Slicking the role of Revenue Deptt

Increasingly believed that State Revenue Department was plagued with corruption and malpractices at the field level, it has been the concern of the State Government to cleanse and streamline its functioning and performance . It may be recalled that a high level committee was constituted by the Government to suggest ways and measures for bringing about overhauling improvements in its functioning. Could strict implementation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) bring about the desired change in the department and whether people who have got their issues to settle and documents obtained or get similar work done, get some respite from different types of hassles and harassments they faced from the field functionaries of the department?
We fail to understand as to why are specific time taken schedule not prescribed for each service provided or any document issued or copy of some record given, made explicitly exhibited in the department and public made aware of which service they were entitled to get within how many hours or days to obliterate chances of the concerned people having to grease the palms of the officials and face inconveniences and even getting incomplete or wrong information in the event of refusing to “comply” . Almost all departments are slowly but gradually adopting the habit of following the provisions of the Public Services Guarantee Act though much remains to be done but there is nothing of the sort, even in its infancy, in the Revenue Department. Even if one was introduced, unless checks and balances procedures and strict monitoring at the field level were side by side implemented, this “reform” too would fail . That resulted in adopting a hard shell stubborn attitude by the erring officials with doubtful integrity.
On perusal, it was found that implementation of SOP had failed in receiving any due attention and the situation, more or less remained unchanged. Some specially tailored measures, therefore, are considered as sine quo non for getting desired improvements in areas where this department faltered the most. It has, as such, rightly been opined that there was no need to revise the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) prepared after detailed exercise three years back for this department. Instead, Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners were required to act suitably in the matter and they are required to be made accountable for timely action against deviating and straying officials of this department under J&K Civil Services Rules 1956. The absence of provision of punishment for delinquent officials in any of the reforming measures or even if there was any in any form, non implementation thereof was making such officials more emboldened to this extent that a blatant and egregious instance of nexus between the Revenue Officials and some property dealers came into limelight.
The question remains how to stem the rot and the rut. Resorting to lengthiest, time consuming exercises of enquiries and “taking of disciplinary action” which in most cases despite indictment and charges of flagrant violations of rules, procedures and even integrity by the Vigilance Department against the erring officials , no punishments were awarded. Now the Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners are required to start acting immediately after the complaints were received. If they too choose to shut the eyes or look to the other side on instances of corruption, cheating and other activities of the field staff of this Department, then God alone could salvage the position. Laws are sufficient but what are in acute deficiency are the will power and the assertion to take the action. We hope a paradigm shift in the existing approach from the executive.