October 6, 2020

Institutional accountability in conflict with community development

In absence of institutional accountability neither people in power nor the leaders claiming to be part of the civil society can raise the standards of community development as none else than three time former Chief Minister of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state Dr Farooq Abdullah recently said that he and his own contemporaries are bearing the brunt for going against the public currents in Jammu & Kashmir. Farooq Abdullah’s remark that he and his political contemporaries had to face the public criticism and condemnation for going against the public currents in Jammu & Kashmir after withdrawal of statehood and special status to Jammu & Kashmir on August 5 last year is in fact endorsement of the general public opinion hat people in power are more accountable to their own communities than the government taking care of the law enforcement institutions. Though top leadership in Delhi is claiming that the government has embarked on a plan of anti-corruption crusade and democratic dencentralisation but hurting and insulting it is that people facing trials in anti-corruption courts and premier investigative agencies are holding top key positions in Jammu & Kashmir Government. Had the institutional investigations into corruption cases against the politicians and retired bureaucrats been fast paced, many of those accused of looting the public money in yesteryears would have been at least indicted by the anti-corruption courts during last two years of direct central rule in Jammu & Kashmir. While the people facing corruption charges are holding top key position Jammu & Kashmir Government, the government itself is selective in giving political freedom to the people who have been propagating mainstream politics for several decades in the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state. Though the recent statements of Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on development, democracy and corruption are encouraging for one and all but the institutions of accountability become a casualty when government assigns the task of development to people facing trial in the anti-corruption courts and premier investigative agencies.

Unless and until the political party in power at centre does not prove it’s allegations against the leaders of the previous popular governments of Jammu & Kashmir through a transparent system of accountability, the agenda of community development won’t take the government closer to the people at grass roots despite embarking on dozens of developmental initiatives like “back to village” programs .

Before talking about the transparency in the developmental processes and democratic initiatives, the government has to ensure that the institutions of accountability establish their writ as this is the only way to restore the confidence of the people in the working of the government. As regards the anti-corrupt measures of the government, the political party in power at centre does not muster courage to fast pace the investigations against the leaders of previous popular governments in Jammu & Kashmir. Unless and until the political party in power at centre does not prove it’s allegations against the leaders of the previous popular governments of Jammu & Kashmir through a transparent system of accountability, the agenda of community development won’t take the government closer to the people at grass roots despite embarking on dozens of developmental initiatives like “back to village” programs

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