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.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Accountability and Transparency Not Welcome Here

This is Jammu and Kashmir, home of the institutionalized corruption

Except JK Bank, no PSU in JK Prepares Balance Sheet

19 public undertakings skipping yearly audit for more than a decade

Jammu: Out of 20 Public Sector Units in J&K, 19 have been skipping audit on their balance sheets and other financial statements for last so many years, ranging from four to 15 years.

While the state government is claiming to have taken various measures to revive the loss making Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), these units have failed to submit yearly audit reports making it difficult for the former to ascertain their financial position.

Successive governments have been asking for the annual financial statements from these ‘white elephants” but the management of the PSUs has given no two hoots to such calls.

A recently released document observes, “This position renders it difficult to assume any PSU to be in profits unless audit position is up to date. This aspect of the matter is being seriously addressed by the government by providing a timeline within which the statutory audit has to be implemented”.

According to the official figures, of the 20 PSUs only J&K Bank has submitted regular audit reports to the government.

Admitting the mess in the PSUs, industries minister Surjit Singh Salathia told Greater Kashmir that there was need for a long term strategy “and we are taking steps in this regard”.

Meanwhile, minister for education and public enterprises, Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed convened a meeting in Srinagar on Wednesday to review the performance of PSUs, an official spokesman said.

The meeting was informed that out of 20 PSUs, 19 have not prepared up to date balance sheets for last so many years ranging between 4 to 18 years.

It was revealed that J&K Project Construction Corporation (JKPCC), has not prepared its balance sheet for the last fifteen years.

The minister directed the PSUs to take up the preparation of audited statements and balance sheets on priority adding that non-compliance on this account affects relationship of the PSU with financial institutions for drawing loans for business development.

Peerzada said he would himself monitor the activities of the PSUs with focus on appointment of auditors, preparation of audited statements, holding meetings of Board of Directors, vetting of the reports by CAG and finally holding the General Body meeting, on regular basis.

* J&K Industries Limited: Government has asked the management to close down 10 out of 15 units running in losses, directed it to downsize its staff strength by offering VRS to 144 employees, identified 1077 employees as surplus out of the available strength of 1643 and asked to lessen the huge wage bill of Rs 16.91 crore to Rs 6 crore.
* J&K Horticulture Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation: Audit Default for last 15 years. Forced to adopt VRS scheme for downsizing, there by reducing its wage bill.
* J&K Minerals Limited: Audit default for last 15 years, last audit 1992-93, downsizing of establishment by implementing VRS/GHS, asked to close down un-viable units.
* J&K Handicrafts Corporation: Not audited its account for last 11 years. Last audit conducted in 1997-98. Down sizing of employees started through VRS/GHS.
* J&K Agro-Industries Development Corporation: Last audit 15 years ago. To increase the business, asked it to start VRS scheme for employees.
* J&K Handloom Development Corporation: Last audit conducted 10 years ago in 1998-99. Corporation suffering huge losses, asked to downsize employees’ strength.
* J&K State Financial Corporation: Audit default period 5 years. Having outstanding of Rs 35 crore on account of matured bond liabilities, Rs 21 crore transferred to the corporation,. Management restructuring to include downsizing to reduce establishment cost.
* J&K State Road Transport Corporation: Period of default 5 years, last audit 2004-05. Already started downsizing of staff
(Greater Kashmir)

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