The urgent task before the Government is to focus on corruption-free administration, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asserted soon after taking the reins of the state. “There can be no scope for corruption at any level,” Mehbooba asserted.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir needs to earnestly get on top of the corruption pandemic at every level. The high levels of graft are sufficient cause for soul-searching in government. Despite claims by successive governments, bribery is today looked upon as a systemic scourge in almost all citizen-related departments.
If the officials are to become responsible, a great deal of government re-engineering has to take place. In black and white, law enforcement must render corruption a high risk, low reward proposition, not just on paper.
The state is now under popular rule and the state highest authority has to act tough on various administrative matters in order to rebuild public trust that an efficient administration without corruption was possible. The successive elective governments have been making tall claims about their sincerity in stamping out the corruption but failed for want of system that would take the corrupt to task. In other words, the system is undependable. Despite serious allegations against state functionaries at various levels, departmental inquiries are deliberately delayed or made to hang fire to give leverage to the culprits.
The governor N N Vohra recently asked the Chief Secretary and Commissioner Secretary GAD to submit detailed reports about status of various cases of investigations including decision on sanction of prosecution. The officers are supposed to give the list by Wednesday.
Under Article 226, the Government has to identify the non-performers and evict them through compulsory retirement and the governor also sought cases pertaining to compulsory retirement of non-performing officers and officials. There are a number of cases of gazetted as well as non-gazetted functionaries against whom challans have not been presented and their prosecution is delayed only due to influence they wield and can manage to stretch the case to any length of time till the Government loses interest in carrying action to logical conclusion.
The measures sound tough but it needs to be taken to logical conclusion in the interest of the welfare of the State. Now that Mehbooba Mufti has vowed tough action against corruption, she should take steps in this regard to infuse fresh lease of life in otherwise deteriorating work culture in the state.