JK administration on crutches

Shortage Of Officers Breeds

‘Additional Charge Syndrome’; Govt Says ‘Somehow Managing’

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Nov 1: While the J&K Government is grappling with the paucity of top-level officers, an internal audit has revealed that the failure to go for timely induction of the Indian Administrative Service and Kashmir Administrative Service officers in mid 80’s and early 90’s has caused an “administrative crisis” of sorts, thus hitting governance in the state.
The state government candidly admits that no induction of IAS officers in 1982, 1983 and 1984 not only caused a ‘vacuum’ in the administration but also led to severe shortage of officers, thus forcing the administration to formulate an ‘exigency plan’ by putting extra burden on the top-rung officers in the form of additional charge.  “Yes, there is a severe shortage of officers in the state administration,” Chief Secretary Madhav Lal told Greater Kashmir. “The reason is obvious that the then governments in 1982, 1983 and even 1984 did not induct any IAS officer. The gap in between led to a crisis.”
Lal said that had the then governments appointed only six IAS officers, the situation would have been altogether different at present. “Even if three would have been on deputation, the rest would have been on job in the state administration,” he said.
As far as the KAS officers are concerned, there has been no induction from 1992 to 1994. “At present we are left with no option than to give additional charge to officers. Most of the principal secretaries are holding the additional charge,” Lal said. “We can’t give the charge of any sensitive and important post to an inexperienced person. So the burden naturally shifts to the principal secretaries.”
On placement of 200 KAS officers, who are awaiting postings, the Chief Secretary said they will soon be posted in various departments. “We are at it,” he said.
Pertinently, according to sources, an internal audit conducted by the state has also confirmed the shortage of IAS officers.
With government already facing shortage of IAS officers, at least 13 IAS officers serving at the top level are expected to retire in the first week of November. “Last year many officers have retired causing more vacuum in the administration,” they said. “Nearly a dozen officers of top level who were holding the charge of commissioner secretaries retired, leaving another challenge for the government.”
Sources said the government has not been able to replace the retired officers despite the fact that there are 105 IAS officers in the state. “There are nearly two dozen IAS officers on central deputation,” said a source in the General Administration Department (GAD).
The Chief Secretary, however, said the government is seriously pursuing to get back many of the officers who are presently on central deputation. “So far there has been no progress on the issue,” he admitted. Sources said the work at the top level has definitely got affected due to shortage of officers but the government is “somehow managing” to run the show by putting additional burden on the Principal Secretaries. “Every Principal Secretary is already overburdened given the nature of his post and shouldering another responsibility makes him a busiest person,” they said.
The Chief Secretary, however, said that despite shortage of officers, the government work “is not suffering that much and that steps are taken to address the issue.” “We are managing everything as there is solution to rectify the mistakes committed in the past,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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