Make ‘Back to Village’ programme purposeful

At the outset, it is a commendable step to launch second phase of ambitious programme of ‘Back to Village’ in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Four goals had been identified under the programme to lay maximum focus on energising Panchayats, collecting feed-back on the levels of implementation and delivery of Government schemes and programmes, capturing specific economic potential and undertaking assessment of needs of the villages and affording opportunities of top officers to visit villages and even stay there for a few days to get a feel and sense of what actually a particular village needed the most and possibly, accord sanctions to the proposals or devise means to resolve issues.
The Government should also move public in achievements of Phase-1 and come up with a balance sheet of how much its first phase held from June 20 to June 27 this very year proved successful and achieved its objectives , the handicaps or the difficulties experienced in giving practical and grass root shape to the said programme , areas where objectives did not or could not be achieved and how in the second phase, they were going to be thoroughly touched. Equitable development across all rural areas being the crux of the mission needs to be reviewed in that segregation of lesser developedvillages and the ones which are developed in comparison, should be the top priority of this programme. In other words, the same yard sticks of reaching out to villages cannot be the same where infrastructural development has been picking up satisfactorily in comparison to ones where it has remained abysmally bad . Rural areas in far flung regions, hilly and with low connectivity areas need preferred attention and we do not find any special thrust on this vital aspect of the issue in the programme.
We, however, cannot underestimate the efforts of the Government to involve many top ranking officials in this exercise but a token activity for a few days only once in a blue moon was no solution at all or any major accomplishment in respect of the programme. We have nearly 4500 active Panchayats and if the people, the members on the Panchayats and the officers from the administration have all to be involved together in the noble mission and in energising the basic tool rather the strength of a village – the Panchayats , it obviously is a mass movement which was not going to achieve expected results just in a week’s time . If the Government has embarked upon the ambitious initiative , it must get it accomplished with a solid administrative apparatus .
Senior IAS officers, IFS officers and 293 KAS officers to be precise and as per the Lieutenant Governor nearly 5000 , have now been designated to be actively involved in the second phase of the programme scheduled from November 25 to November 30. It remains to be seen as to how much they make the programme successful in the sense and to the extent that people really feel that some purposeful initiative had been taken by the Government as they have increasingly high hopes in a new working culture expected to be nursed and adopted after reorganisation of the State. Corruption ridden administrative system needs new initiatives and innovative steps to harvest the confidence of the people, the programme under reference can go a long way in achieving that objective.
Let this grand initiative really turn into ‘governance at the doorstep’ and admittedly not only the Governmental apparatus but people overwhelmingly are needed to participate with greater zeal to identify, quantify and specify the problems so that most of them find on the spot solutions . Panchayats have to play a leading part as they shall not only be host to the visiting officers but are supposed to acquaint them with problems faced by them so that solutions and resolutions could be jointly and severally worked out.