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LG’s good intentions go wrong by Babus’ half-hearted ‘disposals’

JAMMU: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is always on move-shuttling between Srinagar and Jammu, moving around the urban and rural areas and, at times, frequenting New Delhi with a singular agenda of seeing through the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir entering an era of development, peace and progress. Every time he hits the headlines, it is either launching or inaugurating a project, announcing a scheme, ordering course correction measures and so on. But, is all this exercise worth anything when the implementation of the decisions at ground zero and follow up of the orders are as poor as rich are his intentions?
The answer is unfortunately not in affirmative. Good intentions of the Lieutenant Governor generally go wrong by half-hearted approach and poor disposal of the bureaucracy, which is actually running the roost.
The one good thing with the people of Jammu and Kashmir is that they tend to remain happy with the gubernatorial arrangements given the mis-governance, corruption and nepotism of the so-called popular governments-ironically elected by the people and supposed to be of and for the people. However, the Governor’s Rule-LG’s rule in the present scenario-loses all its sheen and efficacy if the administration down below is not responsive and accountable. The administrative inertia clouds every effort of ‘Man at the Top’, how well-intentioned that might be.
For some time now, Jammu and Kashmir is undergoing a phase of trust deficit between the people and the administrative apparatus-the reason being complete disconnect of the officers with the subjects. They actually don’t want to remain acquainted with the ground realities, which are full of miseries. The scene in the offices is no different. Files hardly move from one table to another and even if these are given push by whatever means, they get stuck at the higher levels due to lack of will or because of some consideration. The officers shy away from taking decisions in routine. They try to ‘pass the time’ till they get posted to some other department or organization. Red tapism and rigidity often result in the adoption of programmed choices rather than finding out ways and means to solve problems.
Having said that, the situation is not as shabby or grim either when it comes to taking decisions where there is some interest. There are some bright officers who can work towards realizing the vision of the LG.
This is the image, the administration of the UT has earned over the years. The people have no qualms with the overall functioning of the Lieutenant Governor, who is accessible and able to take decisions in best interests of the UT and its people. The fault lines emerge when it comes to the implementation stage. This is not to malign or portray the entire administration dark. There are always black sheep but unfortunately they outnumber the well-meaning and public-spirited officers. It is because of the dedicated efforts of the latter category of the bureaucracy that there is semblance of governance otherwise things are not as rosy as being projected to the Lieutenant Governor. He is desired to strengthen the feedback mechanism and step up the monitoring system so that some sort of accountability is enforced in the administration.
For translating his initiatives into realities on ground, the Lieutenant Governor must take some time out of his busy schedule to have the right person posted at the right place in consultation with the head of the administration. This is imperative for division of power, promoting efficiency, enforcing responsibility to achieve compliance, dispensing rules and regulations besides easing managerial capabilities. The adhocism of ‘additional charge culture’ should be dispensed with as there is a good number of officers awaiting postings.
The robust mechanism of postings and adjustments holds promise for a vibrant administration. Viewing in this backdrop, the vacancy of all important Finance Secretary for nearly two months after the elevation of the ace civil servant as Chief Secretary is a point in question. How can such a post be allowed to remain vacant, which is the pivot of the entire administration? Similarly, there are some other slots, which are either vacant or addendum to other officers as ‘additional charge’. With several departments under charge, they neither can do justice nor own up the responsibility of mal-functioning. Such a situation becomes a speed breaker for well-intentioned moves of the Lieutenant Governor.

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