“Illegal” appointments in Health Department

There must be some sort of propriety, some semblance, some procedure and a mechanism even of an elementary nature to see whether an appointee who reports for joining the ”duties” is a bona-fide person, duly selected under an established process and who is to draw salaries and perks against a particular vacancy or against a post newly created for which budgetary allocations are made. We feel, a candidate even after having been duly selected under a well established ”transparent” process, has still to pass certain layers of verifications before one is allowed to join duties by the concerned Departmental Head. How come, under such minimum and symbolic and if not exhaustive measures, as many as 2274 persons reportedly managed to “join duties” in Jammu and Kashmir Health Department at various places like Srinagar, Ganderbal, Budgam, Baramulla, Kulgam,Shopian, Pulwama, Kupwara, Bandipora and Anantnag besides how their salaries were paid by debit to which expenditure Head ? The paradox engulfing the whole matter is and as we, many a time keep pointing out, that the concept of audit and inspections is either still in its infancy in most of the Government Departments or the same is avoided, deferred or made ineffective by not replying the audit notes as monitoring mechanism is nowhere to be seen in that respect.
It is to be noted that such fake appointments as per the documents, were made during the years from 2000 to 2006 and in 2008. However, the modus operandi of managing the entire exercise so skilfully or at the instance of some political bigwigs such ”appointments” having been made, is still not clear. However, we learn that some time ago, precisely a decade back, audit of the department had revealed about such appointments being not only fake but wholly illegal as well , reportedly established by the then State Vigilance Organization (SVO) and now Jammu and Kashmir Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) which prompted the authorities to initiate ”some action” and nearly 133 of such employees with fake appointments were removed. These sacked employees later approached and put the matter in the Court.
It would be advisable to look into the entire matter and have in-depth enquiries made so as to bring out the factual position about the case, whether all the 2274 cases were fake and illegal appointments or only 133 out of them who stand removed though the persons having later approached the courts. It is a nice step taken even now belatedly by the authorities of the Health Department in having asked the Chief Medical Officers to furnish in details all the information in respect of these appointments as reported by the Audit and Inspection Department especially in respect of Block Beerwah of District Budgam, and Bandipora and Ganderbal districts in Kashmir region. Such information was required to be furnished by Jan 24, 2022 to the Directorate of Health Services. Whether such detailed reports have reached the Health Department Directorate is, however, not known.
Presuming even if all the 2274 cases may not be fake appointments and again presuming that only some of those are found as such by the enquiring teams , it is really astonishing to note that not only such persons having so far remained unscathed in terms of facing no legal action and instead having been regularly receiving salaries and other benefits all these years, say over 20 years but there being no checks and verification process or the financial /salaries- wages audit to detect which expenditure Head these persons were drawing their salaries against. Can it be inferred that there was quite a loose financial discipline in some departments of the Government which needed to be viewed not only seriously but accountability too established . We shall, however, be closely monitoring the situation.