Till a few years ago both US and India had beautiful interfaces to people from State Administration. In US, it was called ‘Voice of the People’ and in India it was called CpGrams (Centralized Public Grievances) aka PGPortal. Ever since Obama quit the office and Trump took over, the Voice of the People was taken down.

However starting January, PgPortal has got a beautiful facelift. Unlike the previous version of anonymous posting and need to copy paste the grievances now everything is tracked and consolidated with a username and password. Technologywise it is powered by ASP.NET MVC.

A few suggestions and bug reports we shared to Department of Administrative Reforms regarding the new Pgportal as below.

  1. ARNPG/E/2018/00033:  The new version of PgPortal seems to be untested and buggy. 1) During grievance posting if security code mismatches it is erasing all the values forcing the user to re type all the message. 2) Posting a second grievance in a single session it throws a server error and logs out.
  2. ARNPG/E/2018/00122  Dear Team, While I take a moment to appreciate the PgPortal team of NIC for the good revamp and overhaul there are a few things which have been remainining untested and is an irritant to the user. For example, after registering a grievance there is a home button and clicking that goes to AspxError page Not Found http://pgportal.gov.in/Error/NotFound?aspxerrorpath=/DashBoard (Status: Acknowledged)
    3) ARNPG/E/2018/00123 The newly launched version of PgPortal has a major user experience issue. If the security code (aka) captcha is wrong entire form is wiped and an error message is shown Error Please enter valid security code. The previous version of PgPortal elegantly managed this condition because the validations were done through Ajax Calls. Kindly have a developer to fix this issue at once.

    4) ARNPG/E/2018/00124 Dear Team, The newly launched PgPortal has a major user experience issue. The phone number field has autoinserted spaces (trailing) as a a result on submission the following message is shown Please enter no more than 12 characters. I believe since you are using aspnet mvc the developer can trim the space when data binding the value from the controller to the view. Additionally when you correct the values by backspacing in this field and when there is a single trailing space an ambigous error messagelike Please enter valid Phone Number is shown. Kindly have a developer to correct these issues asap
    5) ARNPG/E/2018/00137 Team, The new version of CpGrams is blocking the following characters which causes issues in posting readable grievance text. 1) Hyphen is blocked 2) Apostrophe character (single quote) is blocked We are getting error message like below when the grievance contains these characters Alphabet AZ, az, number 09 and special characters Can you ensure that these characters are whitelisted and grievances with these characters are allowed to be posted in CpGrams.
    6) ARNPG/E/2018/00138 Cpgrams Team, Even though there are a few characters which are allowed in grievance not all whitelisted characters are actually allowed. For example even copy pasting the error message in full blocks the grievances from being posted. Alphabet AZ, az, number 09 and special characters () only are allowed in grievance description. I would like you to take this up with your development team and fix the issues at the earliest. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    7) ARNPG/E/2018/00143 Team, I observed one issue in CpgRams. On Session Timeout when it logs out it is going to an error page. Please find screenshot enclosed. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    8)  ARNPG/E/2018/00145 Kindly let me know how to import the Older CpGrams (posted in the previous version of PgPortal without login) using same email address and mobile number into the new PgPortal Desk?
    9)  ARNPG/E/2018/00146 I have signed up on a defunct profile with phone number like 9194454078 (hoping that it still uses 91 94454 07856). This account is incomplete and you would not find any grievances lodged there. Is there a way to close that account? It may be unnecessarily hoarding space on CpGrams server. Dont disturb my current account with login 9445407856  (Funky Response that they are not able to address this issue now and is a limitation of the application)
    10) ARNPG/E/2018/00177  To Press Council of India _______________________ Hello Team, The newspaper Dinamani has been carrying a denigratory and defamatory post on Andal (saint sage poet) particularly in this tamil month of Margazhi when Andal sacred composition called Thiruppavai is recited with much reverence. The denigratory thoughts were aired by Vairamuthu during his rally in Rajapalayam Tamil Nadu. The newspaper has carried the content without any editing hurting the religious sentiments of billions worldwide. URL: A complaint as below has been registered with Ministry of Home Affairs against Vairamuthu who is a recipient of multiple Padma awards. (Was redirected to post the same to Ministry of Information Broadcasting)
    11) DARPG/E/2018/00390 Dear Team, I found a weird change in the new version of PgPortal with reference to Notifications. 1) Email, which can take more text has been compressed and there is no URL where we can check the status. The URL has been removed in the new notification message. 2) SMS, which takes less text has been elongated and hence older mobile phones attempt to update the same message multiple times and at times message gets split into multiple ones. I hope you take this up with the notification team and fix the same. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    12) DARPG/E/2018/00616 A recent update to PgPortal CpGrams is blocking the question mark in Grievance Description textbox. A question mark is required at times when a query is raised to the service provider/department/ministry. Kindly get this character included in the Allowed List.
    13) DARPG/E/2018/00618 When you post a new grievance for the past few days, PgPortal is intermittently failing with this error message Invalid Method Description: Unable to process request for URL http://pgportal.gov.in/NewGrievance/Lodge
    14) DARPG/E/2018/00619 We need a feature in CpGrams that when a grievance is closed there should be an option to reopen it (at least for a few days) before it permanently disposed. This would ensure malpractices by operators surreptitiously closing the grievances with stupid comments.
    15) DARPG/E/2018/00620 Starting this year I observed that grievances posted to Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances were coded as ARNPG unlike its predecessor DARPG but again since today I am seeing DARPG. Are there two codes or was it changed
    16) DARPG/E/2018/00710 DARPG Team, When I click Edit Profile it is going to https://pgportal.gov.in/Error page and session is getting lost and I am logged out. I am not able to edit my profile. Kindly help… Thanks and Regards, Deepak
    17) DARPG/E/2018/01340 Dear Sir/Madam, Need this as a critical requirement. Many times I have seen CpGrams operators in various ministries are just closing the grievances with flimsy reasons. In those case we need an option to REOPEN the grievance and possibly with an option to ESCALATE the situation to their superiors. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    18) DARPG/E/2018/01359 N Srinivasa Rao (Financial Services — Banking Division) is repeatedly closing multiple CpGrams in his department with flimsy reasons. See dEabd/e/2017/01497
    19) DARPG/E/2018/01373 Dear Sir/Madam, Can you help me with the guidance on how to find the list of clarifications/reminders I submitted for the particular grievance Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    20) DARPG/E/2018/02105 Dear Team, In the recent version of CpGrams the sorting by Closing Date of the Grievance is not working. It is a show stopper issue. It sorts in an uncertain fashion. Kindly get the issue taken to the web development team and have it fixed asap. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    21) DARPG/E/2018/02263 Dear Team, When the departments or ministries upload a PDF document in the new version of CpGrams we are not able to open it. It always says Failed to open PDF document. Kindly help how to read the PDF documents that are sent as a response to the petitions or grievances submitted. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan


