Empathy towards people

Greater Kashmir
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 16 2018 10:52PM | Updated Date: Jul 16 2018 10:52PM

It is not an overstatement. There is almost no interface at the decision making level between the people and the administration. Not only at the topmost level but also at the delivery level there is almost zero interfaces between the functionaries of the government and general masses. In fact, for lack of a robust accountability system in the administration and corruption at every tier in the government, the relations between people and bureaucracy is worse than ever. One of the former governors of the state in mid-seventies had introduced a novel idea of the Single Line Administration, taking the government to the doorsteps of the people. It not only had improved the interface between the government and people but also proved catalytic in bringing some sort of responsibility and answerability in the administration. Had the practice not suffered machinations of some senior politicians and officialdom, there would have been no space for the pampered bureaucracy to fatten at the cost of people’s sufferings. It seems the new state chief secretary immediately after assuming office has got the feel of the wide gulf between the administration and people. In a meeting in the civil secretariat he asked the senior office to ensure empathetic, responsive and prompt administration. In an interaction with the administrative secretaries, he asked the top bureaucracy to identify the core issue of public importance in their respective departments and address the same within the set timeline. True, the governor administration has fixed timelines for the secretaries to file compliance reports on the execution of various development schemes and development programs. Such circulars are ritualistically issued at the time of every change government but rarely executed. On the change of guard in the state, every time secretaries and senior government officials are asked to remain available at the headquarters for addressing the grievances. But it is not in the grain of the state administrative culture, where top bureaucrats believe that they are a power unto them and all others are ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water'. In fact, there is no credible monitoring system in place in the government that could ensure enforcement of directives and instruction by the chief secretary. 


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