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Governor chairs high-level meeting of Vice-Chancellors

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Jammu, Dec 27: Governor Satya Pal Malik chaired a high level meeting of all the Vice Chancellors to discuss issues pertaining to all the State Universities at the Raj Bhavan here today.
Governor emphasized upon all the Universities to enhance their research capabilities and to update the syllabus regularly so as to keep abreast with rapidly changing global developments. He observed that there should be a State level Advanced Research facility with latest equipment for promoting research in the new and innovative areas.
Governor laid stress on promoting entrepreneurship among the youth and suggested that Universities may introduce suitable courses in this area. He emphasized focus towards introducing vocational and entrepreneurial courses for the skill development of the students. He further stated that stringent quality control measures should be introduced in the B.Ed colleges affiliated with the Universities.
Governor advised the Farm Universities to undertake innovative research in improving seed varieties particularly oilseeds and pulses and suggested that measures be taken for reducing the yield gap between the farmers’ field and the experimental plots of the Universities by deputing a team of researchers for finding out reasons for such variations and addressing them suitably. He also stressed strengthening of extension services and rapid transfer of technologies to equip the farmers with latest know-how.
Governor noted that J&K is largely dependent on imports of mutton and poultry products from outside the State and in this context stressed the need for a well coordinated approach to gain self-sufficiency in regard to these areas.
Governor stressed that the Academic Calendar for Academic Session should be issued well in advance and all the backlogs if any must be cleared; biometric attendance should be a compulsory feature of the Universities; teacher-student ratio must be further improved; selection procedure for the teaching positions must comply with the UGC norms and gainful benefits under RUSA must be maximized.
Governor emphasized that all higher Education Institutions must ensure NAAC Accreditation, emphasis to be laid on provision of common room and toilet facilities for girls, sports and extracurricular activities be encouraged as an integral component of University education and in this regard he advised that the annual Inter University Sports meet be made a regular feature.
Governor lauded the good work being done by the Universities in promotion of research, innovation and academic discipline and urged the Vice Chancellors for excelling in every arena of University Education.
Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, Advisor to Governor, urged the Vice-Chancellors to set bench marks for their performances in varied aspects of University Education and introduce measurable criteria to regularly check their standings in this regard.
Sarita Chouhan, Commissioner Secretary Higher Education gave an overview about the functioning of the Higher Education Institutions in the State and he progress made in achieving the objectives.
Vice-Chancellors of all the Universities briefed Governor about the overall functioning, achievements and pressing issues of their respective Universities.
Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to Governor; Manzoor Ahmad Lone, Secretary to Government, Agriculture Production Department; Prof. Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, University of Kashmir; Prof. Manoj Kumar Dhar, Vice Chancellor, University of Jammu; Dr. Pradeep K. Sharma, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu; Prof. (Dr.) Nazeer Ahmed, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Kashmir; Prof. Javed Musarrat, Vice Chancellor, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri; Prof. Sheikh Javid Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Cluster University Srinagar; Prof. Anju Bhasin, Vice Chancellor, Cluster University of Jammu; Dr. Sanjeev Jain, Vice Chancellor, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University; Prof. Mushtaq A. Siddiqi, Vice Chancellor, Islamic University of Science & Technology, Awantipora; and M.R. Andrabi, Director General Finance Department were present in the meeting.


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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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