April 2016 News

3 Months Of Responsive Guv Rule

1 April 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Arteev Sharma

Jammu: Nearly three-month-long good and responsive governance under the Governor's rule is a lesson for a democratically elected government on how the state administration ought to be run in a restive state of Jammu and Kashmir. Governor NN Vohra, who has been administrating the state since January 8, not only brought the administrative machinery to life, but also invoked the fundamentals of governance. The administration remained on toes and took various important decisions concerning larger interest of society, which were hitherto considered impossible in Jammu and Kashmir and hanging in balance for the past year or so. Termination of service of 100 non-performing doctors, implementation of Rs 80,000-crore economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the state during his visit to J&K in November 2015, implementation of the National Food Security Act, vacation of large tracts in the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Kargil by the Army and swift decisions on the new media advertisement policy and the Industrial Policy - 2016 are some of the hallmarks of the Governor's rule. Apart from the development sector and effective governance, the Governor while keeping in view the sensitivities and pitfalls of the Central rule also showed great keenness towards restoration of a popular and elected government, which had ceased to exist following the death of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7. On February 4, the Governor appointed two retired IAS officers as his advisers and constituted the State Administrative Council (SAC), besides delegating powers to the Administrative Secretaries, to ensure responsive governance at all levels of functioning. 'I have taken the oath to run the state for the betterment of people. I want best results from all of you (officers),' Vohra had said while sending a strong message to the state bureaucracy. And to bring better results, he asked administrative heads of all the departments to prepare a list of works and take a regular follow-up. The SAC headed by the Governor also initiated the process of disbursement of financial assistance to the flood victims in the state, an issue that was hanging fire for over a year. The government disbursed more than Rs 1,000 crore among the affected house owners and traders in less than a month. Another significant decision by the SAC was the increase in allocation of food grains to people under the National Food Security Act. As per the revised policy, each person in the below poverty line and priority sector house hold category would be entitled to 7 kg food grains against the earlier quota of 5 kg. Another feat which was achieved during the period came in the shape of Army's agreement to vacate large tracts in the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Kargil for civilian purpose. It was agreed that the Northern Command would hand over 16.30 acre of state land held by it adjoining the Jammu University campus, 212 acre held by it at the Tatoo Grounds, Srinagar, 456.60 kanal at the High Grounds, Anantnag, and the land at lower Khurba Thang in Kargil to the J&K Government. The dredging of the Jhelum also picked up after the Governor personally visited Srinagar on two occasions to take a spot review of the works. The Governor while providing relief to unemployed youth of the state approved the much required self-attestation policy relieving youth from running after gazetted officers to get their documents attested. In a step forward to decentralise powers at the grass-roots level, the Governor directed the state machinery to hold much-delayed elections to the urban local bodies and timely conduct of panchayat poll in Jammu and Kashmir. The Governor also announced a set of guidelines in the form of standard operating procedure, which need to be followed during the Governor's rule in the state in future.