Availability of HoDs at Headquarters

Literally and administratively speaking, posting of a government employee means a particular place where one was expected to perform official duties and remain present unless circumstances warranted one’s non availability due to extreme reasons including official but only under due permission from one’s competent higher authority . Such a permission , as we all know, could preferably be in writing but depending upon special circumstances, it could be oral or otherwise but confirmed later in writing. Leaving one’s Headquarters without proper permission constitutes disobedience and indiscipline. Having said so, why should most of the Heads of Departments appear to be not ‘available’ at their respective headquarters, is what has disturbed the state Chief Secretary. The idea behind their remaining at respective headquarters was to ensure smooth and normal functioning of their offices which normally in the absence of the ‘boss’ is not the case because accountability and responsibility like inalienable parts of government service have not yet percolated deep down up to the last employee in rank and seniority in state offices.
Does the working culture in state departments of compliance of official instructions, circulars and directives exist in strict terms ? Most probably not, which speaks for treating pointed and explicit instructions from the General Administration Department very lightly or at best ignored, even if intensity of issuing such instructions in writing have been for as many as three times in a year. The habit of calling the Deputy Commissioners for meetings at Srinagar and Jammu as the case be, by Senior Officers and Heads of Departments instead of using the mode of video- conferencing, appears to be hard to reverse as there was no provision for facing the music for wilfully not complying with what has been ordered to follow in the interests of better administration and avoiding ostentatious travel and other expenses and causing a drain on state exchequer.
The fact that the Chief Secretary has taken ‘a very serious note’ of the directives being wilfully flouted and physical avoidable mobility not substituted by video- conferencing and related technology using and followed by instructions recently issued by him too should not meet the same fate as the ones issued in a row three times last year by the General Administration Department. The question is how was that going to be ensured and implemented strictly . Perhaps , again by issuing fresh directives and instructions but worded more strongly . That obviously being no solution and the cycle needs to be broken by penalising wilful default and non compliance which would prove as a deterrent. The issue under consideration is symbolic of the entire widespread scenario of treating office duties and compliance of directives and instructions as casual and even optional .
Mere attending the office in time and leaving after the prescribed timings in government offices and departments alone would bring out tremendous improvement in working results but is that strictly monitored? Jammu and Kashmir state departments urgently need a paradigm shift in the existing working culture. Removing ‘dead wood’ and penalising habitual defaulters of non compliance of official instructions and directives would herald a perceptible overall change and contain to a large extent irregularities and red-tape . The idea of ensuring presence in the respective headquarters of seniors officers is only meant to cut on the inconvenience to general public and for better deliverance of governance which , therefore, warrants that senior officers set an example for their juniors in complying with instructions from ‘higher authorities’ and controlling offices.