Published February 21st, 2017 by

Reinvigorating horticulture sector and checking spurious pesticides.

Horticulture, tourism, and handicrafts are the three important sectors that contribute substantially to earning and employment of people of Kashmir. With diverse agro-climatic advantages, horticulture is the most vital sector in the state that involves a large section of the population particularly in rural Kashmir. With more than two million people directly or indirectly involved with production and processing, horticulture trade in Jammu And Kashmir State has an estimated annual turnover of twelve billion rupees. So, by all means, horticulture contributes substantially to the rural economy with thrust on employment and sustenance of eco-friendly economy within the fragile ecosystem of Kashmir valley. Successive regimes, even from the time of the autocratic rule of late Maharaja, have given due consideration to sustenance and development of horticulture industry in Kashmir. However, in the early seventies with the invasion of pathogens, the horticulture sector got a setback and cost of cultivation increased manifold. Horticulturists and agriculture scientists tried to balance this steep increase in the cost of cultivation by introducing new high yielding verities with longer shelf value and superior genetic characteristics. High-density apple plantation with improved imported rootstock was one such effort that was initiated by the department of Horticulture long back at state of the art nurseries at Zanpora in south Kashmir and Pattan in North Kashmir. This scientifically feasible and economically viable effort could not attract much attention of common farmers due to lack of initial investment and vigorous motivation for shifting from traditional varieties to improved ones.   Read More Fix the responsibility

Published February 15th, 2017 by

We have round pegs in square holes…

My earnest request will be, in any case not to interpret these lines as an endorsement of any wrongdoing or disapproval of justified administrative action. Ad-hoc-ism has been running the affairs of our administration since long. Earlier it was a compulsion in the absence of qualified human resource but by now it is more planned and has attained monstrous dimensions of favoritism and exploitation. It has not only promoted partiality and corruption but much of inefficiency is a manifestation of this wilfully induced nuisance. Obviously, politicians and bureaucracy derive extra-administrative powers from ad-hoc arrangements to govern their sweet will.  A cursory look into affairs of state’s set rules for human resource management will reveal huge gaps and deliberate deficits. Continuing with the practice of ‘stop-gap arrangement’ and OPG (own pay and grade) promotions within the gazette services for years together against the ruling of apex court speaks volumes about the intentions and mismanagement within the state administration. The government in flagrant violation has failed to respect its own rules like Civil Services (reference of vacancies and holding of meetings of Departmental Promotion Committees) Rules 2005, notified by the Government on June 14th, 2005, on one pretext or the other thereby encouraging ad-hoc-ism. Read More Topsy turvy administration!

Published February 7th, 2017 by

Of flawed career management and transfer policy.

Before highlighting flawed cadre management of government employees and growing favoritism in transfers of officers and officials under the political influence, it will be unfair not to appreciate the recent circular issued by the government through general administration department to discourage any outside influence in effecting the transfer of officers and officials in different government departments. Apparently, it is a welcome step to ensure level playing field for all government employees to utilize their abilities and potential. These government instructions if implemented in the true essence of justified governance will provide a fair opportunity to every employee to promote his career prospects and will encourage him to contribute his best to the state and the society. Read More A flourishing industry

Published February 1st, 2017 by

But can we really make a cocktail of it?

Democracy and dictatorship are two different ways of leading the civilization. One is by collective leadership evolved by mindful introspection and the other by grabbing power brazenly all through overt and covert means. Even after experiencing flawed democracy for decades most people in the sub-continent cannot find an alternative to democracy— the people’s authority. Kashmir has a turbulent history of governance, full of subjugation and ruthlessness. However, after the departure of British, the aura of empowerment and emancipation became quite visible in Kashmir. Political baggage and issues aside, Kashmiri people after centuries of suppression feel some respite from tyrannical rule since 1947. Read More Blending democracy with autocracy!

Published January 24th, 2017 by

Politics apart, he was a great administrator!

I intended to write this piece on the first death anniversary of Mufti Mohammad Syed, but then I changed my mind lest I may be branded as an unprincipled sycophant. Anyways, facts are facts and we should never distort realities. All my interactions with Mufti Sahib were in the line of my duty or social work.

I have first seen and heard Mufti Muhammad Syed at a public meeting at the remote village of Lalpora, Lolab in Kupwara district, in the late sixties when he was deputy minister for works. A young spotless khadi-clad Mufti Syed dominated most part of the public meeting held in an open space under the shade of huge walnut trees. I was a young boy of seven or eight years and walked several kilometers from Dardhpora village along with the children of my close relation with whom I had come to spend my summer holidays. That time I could not understand the politics, but I enjoyed the trip where people were amused with folk music and dance before public meetings. Ah! That was simple and wonderful Kashmir. Read More Meeting Mufti

Published January 17th, 2017 by

It was more about administrative reforms than about budgeting.

Finance Minister Dr. Haseeb Drabu is a well-read economist with a vast experience of working with national and international economic institutions. His time with country’s leading business media house puts him in the category of widely known economic analysts. Mr. Drabu has the distinction of serving at state’s premier financial institution, Jammu and Kashmir Bank as its Chairman and CEO. Such distinctive experience makes him a perfect Finance Minister for politically sensitive and economically stressed state of Jammu and Kashmir. One more aspect of Dr. Drabu’s multi-faceted personality is his attachment and interest with Kashmiri culture and its heritage. That reflects in his recently delivered budget speech where he has proposed insurance cover for cultural assets, like Artifacts, rare manuscripts, and paintings and Setting up of “Shamas Faqeer institute of Sufi and folk music”. Read More The Budget Speech