The Jammu and Kashmir Public Services Guarantee Act which came into effect from August 10, 2011, provides for the delivery of public services by the designated officers to the eligible persons of the State within the specified time limit. This enactment was necessitated by the objective of good governance. After all, a service is called effective and productive only when the service is actually provided. The entire issue about the Public Service Guarantee Act is that there is no effective and efficient mechanism of monitoring the providing of services. Although the Act provides for bring more services within the ambit of the Act yet the question is when the services already identified are not being provided efficiently, it makes little sense to ask them to add more services. Yes, if the results of services hitherto provided were satisfactory, then one could strongly recommend that departments should expand services.
The State Government notified the Rules vide SRO 223 of 2011 and again by virtue of another SRO of 2011 the State Government notified the services to be delivered to the eligible persons under the Act, time limit for providing the notified services, particulars of the designated officers, first appellate authorities and second appellate authorities. This shows the urgency expressed by the Government in implementing the Act in letter and in spirit. But the ground situation is not at all satisfactory. The Chief Minister has been insisting on Administrative Secretaries in all meetings that they should ensure the implementation of the clauses of the Act. The Chief Secretary has also been laying stress on the same theme. The Act even provides for punitive action against the defaulting officers and functionaries. Even directions were issued in every meeting of Committee of Secretaries for curtailing the timelines of several existing services, which are not justified. The concerned authorities have failed to furnish the status report just because they have not monitored the progress.
If the Act provides for punitive measures against the defaulters, why are not those measures adopted and the slackness and lethargy among the functionaries punished? Passing Acts and framing rules of procedure and issuing directives etc. without evoking response and without the concerned taking due note is exercise in futility. Acts are not meant to become a decoration piece and salaries are not paid to the functionaries to defy or scuttle the orders of superiors. A good intention of the Government is scuttled by a state is a sad reflection on the performance of the administration. Service is meant to help those who have no approach and influence and thus would be left behind and neglected. The Government has come forward many steps to offer help to such persons through the enactment of the law.