Good governance must for bringing positive change in J&K, Mehbooba must note

With the reshuffle in PDP camp, people were hoping that there will be some change on the ground and situation would take a positive turn. But nothing has changed and entire Kashmir valley is facing power blues. The slogan of good governance seems far from reality. Good governance is becoming an unachievable goal for the government and the situation is akin to what has been faced by previous governments with vivid display of the pitiable accountability record.
The newly inducted minister for Tourism and brother of Chief Minister, Tassaduq Hussain Mufti has to prove himself as a minister and someone who can bring PDP out of sleeping mode. While the present coalition government under governance reforms in Agenda of Alliance (AOA) had expressed its view as “It shall be the mission of the coalition government to be the most ethical state in the country from the present day position of being the most corrupt state.
It needs now to be asked the state government about how many notches up or down the state has moved in the list of corrupt states calls for a debate. It is a fact that the government took a bold step to axe the ‘deadwood’ that had been piling for years. Lists of corrupt officials were prepared, some action was taken but the fervour gradually fizzed out without yielding anything. Most of those who were shown the door have returned with the help of court orders.
Court has quashed most of the cases filed by the state government against the government employees especially those whom the state had called corrupt and removed them from the services without proper application of mind. When the government incorporated good governance lines in agenda document, it emphasized the then position of the state ‘the most corrupt state’. But today, does it have anything to say on how it pursued corruption cases to change state’s position?
It needs to be mentioned here that good governance has 8 major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society. In view of this, where does the state government stand and how would it fight graft.
Accountability is a key requirement of good governance. Not only governmental institutions but also the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. Who is accountable to whom varies depending on whether decisions or actions taken are internal or external to an organization or institution. In general an organization or an institution is accountable to those who will be affected by its decisions or actions. Accountability cannot be enforced without transparency and the rule of law.
Besides graft allegations against tainted officials and lack of accountability, government now seems to be caught between the devil and the deep sea as allegations of harassment and misconduct of officials have also come to light. Recently, employees of State Rural Livelihood Mission levelled harassment and misconduct allegations against officials. The government responded without wasting time and an action was taken against two officials.
Despite the orders, as some employees claim, the officials remain unmoved. Neither is this a one-off case nor a lone-show of utter disregard to rules and conduct shown by officials. There are allegations on tainted officials being shown an exit door and brought back through a backdoor. During the term of the previous government, the issue of granting service extension to favourite officials remained under spotlight for a long time.
Whether the trend has been discontinued or left as it was needs to be answered by the government. But overall, the most important question and the concern it tries to highlight is the political intervention in graft cases since it occupies the centre stage. It is ideal to think of a ‘no political intervention’ state but interventions can be rendered meaningless if some more autonomy is granted to institutions that are meant to check the graft cases in the state. Good governance is an ideal which is difficult to achieve in its totality. Very few countries and societies have come close to achieving good governance in its totality. However, to ensure sustainable human development, actions must be taken to work towards this ideal with the aim of making it a reality. The same is possible but PDP-BJP government should take it seriously and ensure that the state becomes a shining example of good governance.

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