JAMMU: Now a Union Territory, Jammu and Kashmir might have failed in achieving targets with regard to completion of developmental projects, implementation of welfare schemes and provision of various utility services to the people but it has certainly excelled in effecting transfers and postings, almost on daily basis religiously. If the presence of the government is to be gauged, it will be discernible in terms of the number of transfers ordered almost every second day, if not every day. Industrially deficit and economically backward, the new Union Territory can take pride in having a flourishing transfer industry, which has been sustaining politicians and bureaucrats for decades. It has been a legacy that gets bequeathed to each dispensation, be it political or gubernatorial in nature. There has been no diversion on this count, which is why each time the meetings of cabinet or administrative councils are held, the only curiosity remains about the postings of top bureaucrats, both in civil and police administration. Routinely, transfers of other categories are made as per ‘demand and supply’. This is the only industry that remains functional 24x7x365 (one day more during leap years). Each day, the political executives and the top Babus, as the case may be about the nature of the government, hold musical chair games. The smart ones with resources occupy the seats in this musical game once the whistles of bids are blown. Jammu and Kashmir has a so-called transfer policy notified vide Government Order 861 GAD of 2010 dated July 28, 2010, which spells out guidelines on tenure of the employees and digressions, if any, to be made in the interest of administration. The decade old transfer policy, amended partially in 2018, enumerates the guidelines in detail, which inter allia specify that while effecting the transfers, the eligibility and suitability of the concerned employees and the interest of government work shall be given the utmost priority. The convenience of the employees may also be considered provided it does not affect the interests of the government work and the postings shall be made on a rotational basis to sensitive and non-sensitive (non-field) posts. Every department particularly the Engineering and Finance Departments shall identify sensitive and non-sensitive posts and evolve a roster for posting of officers with the approval of the Minister Incharge. Contrary to these key principles, it has been seen that a set of officers keep shuffling from one lucrative to another lucrative post as a matter of their ‘birth right’. It has become such a vicious circle wherein nobody other than the specific lot can break and enter. The vested interest is so deep that blue eyed ones hold charge of several departments as if none other than them can man the slots. As a consequence, government work gets affected hugely and if at all anything is achieved, it is vested interest of a particular officer and his or her mentor in the top echelons of the administration. This culture got boost during the BJP partnered government in the recent past and this legacy continuing to guide the administration. In the process of postings, the guideline on tenure gets hugely abused. With transfer orders being issued on regular basis, it has been observed that some officers get shifted within a spell of days and months. The policy says, “The maximum tenure of posting in respect of important projects which are required to be completed in a time bound manner, may be extended upto five years if continuation of any officer is considered necessary. Specific orders for retention of the officer in such cases beyond a period of three years shall be issued with the approval of the Minister Incharge (presently advisors or administrative secretaries) and the reasons for the same shall be recorded”. If the transfer orders of the past decade are browsed, not a single such order will be carrying the reasons of overstay of the officer(s) at a specific slot. None of the dispensations have ever even attempted to adhere to the minimum and maximum tenure as enshrined in the policy. It has been seen that majority of transfers effected in the recent past do not stick to the minimum tenure of two years and maximum of three years. As a consequence and in the wake of frequent transfers, adversely impact the pace on work on projects in engineering sector and implementation of welfare schemes.
The present dispensation has been claiming of bringing transparency and accountability in the administration. If so, let it initiate the course correction, undo the wrongs committed (or being committed even now) and rejuvenate the administration by injecting a new vigour into it. Let it call a halt to frequent transfers and say good bye to the mischievous tag of ‘additional charge’ to favour chosen few.
TO BE CONTINUED
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