Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Receipe for Disaster

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) pulls J&K for things that have been pointed for years and continue to dominate Kashmiri work ethic: financial mismanagement, non-adherence to rules, lack of planning and lack of oversight

CAG pulls up J-K social welfare department

The CAG has pulled up Jammu and Kashmir's Social Welfare department for failing to successfully implement its flagship schemes in the state. Financial mismanagement, non-adherence of eligibility criteria, lack of monitoring and proper planning resulted in failure in implementing the flagship programmes of the department, the report tabled in the state Assembly said.

The programmes largely failed to meet the expectations with one major scheme failing completely, said the recent CAG report for the year end March 31, 2009. Unnecessary retention of huge undisbursed money in bank accounts and delays in finalising rate of contract in nutritive items under integrated child development scheme persisted, it said.

"The financial management was poor. The contributory factors attributable to failure of the schemes include lack of proper planning, non-release of funds, non-adherence of eligibility criteria and lack of supervision and monitoring."

It said the targets for the National Social Assistance Programme, a centrally sponsored scheme for old-age persons, were not achieved at all. The department also failed to implement Contributory Social Security Scheme, aimed at benefiting marginal workers in 20-50 age group, the report said.

The CAG said there was extremely low percentage of achievement which indicated the dismal performance of the scheme in the state. As against the target of 53,300 marginal workers, the department could achieve a target of just 3427 workers with 94 per cent shortfall in achievement of targets in 2008-09.

Similarly, against a target of 13,300 workers, department could only implement scheme for just 1,889 persons with 86 per cent shortfall in achievement of targets in 2007-08 and 75 per cent and 86 per cent shortfall in targets in 2006-07 and 2005-06, respectively, it said.

District Social Welfare Officers retained assistance of Rs 78.15 crore for a period ranging from 7 to 366 days despite recommendations of the public accounts committee to evolve a mechanism for timely disbursement of assistance under the schemes, it said.

It also pulled up the department for its failure to submit utilisation certificates for an amount of Rs 27.67 crore under various schemes and pointed out huge unspent balance at the end of each financial year.

The supplementary nutrition under integrated child development scheme was not provided to all beneficiaries from 2005-09 and shortfall ranged between 7 to 40 per cent, it said adding the health check up and other referral services were not provided to Jammu division at all.

No comments: