Topsy turvy administration!

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.Anyways, for the last few days, a discontentment is brewing among people in general and the stakeholders in particular about assigning the job of Srinagar Municipal Commissioner to an ineligible junior medical officer. No one has anything personal against this fairly articulate and pushy medico, but he in no case is qualified and competent for the post as per prescribed rules. This ‘in addition to his own charge’ elevation through adhocracy is surely a gross violation of administrative trust vested with the leadership and its vast machinery of policy implementing authority. Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) association reacted to this posting sharply, openly condemning state governments action. The KAS leadership said that “the move defies administrative logic and amounts to demeaning the post”. However, this is not the first time or the only case of such nature where ‘karee najaar ba dasti gilkaar’ is being tried to be achieved through favoritism. There are several instances where officers have been showered with undue favors by skirting the rules in the garb of `interest of administration’. Of late a new phraseology of ‘larger acceptance among public’ has been added to the lexicon of favoritism to accommodate and elevate blue-eyed favorites.

Now the question arises, what made the state’s principal administrative services body react so openly and sharply? Where was their love for rules and sanctity of the post when such intrusions were made into other services? Did they ever resist invasion into technically sensitive and important services by nontechnical people? They have no answers. But now as they have felt the heat themselves they cry hoarse. It is known to everyone, how a senior minister in the previous regime with widespread political tentacles from Srinagar to Delhi managed to change the cadre of his son from judiciary to general administration with the help of this particular section of bureaucracy in exchange of several high-profile technical posts of Agriculture Production Department under his ministry to be brought under their services. No one objected to his move of changing rules that involved nod of a whole lot of officers within the long and confusing corridors of power. This move has demoralized a big chunk of technocrats who most of the times are unable to communicate technology and technicalities with their bosses not knowing even an iota of basic science. While endorsing the call of KAS officers association for justice I dare to ask, how can a law graduate run the department of Command Area Development; a political science knowing officer lead Horticulture department, and a commerce knowing fellow can manage Agriculture sector or for that matter Floriculture department? These are stark realities of mismanagement and need to be condemned by one and all.

The elevation move by this smart doctor managed by whatever way is undoubtedly reprehensible, but equally inexcusable is the silence and selective agitation by the elite policy makers who are vested with powers to do justice with all sections of the society. The present episode of showering undue favors to a blue eyed person makes a mockery of rules and the administration should respect its own rules and desist from pushing round pegs into square holes.