Govt aims at performance review, transparency

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday disclosed the names of 63 corrupt officials who have been axed as part of an attempt to remove “deadwood” from the administration.
Naeem Akhtar

Talking to reporters here, Education Minister and spokesperson of the state government Naeem Akhtar said that of the 63 officers whose services have been terminated, 25 were involved in trap cases by anti-graft bodies, 11 had disproportionate assets cases and 27 were involved in other cases.
Among the sacked officials, 14 were from the revenue department, five from irrigation and flood control, four from consumers affairs and public distribution, three from health, five from the home department, four from education, two from power development, five from police, three from the road and building department, and two from the forest department.
Akhtar said the sacked officials included chief engineers, doctors, enforcement and project officers. Asked why the list did not include senior officials from the police department who do not have a good track record, he replied “nobody is above the law and the current decision would now be made a permanent feature.” There was also a lighter moment during the press conference when Akhtar named five sacked police officials, of which two are head constables, two assistant sub inspectors and one station head officer – which caused some laughter.
Akhtar said the decision to sack these officials was taken by a high-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary. The other members of the Committee were the Principal secretary to the Chief Minister, Principal Secretary Home, Commissioner Secretary General Administration Department (GAD) and Secretary Law.
“The sacking of these officials involves invoking the existing clause of J&K Civil Services Rules, as per which the government has to assess the performance of an officer after he/she completes 48 years of age or 22 years of service. By today’s action we just reiterated the essentiality of this clause,” Akhtar said.
He added that performance review of an officer would now be a regular feature and if the performance was not up to the mark or an official’s integrity was under question, he or she would be shown the door. Later in the day, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed echoed the same views when he was addressing officers of the District Development Board of Srinagar and Budgam.
Akhtar also announced the new recruitment policy, according to which new appointees would be made regular from the start of their services, however they will reap financial benefits five years after their first appointment. He said that during these five years, performance and integrity will be checked and no transfers will be made. The new appointees would be paid basic minimum pay (Pay Band+Grade Pay) during the first five years of service.
Akhtar also said there were about 7,500 posts vacant with the service selection board (SSB), and 1,700 posts of college lecturers, 1,200 school teachers, 300-400 doctors which have been vacant for many years with the public service commission (PSC).
In case of SSB, each district would be assigned to a member and the Central Board would be strengthened by deputing more members, while in case of PSC, nine more members will be added. The new system, Akhtar said, would fast-track recruitment. “This decision was meant for bringing transparency in the system and now all backdoor entries have been sealed forever. This decision is now irreversible,” he said.
The minister also set a deadline of three months (from June 30) to recruiting agencies to complete the selection process for already referred posts and four months for vacancies which will be referred to the recruitment agencies. He asked all the government departments to refer existing vacancies to the concerned selection agencies within a period of one month from the date of issuance of this policy.