Many key announcements made in last Governor Address remain on papers

*Even formal discussions not initiated on some subjects 

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Jan 2: In a testimony of absolute non-seriousness, several key announcements made by the Governor N N Vohra in his last address to the Joint Session of State Legislature have remained confined to the papers as the PDP-BJP Coalition Government has failed to make the departments accountable for initiating follow-up actions on the same. Moreover, even after the lapse of more than seven months the concerned officers are not in a position to specify any time-frame for translating these announcements into reality.
The announcements made by the Governor N N Vohra in his address to Joint Session of the Legislature on May 25, 2016 at Srinagar were welcomed by the Legislators of both the Coalition partners both inside and outside the House by dubbing them as people-friendly.
The Governor had even specifically mentioned in his address that J&K Legislature is the most empowered House in the country and it is the duty of elected representatives as well as Government to preserve sanctity and enhance the productivity of this important democratic institution, which as per the independent observers can be achieved only when the announcements made on the floor of both the Houses are taken seriously by the Government and its various organs.
What to talk of other announcements made during the entire last Budget Session even several key announcements made in last Governor address have not been taken seriously till date and the same are still confining to the official files, official sources told EXCELSIOR, adding “the non-seriousness of the concerned departments has created road-block in enhancing the productivity of important democratic institution”.
“The slack approach in translating Governor address announcements into reality is notwithstanding the fact that the same is approved by the highest decision making body of the Government—State Cabinet headed by the Chief Minister”, sources regretted.
Quoting some examples, sources said that Governor had announced that to promote the health standards of women and provide basic and critical gynecological care to women every district will have a model Maternity Hospital. However, no seriousness has so far been shown to translate this announcement into reality.
“What to talk of initiating concrete steps even formal discussion on this subject has not been conducted by the Health and Medical Education Department”, sources informed, adding “at least this primary exercise should have been conducted during the past seven months keeping in mind that a lengthy process is required to be followed before initiating steps on the ground which include preparation of proposal, identification of source(s) of funding and formulation of Detailed Project Reports”.
They further said, “what to talk of taking this announcement with required seriousness the Government has even failed to complete the under-construction Maternity Hospital at Gandhi Nagar which has already missed several deadlines”.
Similarly, it was announced in the Governor address that to protect the ecology and environment of the State and to contain the adverse impact of climate change, the Government will create three Eco Battalions with the help of the Government of India. “There is no spadework on this announcement till date”, sources regretted, adding “as impact of climate change is a serious concern across the country the Government of India would have been liberal in extending assistance to J&K had any formal proposal been submitted to it”.
The Governor had also announced that Government will rope in private partners under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode for imparting specific skills to the youth through Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). He had even gone to the extent of mentioning that 34 ITIs will be covered under PPP to begin with.
“However, there is no taker of this announcement in Technical Education Department”, sources said, adding not even one private partner has so far been roped in for achieving the objective behind the announcement.
An officer of the Directorate of Technical Education, which has administrative control over ITIs, confirmed that no step has so far been initiated in this regard. He, however, gave stereotype reply that proposal was under active consideration of the department.
Pointing towards the announcement regarding establishment of Women Entrepreneurship Centres to empower women and facilitate their livelihoods, sources said, “though foundation stone of one such centre at Jammu Haat was laid by the Industries Minister on the directions of Chief Minister but the work is going on at snail’s pace”, adding “in other parts of the State no such step has so far been initiated by the Government”.
While referring to convergence of resources approach where under construction of bridges was started to provide connectivity to residents, schools, anganwadies, hospitals and other community institutions, the Governor had announced that all the bridges taken up under this mechanism will be completed during the current year. However, in most of the districts, which have adopted this methodology, funds constraints have created road-block, sources informed.
Similar is the fate of announcement regarding effective implementation of Public Services Guarantee Act (PSGA), sources said, adding “there is no mechanism to check whether the officers designated to provide services under this Act are adhering to the time-lines”. Moreover, no seriousness is being shown to obtain periodic reports about the implementation aspect. This can be gauged from the repeated concerns raised by none else than the Chief Minister in the official meetings.
It was also announced that a comprehensive skill development programme will be envisaged to be implemented to secure gainful utilization of 61,000 casual, ad hoc and daily workers by deploying this large work force in different departments after their skill profiling. “However, there is nothing positive to show on this front”, sources added.
“Keeping all this in view, what would be the fate of announcements made in today’s Governor address remains a million dollar question”, sources remarked.