October 22, 2020

“My Town, My Pride”: For Kits, Bags, domicile certificates

“My Town, My Pride” launched by Jammu & Kashmir Government to send out a message that it has embarked on a massive developmental initiative has ultimately become a crude joke as the visiting top dignitaries of the government mostly distribute sports kits, gift bags containing walking sticks and hearing aids, domicile certificates and income certificate at the “ My Town, My Pride” programs in town across Jammu & Kashmir. Let us remind the government that popular governments of the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state used to distribute sports kits, walking stick and hearing aids through VLWs and panchayat representatives. As far as the job of distribution of domicile and income certificates is concerned, the domiciles and income certificates are to be issued by Tehsildars and not to be distributed by Lt Governor, his advisors, administrative secretaries and other top officials heading key departments. In the rarest of the rare cases the top government authorities including Lt Governor’s advisors and administrative secretaries lay foundation of developmental project. Shutting down the doors of the civil secretariat the highest seat of power for former ministers, ex legislators, journalists, retired government employees and even the commoners speaks volumes about the intents of the government on the relevance and importance of public reach out initiatives. Had the government been serious about major developmental initiatives in Jammu & Kashmir, it would have at least started with the initiative of the upgradation of receiving stations and power transformers which often burst in chilly winter months more in Kashmir and less in Jammu division. Though Lt Governor had very recently promised hassle free power supply to power consumers in the forthcoming winter months in Kashmir but mid day long duration power cuts have started irritating and irking gullible power consumers in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir valley. Administrative wisdom demands that government should have exempted the functionaries of the health & medical education department from their duties at the “My Town, My Pride” programs in view of their engagement and involvement with the COVID-19 duties in both Kashmir valley and Jammu division. Unpopular decisions taken in haste without proper application of mind trigger provocations which consequently deepen the crisis of alienation.

Keeping in view the experiences of a chilly winter season in Kashmir this was the time for the government to upgrade the system of delivery of services but unfortunately the government has embarked on a mass public contact program just to divert the attention of people from the issues of greater public concern including restoration of popular rule and public representation in Jammu & Kashmir. Better for the government to focus on issues concerning delivery of services and not the mass contact programs which can be better carried out by tehsildars and block development officers in villages and towns.

The engagement and involvement of Lt Governor’s advisors and administrative secretaries with the ongoing “My Town, My Pride” development initiative has diverted their attention even from even the routine administrative work of the departments controlled by them.  Keeping in view the experiences of a chilly winter season in Kashmir this was the time for the government to upgrade the system of delivery of services but unfortunately the government has embarked on a mass public contact program just to divert the attention of people from the issues of greater public concern including restoration of popular rule and public representation in Jammu & Kashmir. Better for the government to focus on issues concerning delivery of services and not the mass contact programs which can be better carried out by tehsildars and block development officers in villages and towns.

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