Stress on making bureaucrats answerable, timely submission of ATRs
JAMMU, June 7: Chairmen of various Committees of the Legislative Assembly have expressed dismay over non-implementation of recommendations by the bureaucrats despite numerous circular instructions in this regard by the General Administration Department and have categorically told the Speaker that unless bureaucrats are made answerable and timely submission of Action Taken Reports (ATRs) is ensured no result would be achieved.
Sources told EXCELSIOR that the Chairmen of Financial and other Committees of the Legislative Assembly have jointly conveyed to the Speaker Dr Nirmal Singh that no action has been taken on majority of the recommendations made by these Committees in their reports submitted so far thereby defeating the purpose behind establishment of Committees.
They have further conveyed to the Speaker that slackness on the part of bureaucrats in acting on the recommendations and submitting suo-moto Action Taken Reports (ATRs) is creating impediments in making functioning of these Committees result-oriented.
Some of the Chairmen have even expressed serious concern over non-participation of senior officers in the meetings of the House Committees despite advance notice and in blatant violation of explicit instructions in this regard issued by the General Administration Department from time to time, sources informed.
It is pertinent to mention here that vide Circular No.26 of 2014 dated June 4, 2014, the General Administration Department had expressed anguish over failure of the Administrative Secretaries to ensure participation of senior officers in the meetings of the Financial and other Committees of the Legislative Assembly and non-furnishing of action taken on the reports presented by these Committees.
Accordingly, the GAD had directed that the concerned officer(s) should ensure that they attend the meetings without fail; provide necessary documents/ record to the Committees at least two days prior to holding of meeting and furnish action taken on the reports in a time bound manner.
In pursuance of Rule 308-A of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, the Government is bound to implement the recommendations contained in a report/interim report within six months from the date of presentation of such report/interim report in the House.
Keeping this Rule in mind, the GAD vide Circular No.25 of 2017 dated May 30, 2017 had impressed upon all the Administrative Secretaries to implement the recommendations contained in the reports laid on the table of the House from time to time.
“The Chairmen of the House Committees have conveyed to the Speaker that these circular instructions are still not being adhered to by the bureaucrats as a result of which majority of the recommendations made by the Committees so far have remained unimplemented”, sources further informed.
They have also expressed serious concern over inaction on the part of concerned departments on the audit paragraphs of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. “No action has been taken on majority of the audit paragraphs contained in the CAG reports submitted since 2001-02”, sources said.
When contacted, National Conference MLA and Chairman of Committee on Public Accounts Ali Mohammad Sagar said, “the concerned departments are supposed to submit suo-moto Action Taken Reports (ATRs) on the recommendations of the House Committees and audit paragraphs of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India but there is no compliance”.
“By not acting upon the recommendations of the House Committees the bureaucrats and concerned departments are undermining the authority of the Legislature, which otherwise is supreme”, he further said.
Expressing similar views, MLA from Ramnagar and Chairman of Committee on Petitions R S Pathania said, “the Speaker has been conveyed that unless strong mechanism of acting upon the recommendations of the House Committees in a time bound manner is evolved the objective behind detailed exercise by these Committees cannot be achieved”.
“We cannot allow the slackness and non-seriousness to prevail further as such bureaucrats and departments are required to be made accountable”, he further said.
Chairman of Ethics Committee and MLA Udhampur Pawan Gupta said, “there is a wrong notion that implementation of recommendations of the House Committees is the discretion of the Government”, adding “the fact is that entire Government is answerable to the Legislature and Financial and other Committees of the Legislative Assembly, which are considered as Miniature House”.
These Chairmen said that it was unanimously decided in the meeting with the Speaker that from now onwards the reports of the House Committees will be debated upon in the House before being formally adopted so that it becomes binding on the Government to implement the recommendations.
It is pertinent to mention here that at present there is precedence of only laying on the table of the House reports of these Committees by respective Chairmen and the same are presumed as adopted by the House. “But the new mechanism will remove the misgivings of the bureaucrats about implementation of recommendations”, Chairmen said.