If you are thinking that using an @OlaCabs attached auto is going to be cost-effective, 8 in 10 times you might be wrong as a quick set of experiments confirmed us.

Unlike booking a cab, auto booking works like this.

1) Request Auto from the App after showing a broad estimate for the distance. For example it might show INR 29.
2) Request sent to a few autos in the neighborhood.
3) App goes into ‘Waiting for confirmation …’ mode. The auto drivers leave the apps to time out and the app complains no autos are there in the vicinity. Now the app says the prices are increased. The estimate shows INR 50 and now when the request is sent to the same set of drivers they confirm it.

Looks like even under auto aggregation, Chennai Auto drivers now every bit to extort the passengers.

If you had tried using the online reservation facility with Indian Railways the most common setbacks that you witness are below.

  1. Steep service charges
  2. Payment Gateway charges
  3. Daylight robbery in case you chose to cancel the tickets.

A petition to this effect to rationalize the charges was sent to the office of Prime Minister on 20 March 2017 vide PMOPG/E/2017/0154217 and a response was obtained on 3rd July 2017 as below.

1. Railway has already withdrawn the service charge of Rs 30/- applicable on transactions against Credit and Debit Cards for purchasing journey tickets w.e.f. 18/05/2016 in case of PRS tickets and 22/12/2016 in case of unreserved tickets. However, the service charge collected by respective banks on use of cards is not under the control of Indian Railway. 2. Cancellation of tickets involves two transactions, namely, one for booking and another for cancellation. Clerkage and cancellation charges are levied to cover the cost of service for issuing and cancellation of tickets which include cost of staff, heavy investment for providing booking/cancellation facility through internet and providing PRS counters even at smaller stations, maintenance cost of the systems, etc. Cancellation charge has been kept high to prevent and curb the malpractice of overbooking and hoarding.

Most of the service providers in banking and telecom in India have stopped giving Toll Free number for customer service and are either charging for agent assistance or having the agents service on the Toll number. Some of them like Citibank have customer service on 860 PREMIUM telephone line.

For example,

  1. Airtel 121 Toll Free for IVR 50 paise per minute for Agent
  2. Vodafone 111 -do-
  3. Idea Customer Care does not exist.
  4. Tata Docomo 198 Complaints number is also chargeable
  5. Citibank 860 PREMIUM
  6. ICICI Local

We sent a request to the office of Prime Minister vide PMOPG/E/2017/0361055 on 30th June 2017 regarding the above to take steps to ensure all service providers have a TOLL FREE 1800 number for customer service which is an international standard.

As per their response on 6th July 2017 that it is a policy matter and need to dealt by TRAI, the petition was forwarded to the following personnel in TRAI.

