Government Initiatives June 20 – June 26, 2021

Added Accountability

Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Chief Executive Officer, JKERA chairing meeting of officials.

Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) has asked the contractor of the Parimpora-Soibugh road to complete the project within stipulated time or face penalty. CEO ERA directed the contractor to immediately increase the manpower and machinery deployed to ensure that the project is completed well within time. The engineering staff was directed for strict weekly monitoring of progress. The contractor has been asked that heavy liquidity damages as a penalty would be imposed on the contractors for failing to adhere to the deadlines. The Parimpora-Soibugh road connects Srinagar and Budgam. The existing road is being upgraded with improved flexible design and protective measures. The completion of this road would augment the road infrastructure between the two neighbouring districts and would also connect the important tourist and religious destinations.

Aiding Labourers

Bailey bridge nearing completion

Jammu and Kashmir government last week released an amount of Rs 1,06,99600 as welfare assistance for 1514 registered construction workers of Srinagar from the Jammu and Kashmir Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board. The move comes in the backdrop of Covid-19 relief announced by the government for vulnerable sections of the society who have faced the whammy of three lockdowns since August 2019.  On the occasion, Labour Commissioner said the sole aim of this welfare assistance is to help these workers in providing education to their children especially in challenging times of the Covid pandemic. Labour Commissioner said the officials need to work with zeal and enthusiasm to ensure that the benefits reach the grassroots level workers. He also asked the officers to sensitize the general public about their schemes through awareness camps on regular basis.

Building Public Distribution

The government hinted at weeding out fake beneficiaries under the public distribution system through 100 per cent Aadhar enrolment by July 31, 2021, besides operationalizing the online biometric-authenticated sale of ration across all 6738 FPS. The Department is also formulating a nomination policy whereby beneficiaries in old age or those living with disabilities can nominate a responsible person after due verification to collect the quota of the subsidized ration on their behalf. The government is also working on the One Nation One Ration Card System, which is a citizen-centric reform that will ensure the availability of ration to beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) through portability across India. Jammu and Kashmir’s public distribution system continues to be poorly managed as the ration ghats are marred by either delay in providing the food grains or by rampant corruption. A meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta was told that through a network of 6738 Fair Price Shops (FPS), 1.03 lakh metric tonnes of food grains was distributed in May 2021.

Weeding Out Poppy

Police destroy Poppy cultivation in Islamabad

Various law enforcement agencies have destroyed the illicit poppy crop spread on a total of 833 kanals and 17 marlas of land across Kashmir and registered 14 FIRs. Last week, the teams comprising of Excise and Taxation Officer, South, North and Central Excise Range destroyed illicit poppy crops spread over a total of 1 kanal and 11 marlas of land.

Streamlining The Recruitment

The Jammu and Kashmir government said that the Services Selection Board has initiated the largest ever recruitment drive as part of the Accelerated Recruitments and during the last six months, the Board has advertised over 18,000 posts, of which examination was conducted for approximately 12,000 vacancies existing across various departments. The government said that there are staffing issues in the Board and directed that all the necessary assistance for manpower and other resources shall be provided to the Board to successfully culminate the process of Accelerated Recruitments. The government also announced that an e-office of the Board will be set up at the earliest. The Chairman of the Board was asked to conclude the ongoing selections on a fast-track basis and ensure that the communication gap with the aspirants is removed and there shall be no ambiguity in the recruitment process. The meeting chaired by the Commissioner Secretary General Administration Department (GAD) Manoj Kumar Dwivedi comes in the wake of the recent revelation that the Board has collected Rs 77 crore as examination fees from March 2016 to September 2020 while not conducting the exam in various recruitment processes. The information has been revealed by the department in response to a Right to Information (RTI) application. As per the official data, the JKSSB collected Rs 5 crore (Rs 5, 32, 33733) from March 2016 to December 2016 as an examination fee for various posts advertised by the department. As per the details, the JKSSB charges approximately Rs 350 per post for a non-gazetted position while the Union Public Service Commission which conducts the Civil Services Examination and other gazetted post examinations charge just Rs 100 per post. What is more wondrous is the fact that the JKSSB in the RTI reply has revealed that in around 300 odd recruitment processes, for which the fee from aspirants was collected, the board never conducted exams.

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