Digitizing Departmental official records

A much desired move which is commendable though initiated a bit late but decidedly not having missed the boat, is the Governor’s Administration going the whole hog to digitize official records of the Governmentdepartments. This need, laced with both austerity measures as well as preserving and retrieving process of such records, had been long felt and otherwise conveyed too by ‘Excelsior’ many a time, has now been realised and the issue decided to be addressed. This exercise will go, in its own right, in contributing, in whatever measure, towards saving Governmental money otherwise being spent on physically manually lifting such records , loading in trucks and transporting from and to the twin capitals on Darbar move rotation process. In no other State of the country is this regressive, time consuming and an outdated practice in vogue to transport official records and files in scores of trucks and other vehicles along with “shifting of capitals” excepting in Jammu and Kashmir. It could have been once a necessity or an affordable Royal luxury as the Departments, records as also Government employees, were all very much small in manageable number and thus economically affordable but not now when the size as well as the cost of governance has increased tremendously especially when analysed in context of the State being parched of earning reasonably enough revenues due to “host of reasons”.
The said exercise is to be undertaken through Jammu and Kashmir e-Governance Agency (JaKeGA) and it is planned to get the whole process completed within a year. It will not be out of place to point out as to why the successive StateGovernments did not find any time for as also feel the necessity of addressing this vital issue of governance and what special mettle is the Governor’s Administration made of in having not only taken this decision but the process too started to have it completed by early 2020. Agreed, intermittent announcements and promises of better governance were made but unfortunately only for never to be put into practice. Could the need to record, store and retrieve these vital official records otherwise never felt by the State Governments even taking into considerations like unforeseen eventualities of out breaking of fire or inundating of offices with flood waters to damage and destroy vital records. Devastating fire in a portion of the civil secretariat Srinagar in the month of July 2013 should have served warning bells as, besides other records, service books of 300 Stateemployees suffered extensive damage. The same thing got repeated during totally unexpected devastating floods of 2014 which caused extensive damage to official records in the Civil Secretariat Srinagar.
It may be recalled that the devastating floods of 2014 saw much buildup and puffing out about digitization of official records by the then State Government but the apparent seriousness proved to be only a hype and a political gimmick followed by forgetting about the important issue and thus one more instance to be counted as putting wool over the peoples’ eyes. The PDP – BJP Coalition Government too followed the ‘footsteps’ of their predecessors and did nothing in this regard. Political issues of peculiar brand usually, unfortunately, have sway and preference over other most important issues concerning good governance and concern for the people in this State. If it is not so, how could the Governor’s Administration with the same administrative apparatus and the same “climate” afford to take this vital decision while successive State Governments with more facilities and leverage could not?