Describing officers as critical instrumentalities for bringing about perceptible change in the quality of administration, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed,Tuesday called upon the newly-appointed officers to work with single-minded dedication and thinking out-of-box to redress the grievances of the people.
He asked them to be in a state of constant preparedness to deliver good and efficacious governance, as they are the interface between the elected representatives and the general public. “The requirements of our three geographical regions are distinct. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the needs of the people living in these areas,” he said.
The Chief Minister, who is also the Minister for General Administration Department, made these observations while interacting with KAS probationers belonging to 2013 and 2015 batches.
Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Vice Chairman, IMPA&RD, Dr. Arun Kumar, Chairman, BPE, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Commissioner / Secretary, GAD, Gazzanfar Hussain, Director General, Information & PR, Zaffar Ahmad and IGP, Kashmir Zone, SJM Gillani were also present on the occasion.
Asking the officers to maintain highest standards of probity and integrity in discharging their duties, Mufti Sayeed said their main motive should be to serve the people by delivering justice in a fair, transparent and hassle-free manner. “You have to understand the intricate issues which are routinely faced by the general public and learn to settle these in an impartial and dispassionate manner,” he emphasised.
The Chief Minister reiterated his Government’s resolve for inclusive, balanced and equitable development in the state. “We need to provide a smart government to realize the socio-economic aspirations of our people,” he added.
Referring to the services notified under PGSA (Public Service Guarantee Act), Mufti Sayeed said some institutional measures have already been taken to address the issue of procrastination. He said under the Act, the officers have to settle the issue within the prescribed timeline.
As many as 80 services have already been notified under this Act.
Mufti Sayeed advised the KAS Probationers to familiarise themselves with the special characteristics of the state which would prepare them better in gaining immediate understanding of the challenges faced by the people living in different regions of the state.
The Chief Minister observed that while the officers are probating and undergoing training sessions, they must optimally utilize this opportunity to learn the nitty gritty of responsive administration.
Referring to the changing role of civil services, Mufti Sayeed credited the officers for translating policies into action as they are the real messengers for any political dispensation. “The role of civil service cannot be static and has to be in sync with the rapidly changing environment,” he said.
Laying stress on new and innovative ideas, the Chief Minister said there has been a significant impact of government programmes and policies on poverty, healthcare, employment and inclusive development. “To close gaps, the growing role of civil society needs to be integrated with the functioning of civil services for better synergy. Information Technology could facilitate evolving new and speedier solutions to the problems,” he suggested.
Drawing the attention of the probationers to the events of the last two decades on the law-and-order front which adversely affected the economic activity in the state, Mufti Sayeed said J&K lagged behind the rest of the county in the field of development. “With a perceptible improvement in the overall situation, development is increasingly being seen as a vital entry point for consolidating peace dividends. We need to capitalize this opportunity,” he stated.
Placing high priority on empowerment of people, the Chief Minister said the government will soon hold Panchayat elections to empower local self-government institutions so that powers are delegated to the people at the grassroots level. “For development to be locally meaningful, power needs to be returned to the people and communities by strengthening local control and ownership,” he said, citing the Single Line Administration in Ladakh as a pioneering step in this direction in the state.
The Chief Minister urged the officers to rebuilt lost bridges by wiping out the scars of violence from the state’s beautiful landscape. He said the Truth & Reconciliation Mission is an idea whose time has come. “We must experiment with the idea to ensure emotional linkages and confidence amongst one another, especially between families, communities and regions within J&K,” he added.
Later, the Chief Minister interacted with the KAS officers and sought feedback, particularly from those working in the Rural Development Department about their field experiences, especially related to the role of panchayats in ushering in a new era of development in the state.
Responding to the concern of some probationers that they face difficulties in implementing Centrally-Sponsored schemes, the Chief Secretary briefed the Chief Minister that the Central schemes are being revisited and made state-specific which will take care of the concerns expressed by the officers.
Arun Kumar and Khushid Ahmad Ganai also shared their experiences with the probationers.