Majority of Admn Secys soft-paddling on identifying services for self-attestation

*Slackness persists despite Guv’s approval to policy

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Mar 25: Creating obstacles in providing much-needed relief to the people, majority of the Administrative Secretaries of Jammu and Kashmir have been soft-paddling on identifying services of their respective departments for self-attestation of documents despite the fact that this exercise was to be conducted within the specified time-frame to translate the directions of the Governor into reality.
The decision to do away with the necessity of filing affidavits from a gazetted officer or a notary for a big chunk of Government related works and to promote self-attestation of documents was taken by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in the middle of 2014.
The move was based on the recommendations of Second Administrative Reforms Commission which had suggested simplifying procedures for self-certification provision. Even the Union Government had observed that getting an affidavit for Government services was a very cumbersome process. Moreover, it was noticed that most of the gazetted officials also don’t give their nod for affidavits in the absence of sufficient documents.
Observing that self-attestation will be a boon for the people, the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances of Union Government had directed all the States to review the existing requirement of attaching such affidavits with various application forms and implement self-attestation of documents.
The Governor of J&K, N N Vohra on February 4, 2016 approved new policy of self attestation documents by people including youth applying for Government jobs and all other purposes. Thereafter, Chief Secretary, B R Sharma, while chairing meeting of Committee of Administrative Secretaries on March 2, 2016 had asked the Administrative Secretaries to review the existing requirements of attestation by Gazetted officers, notary or affidavit to be attached with application forms.
He had asked the Administrative Secretaries to undertake an exercise in their respective departments and furnish list of services for which citizens shall be allowed self-attestation of documents while accessing various Government services. Moreover, the Chief Secretary had asked them to review vis-à-vis services requiring submission of affidavits and submit the proposal routed through the Law Department to the General Administration Department. He had fixed time-frame of one week for completion of this process.
“Though the one week deadline had expired on March 10, 2016 yet majority of the Administrative Secretaries have not submitted the list of services for self-attestation of documents till date”, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
“We are still awaiting for the lists from the Administrative Secretaries and unless the same are received from all the departments, it is difficult to issue formal orders”, an officer in the General Administration Depart-ment said, adding “for the convenience of the Administrative Secretaries even the pattern adopted by the neighboring Punjab Government for doing away with the necessity of filing affidavits from a gazetted officer or a notary was shared with them during the meeting of Committee of Secretaries”.
In response to a question, sources said that identification of services for self-attestation of documents is imperative as there are several services for which affidavits are mandatory like issuance of gun license and Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) etc.
“There is no need to carry out amendment in any rule to implement self attestation of documents as this people-friendly initiative has been implemented in many States of the country by way of issuance of Government order through the General Administration Depart-ment”, sources added.
“By soft-paddling on identifying services for self-attestation and furnishing the same to the General Administration Depart-ment, majority of the Administrative Secretaries have been creating hurdles in implementation of the directives of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi as well as Governor of J&K”, sources said.
It is pertinent to mention here that people are anxiously waiting for implementation of self-attestation of documents policy as this reform will provide relief to them from unnecessary delay as obtaining either an attested copy of the documents from the gazetted officer or affidavit involves wastage of time of the citizens and the Government officials. Under this people-friendly initiative, original documents are required to be produced only at the final stage.
The EXCELSIOR is receiving numerous letters and telephone calls ever since the decision taken by the Governor on February 4, 2016 about the implementation of self-attestation of documents. “Self attestation in lieu of attestation by gazetted officer will be a big relief particularly to the students and those who have to apply for various exams”, the people said, adding “it is strange that this landmark decision has yet not been implemented in Jammu and Kashmir”.

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