  1. ap@trai.gov.in;
  2. cp@trai.gov.in;
  3. memberak@trai.gov.in;
  4. ravi.rssharma76@gmail.com;
  5. mamidala@ee.iitd.ac.in;
  6. secretary@trai.gov.in;
  7. sunil.bajpai@trai.gov.in;
  8. pradvnsl@trai.gov.in;
  9. skmishra@trai.gov.in;
  10. sanjiv.singh@trai.gov.in;
  11. advadmn@trai.gov.in;
  12. advlegal@trai.gov.in;
  13. sksinghal@trai.gov.in;
  14. mkasim@trai.gov.in;
  15. advqos@trai.gov.in;
  16. advifn@trai.gov.in;
  17. advmn@trai.gov.in;
  18. advfea1@trai.gov.in;
  19. arvindsinha59@gmail.com;
  20. adv.bengaluru@trai.gov.in;
  21. adv.jaipur@trai.gov.in;
  22. muralighanta@gmail.com

Whenever we get a telemarketing call from any bank they introduce themselves as ‘Based on your relationship with our bank’. At times it happens you might not be having an active relationship at all. Hence I wrote a petition to HDFC Bank to seek a summary of my relationships with them vide DEABD/E/2016/18444 dated 21 Dec 2016. The text of the petition is as below.

Dear Team,

Whenever I get a telemarketing call from HDFC Bank they say ‘Based on your relationship status …’. However as of currently I do not have any HDFC Bank active relationships. I had a savings account way back in 2002 (closed). Salary account 2004 closed in a few years after the employment contract got completed.

Hence I would like to have a relationship summary indicating from the beginning what are all the products/services that have been availed by me, what have been closed and when and what are still active (pending).

This would ensure that no PII has been inadvertently misused by telemarketers/DSA/TSA. Also confirm if the above summary you are generating will mention/reflect HDFC entity relationship or just HDFC bank.

Appreciate your assistance and cooperation.

Thanks and Regards,

Deepak Vasudevan


However HDFC Bank scribbled back a gibberish response on 8th February 2017 as below.


Subsequently I challenged this stupid scribbling through the office of Prime Minister on 26th May 2017 with the following text.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I lodged the enclosed complaint with HDFC Bank (DEABD/E/2016/18444) and instead of giving the relationship summary they are closing the complaint asking for telemarketing numbers. The most important part of the petition was “Hence I would like to have a relationship summary indicating from the beginning what are all the products/services that have been availed by me, what have been closed and when and what are still active (pending).

This would ensure that no PII has been inadvertently misused by telemarketers/DSA/TSA. Also confirm if the above summary you are generating will mention/reflect HDFC entity relationship or just HDFC bank.”

However HDFC has the temerity to ignore this part of the petition and scribble with some gibberish response and close the petition. Petition Posted on 21 Dec 2016 Petition Disposed on 08 Feb 2017

And another crappy response from HDFC on 13th July 2017 is as below.


Does Aditya Puri has some time to look into these teething issues with his organization rather than honeymooning 24×7 with Anitha Puri?

Only in Tamil Nadu temples you can find so many barricades setup to discriminate people based on their monetary power and segregate them based for payment to darshan. You can find minimum three queues like

  1. Public Darshan
  2. Special Darshan
  3. VIP Darshan

Temples at Sri Rangam are still worse with their dynamic pricing for even Public Darshan which are charged during specific periods.

Too much of barricades are a headache during special occasions like Shivarathri because people can not sit near sanctum sanctorum for the abhishekams etc.

The biggest reason for this monetary discrimination is that temples are owned by state administration and in order to pay for the expenses like salaries for staff they have to charge like this.

Additionally they do not ensure peace of pilgrims at darshan and involve in blatant pull and push at the sanctum sanctorums which is not a case in most other temples in other parts of India.

That said all the revenue generated goes for those authorities and the priests seems to be just vested with the meagre collections on their pooja plates.

It is time that the temples are freed from government clutches similar to churches and mosques under a separate authority to help maintain their sanctity.

It is no use petitioning to Government of Tamil Nadu regarding this even though it is the state temples that are affected by this issue and hence a petition has been sent to the office of Prime Minister vide PMOPG/E/2017/0385912 .

Most of the temple entrances in our state are mobbed with beggars and hawkers all around traumatizing a peaceful darshan of the Lord.

I don’t understand the reason behind the municipal administration and HRCE remaining silent on these issues instead of mobilizing an active beggar rehabilitation programs for the beggars at the temple vicinity. Also why not abolish hawkers and regularize sale of pooja items through temple authorized shops. This will ensure quality and avoid overcharging of items.

Also some temples even famous like Mangadu do not have secured footwear keeping counters. We need to keep footwear at our own risk in unattended racks.

A petition has been sent to Government of Tamil Nadu on 15th July 2017 vide GOVTN/E/2017/02006