Announcement about archiving vital Govt record of last 32 years remains on papers

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Dec 30: The much-hyped announcement regarding archiving of Cabinet decisions, Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and other vital record of the State Government of last 32 years has remained on the papers despite lapse of one and half years as none of the departments is showing seriousness in submitting the same to the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums.
In this way, the repository of the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums has remained deficient of the record of last three decades and is not meeting the requirements of historians, researchers and students.
The announcement regarding archiving of every Cabinet decision, Government order of structural importance and other important documents of last 32 years was made on April 22, 2016 by the Minister for Finance, Dr Haseeb Drabu, who was also holding the portfolio of Culture Department at that time.
He was shocked to know that State Government has not archived the vital record including Cabinet decisions since 1985 because of the absolute non-seriousness at all the levels. He had fixed six months timeline for archiving of all Cabinet decisions and other vital documents of the Government since 1985 and making it a regular affair thereafter.
This announcement was welcomed by all particularly the historians and researchers as the same was of immense importance for making repository of Archives, Archaeology and Museums Department rich in real sense.
However, the announcement has largely remained confined to the papers due to lack of seriousness on the part of majority of the Government departments including General Administration Department, which generally remains aware of the key policy decisions of the Government, sources told EXCELSIOR.
It is pertinent to mention here that vital decisions about any of the Government departments are taken by the Cabinet and memorandums in this regard are placed before the highest decision making body by the concerned departments through the General Administration Department as such the major responsibility devolves on this particular department as far as implementation of announcement of April 22, 2016 is concerned.
Though key policy decisions taken by the State Government after April 22, 2016 are being sent to the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums yet the Cabinet decisions, MoUs and other vital documents pertaining to period between 1985 to April 2016 have not been submitted to the Archives Department till date, sources informed.
“In this way, there is archival gap of three decades in the repository of Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums with regard to key Government decisions most importantly Cabinet orders”, they said, adding “non-submission of record of 32 years has also raised many questions vis-à-vis actual availability of the same with the concerned departments and this aspect is also required to be looked into”.
They further said, “it seems that there is no practice of maintaining records by the Government departments otherwise there should have been no hesitation in forwarding the same to the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums by the concerned departments”.
When contacted, an officer of the Department of Archives confirmed that no step has been taken by the Government departments to give practical shape to the announcement of the then Minister for Culture despite the lapse of one and half year. “The issue has been highlighted at the appropriate forum and let us see what positive results this step yields in the near future”, he added.
Pointing towards the misplacement of documents relating to entrustment of hydro electric projects in Jammu and Kashmir to NHPC, sources said, “had serious attention been paid towards archiving of the record this situation could not have emerged”, adding “if the Government departments will continue to falter on submission of record of last three decades to the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums similar situation can emerge for the Government on certain important aspects in future”.
It is pertinent to mention here that misplacement of documents relating to some power projects had created stir following which a Cabinet Sub-Committee had to be constituted. But this step too failed to yield any result.