With corruption and misgovernance rampant in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s renewed resolve of introducing good governance, accountability and development in the state has rekindled hope of some harsh measures to tackle the menace.
Good governance has been a distant dream for people of J&K as corrupt political leadership and bureaucracy have been ruling the roost while the common people were facing the brunt of the malice. Tough measures shall have to be taken by Modi to end corruption and bring good governance in the state that is currently under the Governor’s rule.
Modi had in an interview has said that good governance and development was out goal in Kashmir.
People in all the three regions of J&K, Jammu, Kashmir valley and Ladakh, are yearning for good governance and end to corruption. The centre’s representative Dineshwar Sharma during his visits to farflung areas and also to towns and cities has been getting requests of development and good governance.
Hope of corruption being eradicated was also generated in 2013 when Modi during his election campaign made the commitment of tackling corruption and introduce good governance in the state. However, more than three years have passed and neither any effective steps have been taken to end corruption or introduce good governance. Chaotic conditions prevail among the officialdom that was hardly observing any rules, regulations or financial discipline.
Successive governments have also miserably failed to introduce accountability in the state where the blue-eyed bureaucrats were known for bending rules to benefit the influential people. Take the example of cleaning of the iconic Dal Lake in Srinagar for which the centre had from time to time sanctioned several hundred crores of rupees but condition of the Lake continues to deteriorate and no one has ever fixed the responsibility of where the huge amount of money has gone.
During the previous three stints of central rule in J&K, Governor NN Vohra made attempts to enforce discipline among the officialdom but things returned to the square one when elected governments took over the reins of administration. Repeated orders of the Governor to officers to file their annual property statements have been defied by the bureaucracy.
Various central ministries have from time to time suspended grants to the state government as the concerned officers would not submit the expenditure certificates for the previous grants. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its reports had been pointing out glaring incidents of misuse of funds by various departments but that did not affect the shameless officials.
Vohra had at least twice brought to the notice of Home Minister Rajnath Singh prevalence of corruption in the state and need for effective measures to tackle it. He had also repeatedly asked the then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to take action against the corrupt elements.
The vigilance commission and the vigilance organisation of the state have failed to assert against the corrupt elements in the government and some officials who were prematurely retired as they were considered “deadwood” were reinstated on court orders as the law department did not prepare their cases properly.