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Around 20 KAS officers retiring in 2018; crunch in top-rung staff

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Srinagar, Apr 20: With the recent retirement of nine JK cadre officers and dozens of other bureaucrats retiring ever year, The Jammu and Kashmir government is grappling with a huge shortage of officers.
Official sources said that many officers are retiring in the current year including around 20 KAS officers which would affect the administration in the state.
An officer from the general administration department said that some of the officers with superb track records are retiring this year. ‘Generally, officers retire every year. But from last two years, the number was big,” the officer maintained.
He said that retiring of such a big number every year would affect the administration in the state. “Government should make efforts to fill up all these vacancies,” he added.
Sources said that around 2900 gazetted posts including IAS, IPS, KAS, KPS, Professors, and Lecturers are lying vacant in the state affecting the work of officers’ assigned additional charge.
Nine JK cadre IAS officers retired in 2016 and 2017. Those included Gazzanffer Hussain, Vinod Koul, Arun Kumar, Mohd Ashraf Bhukhari, Zaffar Ahmed Bhat, Ashok Kumar Angurana, Tsering Angchok, Vineeta Gupta.
While, Bharat Bhushan Vyas, who too was to get retired, has been given extension. Now more officers are retiring in 2018, which as per officials would further effect the administration in the state.
Among retiring bureaucrats, sources said that some are holding higher posts like secretaries and directors. “Government needs to fill up all these vacancies. Several IAS officers are also retiring in 2018 and would further affect the governance.
Sources within the government said that there is a severe shortage of IAS officers in the state. “The state is facing a severe shortage of IAS officers. As of now, the fixed strength of IAS officials in the state is 137 against availability of 84 officers. Out of in position 84 officers, 11, including Braj Raj Sharma, Suresh Kumar, P K Tripathi, Sudhanshu Panday, Atal Dulloo, Shantmanu, Bipul Pathak, Ashok Kumar Parmar, Manoj Kumar Dwiwedi, Mandeep Kaur and Yasha Mudgal are serving in key departments of Modi Government,” wishing anonymity, one of the top officials of the government had told KNS.
These officers according to sources are “unwilling” to serve in the state. “The J&K government has sought return of all IAS officers of JK cadre from the centre, but the central government has so far given a cold response,” the GAD said.
Several JK cadre IAS officers posted on insignificant postings, while many are also unwilling to serve in the state, have sought central deputation.
Sources said that in Indian Police Service (IPS), the state is facing shortage of 90 IPS officers against the total strength of 147. Currently, 84 IPS officers are holding the State Cadre, 24 are on Central Deputation, which shrinks the number of IPS officers posted in the state to 60, officials said.
For the last six years, the official said that the state government has not sent any proposal to the Union Public Service Commission to fill the vacant IPS posts because of several litigations against the seniority list of KPS officers due to caderisation of KPS into IPS.
In June last year, the PDP-BJP coalition approved the caderisation of KPS after which many KPS officers started getting the grade pay of the IPS officers.
The government in May last year had asked the Chief Secretary of the State B B Vyas to constitute a committee for resolution of the litigations of KPS officers for induction into IPS.
Union Minister of State In-charge DoPT, Dr Jitendra Singh recently said that Centre was trying to persuade the cadre officers to return to their states. “Even if they are unwilling, we try to motivate them. We encourage the cadre officers to revert to their states and serve the people,” he had said.
Interestingly citing a shortage of IAS bureaucrats at the middle-level, the Narendra Modi government has asked all states to spare more officers for central deputation.
In a letter to all states, including Jammu and Kashmir, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said the movement of the officers from states to the Centre and back is crucial for building capabilities at the state-level and contributing towards developing national perspectives at the decision-making levels in the government of India.
“It would, therefore, be appropriate considering the fact that there is general shortage of IAS officers at Deputy Secretary/Director level, if a conscious attempt is made while forwarding the names of the officers, so as to share the shortage proportionately between the Centre and the states and also that every eligible officer has an opportunity to serve at the Centre at least once at the middle management level,” reads official communiqué.


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Kashmir

RTI Act not being implemented in true spirit: SIC

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, March 20: The State Information Commission (SIC) on Wednesday agreed that there were loopholes in public information deliverance system.

The Jammu & Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009 came into force on 20 March 2009, repealing and replacing the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2004 is not been implemented and followed by the authority in a professional manner.

On eve of 10th anniversary of RTI Act Jammu and Kashmir, Commissioner, SIC, Mohammad Ashraf Mir discussed various “deficiencies, weaknesses” that are responsible for the modest implementation of Act.

