Digitisation of labour dept records still a plan on paper

Digitisation of labour dept records still a plan on paper
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Nobody allocated to the task, employees struggling with 6-year backlog of paperwork

Srinagar: Digitisation of official records at Department of Labour & Employment (L&E) is being prevented by shortage of manpower and technical knowhow. The department had planned to link itself by January this year to an ‘All-India Portal’ for single-window access to its information and services.
The official work is still being done on paper. Officials at the department told Kashmir Reader that much resources and time is wasted in preserving the paperwork, which would not have been the case had there been digitisation of records.
“Only advisories are being forwarded by minsters and higher officials, but what it takes to implement them is never taken care of. What can the department do with empty hands? We need resources and manpower to digitise the records,” said an official.
He said that the department needs persons who have knowledge of the digitisation process, at district level as well as at divisional level.
“Nothing is being done on the ground. The irony is that nobody even in the department has been allocated exclusively for this process. Rather than delaying the process further and create further backlog, officials should start the process right now,” he said.
If the labour and employment department does manage to link itself with the all-India portal, it will be able to provide comprehensive, accurate, and reliable information and services of all its wings at one place, online. This will also reduce the wear and tear of documents.
Former labour commissioner, Sarmad Hafeez, had in January claimed that the department will digitise its records very soon, which will bring transparency and efficiency in the work culture of the department. “But that ‘soon’ seems very far,” quipped the official.
The number of records that need to be digitised can be gauged by the fact that just the Provident Fund section of the department has more than a million subscribers. Officials are struggling and working hard to finish the work backlog of more than six years.
While the current labour commissioner could not be contacted, a top-level official of the L&E department told Kashmir Reader that the “background process” of digitising records is in progress and after two months, half of it will be complete.
“We have outsourced the process to a private firm, which has given us assurances of finishing half the task in the coming two months. It’s all being done under the business reforms initiative. Rest of the records will also be taken care of once half the process is done,” he said.
The L&E department is the implementing body in Jammu & Kashmir for 23 Government of India-legislated labour laws and three J&K enactments for regulating working conditions of labourers and construction workers.


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