Explicit instructions issued thrice during past one year
Disobedience affects functioning, burdening exchequer
JAMMU, July 23: Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam has taken serious note of non-adherence to the directives about availability of Heads of the Departments at their respective headquarters and attending review meetings through video-conference to check disruption in the functioning of their offices and avoidable burden on the State exchequer.
The non-compliance by large number of Heads of the Departments is notwithstanding the fact that explicit instructions were issued by the General Administration Department thrice during the past one year.
Vide Circular No.21 of 2018 dated July 2, 2018, the then Commissioner/Secretary to the Government, General Administration Department expressed concern over senior officers and Heads of the Departments unnecessarily calling the Deputy Commissioners for meetings at Srinagar/Jammu.
Observing that this kind of practice was disrupting the functioning of the offices as the availability of the Deputy Commissioners was imperative at district headquarters, the General Administration Department had impressed upon all the Administrative Secretaries and Divisional Commissioners to ensure that Deputy Commissioners are not unnecessarily called for meetings. It was further directed that use of video-conferencing shall be maximized.
In Circular No.36-GAD of 2019 dated July 1, 2019, present Commissioner/Secretary to Government, General Administration Department Dr Farooq Ahmed Lone observed that some Administrative Secretaries as well as Divisional Commissioners were calling the Heads of the Departments frequently to their headquarters for meetings.
Stating that non-availability of the Heads of Departments at their respective headquarters was bound to cause disruption in the functioning of their offices and inconvenience to the general public, the GAD Secretary had impressed upon all the Administrative Secretaries and Divisional Commissioners to ensure that Heads of the Departments are not called for meetings/discussions frequently.
While defining protocol vis-a-vis attending meetings by the HoDs with Administrative Secretaries and Divisional Commissioners, the GAD in the Circular No.36 of July 1, 2019 had clearly mentioned that HoDs should not be called either to the Secretariat or to the Divisional Headquarters for meetings unless it is absolutely essential.
It was further mentioned that use of technology like video-conferencing etc shall be maximised for meetings with the Heads of the Departments. Even the Advisors to the Governor were advised to dispense with the participation of HoDs during their public outreach programmes/darbars as far as possible.
“However, these explicit directives have failed to receive due attention from all the Heads of the Departments and the practice of leaving headquarters to attend review meetings with the senior officers is still continuing”, official sources told EXCELSIOR while disclosing that Chief Secretary has taken serious note of non-adherence to the directives.
The prevailing situation has compelled the Chief Secretary to issue communication under his hand and seal about availability of HoDs at their headquarters and enhanced use of technology like video-conferencing, telecom etc.
“In order to economize time of officers/officials and to curtail the avoidable Government expenditure, it is reiterated that the review meetings to be convened from the State Capital (headquarters) will essentially be attended by the concerned officers/officials as are stationed away from the State headquarters or in any other division through video-conference”, read the communication of Chief Secretary.
The communiqué further read: “Such officers can also join the review meetings through Divisional Commissioners/ Deputy Commissioners concerned in the event the latter are participants to these meetings or can use video-conference facility available with their respective Divisional Commissioners/ Deputy Commissioners”.
He has directed all the Administrative Secretaries, Divisional Commissioners, Heads of the Departments, Deputy Commissioners and other officers to act seriously on these directions, which were issued earlier also.
“It is a matter of serious concern that head of the bureaucracy has been compelled by the HoDs to reiterate directions issued twice in the past”, sources said, adding “the non-compliance clearly indicates that reducing inconvenience of the general public and burden on the State exchequer carry no importance for all those who are flouting the directives till date”.