 

Mir said that RTI act is not been taken strictly by the authorities. “We know that the Act is not implemented the way it was designed to be implemented,” he accepted.

Mir said that they know that the government and its instrumentalities love to take credit of RTI Act but are reluctant to submit to its laws.

Moreover, the department is not professionally trained to deal with the dissemination of information.
“The public information officers (PIOs) in government departments are still not well versed with the work, resulting to denial of information to applicants,” said Mir.

He added that this powerful tool of right to get information is sometimes being misused in the hands of citizens also. “The information sought under the act is not be used in the manner it ought to be used.”

Mir said that there is a lack of awareness among the citizens who ought to use the RTI to get the required information, adding that the NOG’s and the social activists who are veterans of the RTI should educate the people on the procedure to file the RTI and be more specific.

Besides all these deficiencies, the record keeping in the entire government departments is in shambles. Mir said that the poor digitization of records in all the government departments act as the wall stone for disseminating the information.

Chairman Jammu and Kashmir RTI movement, Dr Sheikh Ghulam Rasool showed some light on the struggle to pass the Act in Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr. Rasool said, “The founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act is Late Balraj Puri and Advocate Irfan Hafiz lone.”

He said that J&K RTI was earlier passed in 2004 but it was very week and lacked various laws and regulations. “We formed J&K RTI movement which established the Act in 2009.”
The event was held at Kashmir University by J&K RTI Movement in collaboration with Center of Central Asian Studies.

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JK Assembly polls: EC observer team yet to submit its report to CEC: CEO

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Srinagar, Mar 20: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar on Wednesday said that the three member team of election observers appointed for Jammu and Kashmir is yet to submit its report to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and any decision on the conduct of assembly elections in the state will be taken after ECI’s consultation with the Union Home Ministry on additional security deployments for assembly polls in the state.
CEO Shailendra Kumar said, “The three member team of election observers which recently visited Jammu and Kashmir to reassess the situation for conduct of assembly elections in the state has not submitted its report to
Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora yet but will be submitted to the election commission of India very soon. A decision on holding assembly elections will be taken by election commission of India only after consultations with the union home ministry on the timing of assembly elections in the state.”
On March 14, three member team of observers appointed by the Election Commission of India arrived Srinagar to meet the political parties and “assess the feasibility” for holding the assembly elections in J&K.
Upon their arrival, the team drove to the Lalit hotel located on the upscale Gupkar Road where they will hold one-on-one meetings with the regional parties for discussing the timing and phasing of the state assembly polls.
The ECI had appointed former IAS officers Vinod Zutshi and Noor Muhammad, and former IPS officer A S Gill, as special observers to assess the feasibility of holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to their mandate, the observers would make a real-time assessment of the situation by meeting political parties, district and state authorities and other stakeholders, and discuss modalities for holding the assembly elections.
The ECI’s decision to not hold the assembly elections simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir has sparked a massive uproar with the regional political parties like National Conference and People’s Democratic Party accusing the Centre of “eroding the democratic set-up” in the state.
However, sources in the government said it is “impossible” to hold the state assembly polls simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections given the deteriorating security situation in the aftermath of the Pulwama suicide bombing.
“For holding Lok Sabha polls for Baramulla constituency alone, we need 400 companies of central paramilitary forces. If assembly polls are held simultaneously, it will require massive deployment. We can’t compromise on security,” a top government officer said.

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ERA initiates blacklisting of defaulting contractors

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Srinagar, Mar 20: J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency (JKERA) has initiated the process of blacklisting/debarment of contractors who had violated various contract conditions in 12 contract packages under ADB Loan I and Loan II.
As per an official communiqué issued here, CEO ERA, Dr. Raghav Langer said that the FIDIC contract agreement conditions clearly defines every term and condition for execution of contracts and the procedure for blacklisting and debarment of defaulting contractors.
He further added that ERA has accordingly initiated the process of blacklisting and debarment of contractors, under J&K Registration of Contractor Act 1956 in case there were inordinate delays thereby depriving public of intended benefits and causing huge loss to state exchequer, structural faults, corrupt and fraudulent practices, misrepresentation, indulging in false claims under arbitration, nonperformance, abandoning of works etc.
The CEO reiterated the need for professional management of contracts and said that erring contractors of J&K ERA under previously executed Road Projects, Flyovers Project, Sewerage and Water Supply Schemes, Dewatering and Drainage Schemes in Jammu & Kashmir regions have been issued notices which shall be confirmed by adopting the due process.
The removal of name from Register under Act No. 6 of 1956 sub-clause 5 shall there by prevent them from participating in any future contracts in the State of J&K.

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