population and corruption in the veins of India, a lot of cases are bombarded and left pending as well. In total, the procedure from filing a grievance till getting it resolved is quite long and frustrating for some people due to lubbers in the system, but it seems to be getting better over the years.
With this internship almost coming to an end, I absolutely don’t regret convincing my parents for visiting the office against their will. I got to learn things about the system that I was earlier clueless about, and the positive working environment in the office at Delhi Secretariat was like icing on cake.
I feel that, personally, I turned this pandemic from a weakness to a strength because there is no other way I could have paid my undivided attention to the internship had the circumstances been normal, with my college open and functioning.