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.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Want Technocrats

Fida proposes that each government department should be headed by a knowlegeable specialist to get the most out of a public service

(Mr. Fida Iqbal, 47, was born in Sopore. He attended the D.A.V. School in Nayadyaar, Rainawari, and the Government Higher Secondary School in Sopore. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Agriculture/Floriculture and Landscaping from Chowdhry Chottu Ram College at Muzaffarabad Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Iqbal works with the Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department as a landscape architect. He enjoys kitchen gardening, reading writing, and is very a passionate and dedicated golf player.)

No Misfits Please

Nepotism and preferential treatment in administration was rife during autocracy but in certain fields’ qualification, ability and merit was always given due consideration. This was not necessarily by choice but because of technical compulsion and requirements. In 1947, with high hopes, we ushered into new era of democracy, but almost a decade after relishing this cherished system of governance our administrative system became susceptible to epidemic of favoritism.

Governance, particularly the contemporary system of government consists mainly of two divisions; one, wide-ranging day to day administrative setup and the other, technical aspect of governance like healthcare, infrastructure development and scientific support for sustenance and overall growth. Currently as by the established rules and norms we have a well defined system in place for hiring and appointing human resource in both these components of administration. In general administration the appointments are made through ‘combined administrative services’, while as in case of technical engagement there are set rules with distinct qualification and eligibility parameters for every specialized field, that in no way can be altered or flouted. To run a modern and efficient government with a scientific approach the homogeneity of these two prominent facets of administration need to be maintained at any cost. Any infringement into any of the two domains will lead to incompetent administration, bereft of any professional touch.

Now, for the past many years we observe invasion of non-technical administrative human resource into scientific fields of administration and support system. Fields like Horticulture, Agriculture, Floriculture and their allied sectors are strictly technical and scientific in nature and require a scientific approach at all levels of administration and implementation. These sectors being the backbone of our economy and ultimately our subsistence and survival cannot afford laxity of any kind. From bottom to top every rank and file of these vital sectors have to be quite knowledgeable and proficient in their field of science and technical knowhow.

Unfortunately, for last more than a decade a sinister plan of encroachment into the administrative setup of these sectors is getting a clandestine patronage within the higher echelons of administration. In the first instance the onslaught of invasion was initiated into the marketing and grading divisions of these vital sectors by manipulating and flouting the set rules in mid-eighties. This invasion was multi pronged and at all levels of administration. Encouraged by these malicious administrative intrusions the invasive elements spread their tentacles into other subdivision of Agriculture production sector and thus started a chain of intrusions by nontechnical officers and officials into technical fields of farm production and its allied sectors.

How can an officer justify his services in agriculture or any of its allied sectors when he does not know even ‘ABC’ of applied science, leave alone the specialized branch of Agriculture or Horticulture science? How can a home science expert deliver as head of the department of Agriculture or law enforcement agency regarding provisions of Agriculture rules and norms? No serious and people’s friendly government will tolerate such gross violation of fundamentals of science and technology.Hope government will restore the status of scientific administration of technical organizations, particularly the Agriculture production sector for smooth and efficient management of these organizations purely on scientific lines and will restore the much eroded stature and status of technocrats.

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