Majority of bureaucrats not conducting field visits despite repeated instructions from Govt

CM’s office receiving regular complaints from different quarters

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Jan 5: Despite repeated directions from the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary, majority of the bureaucrats have failed to undertake regular field visits to review the implementation of developmental works and assess the impact of welfare schemes on the ground. Taking serious note of prevailing administrative inertia, the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is likely to take some stringent measures so that developmental agenda of the Government doesn’t suffer.
Ever since she took over as Chief Minister of the State, Mehbooba Mufti is repeatedly laying thrust on regular field visits by the Administrative Secretaries as well as the Deputy Commissioners so as to assess actual status of the developmental works on the ground and to resolve the grievances of the people at their door-steps.
The first ever directive in this regard was issued by the Chief Minister on April 9, 2016 while chairing the meeting of the senior officers of the State administration. In this meeting, she had explicitly told the bureaucrats to lead from the front in reaching out to the people in mitigating their problems.
“Reaching out to the people at their door-steps particularly in remote and far-off areas is the major step towards making the administration more response to the needs and problems of the common masses”, she had told the officers.
Thereafter, the Chief Secretary, in numerous meetings of Committee of Secretaries, asked the Administrative Secretaries to ensure strict compliance to the directives vis-à-vis regular field visits. He had even fixed every Thursday for undertaking field visits by the Administrative Secretaries to review the implementation and impact of developmental works and welfare schemes.
Similarly, as a follow-up to the Chief Minister’s directives issued on April 9, 2016, the Chief Secretary issued instructions to all the Deputy Commissioners to pay field visits at least twice a week so as to assess the grievances of the people at their door steps and resolve the same on spot. They (Deputy Commissioners) were also directed to keep the respective Divisional Commissioners update about their field visits by submitting tour diaries and work done statements.
Not only their own field visits the Deputy Commissioners were also told in clear terms that they should ensure regular field visits by their subordinate officers and obtain regular reports from them so as to ensure proper monitoring and supervision of entire administrative mechanism.
“However, Chief Minister’s office is frequently receiving information from different quarters that majority of the Administrative Secretaries as well as Deputy Commissioners have yet not paid serious attention towards the directives about field visits till date, highly placed sources told EXCELSIOR.
“It has been observed that most of the Administrative Secretaries prefer to sit in the Civil Secretariat instead of conducting mandatory field visits once in a week and are seeking feed-back about the                        implementation of programmes and schemes from the Head of the Departments under their administrative control”, sources said, adding “shockingly, the reports of the HoDs are being relied upon by the Administrative Secretaries despite being aware of the fact that even they (HoDs) are not paying regular field visits strictly as per the directions of the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary”.
As far as Deputy Commissioners are concerned, sources said, “there are only few DCs who have been conducting regular field visits and submitting tour diaries to the Divisional Commissioners by 7th of every month as was directed by the Chief Secretary”, adding “the non-seriousness on the part of majority of the Deputy Commissioners is notwithstanding the fact that field visit is the basic requirement of administrative monitoring and supervision”.
It is pertinent to mention here that few months back Divisional Commissioner Jammu had written to the Deputy Commissioners of majority of the districts expressing serious concern over non-adherence to the directives vis-à-vis field visits.
“The field visits by the Administrative Secretaries and Deputy Commissioners not only help them to understand the situation on the ground but also sends a message to the public that the Government is concerned about their issues and problems”, sources said.
They disclosed that some years back the Administrative Secretaries were made mentor for different districts and some of them even started paying regular visits to the areas of their responsibility but with the passage of time the landmark decision met the uncertain fate for want of regular follow-up from the higher levels.
Pointing towards the Public Outreach Programme of the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, which is yielding positive results vis-à-vis resolving the issues of the public that too at their door-steps, sources said, “in majority of the districts visited by the Chief Minister the general complaint of the public was that officers are not visiting their areas to take stock of their grievances”.
“If the Chief Minister can reach the public at their door steps what is the problem for the Administrative Secretaries and Deputy Commissioners to follow her foot-steps and help her in making the entire administrative responsive to the needs of the people”, sources wondered.
Disclosing that Chief Minister has taken serious note of lackadaisical approach of the bureaucrats in undertaking field visits, sources said, “some stringent measures are being planned so that developmental agenda of the Government doesn’t suffer because of the slackness on the part of bureaucrats”.