The Governor NN Vohra’s direction to the bureaucrats in the state to file Annual Property Returns (APRs) has sent a shock wave among the ruling circles. With last date being fixed as January 31, the officials had no option but to file the return, The decision to ask the officialdom to account for it’s assets had gone down very well with the people in Jammu and Kashmir who were forced this year to change the government because the system had become steeped in corruption. While the political class has been sent to the barracks the tightening of the grip by Governor Vohra on officials will help making the system more accountable, and answerable to people.
Political watchers say that it is good that questions are being asked from the bureaucracy which had ran amok in the last one decade under the coalition governments. The officials who are serving the government must be made accountable, and even those who have retired should be investigated. The politicians in the state have amassed huge wealth in connivance with the bureaucrats, and it is time those who looted the exchequer are asked to return it. After the imposition of Governor’s rule, the people have heaved a sigh of relief that there is cleaning up of the administration. It is worth mentioning that the governments in the past has failed to take strong action against corruption as political parties had little commitment to clean governance. The accountability commission which was set up in the past has also failed to deliver the goods with few cases of corruption being brought to conclusion.
Another positive step taken by the Governor is to empower the Right to Information Act in Jammu and Kashmir which had been given a short shrift by the previous Omar Abdullah government. The RTI activists in Jammu and Kashmir had been crying hoarse as the Act was not being implemented in letter and spirit in the state. As per the directives issued by Governor Vohra, the administration will have to make suo moto/voluntary disclosure under section 4 of JK RTI Act 2009 which will pave the way for right implement of the RTI in the state. This particular decision is likely to empower the State Information Commission as well as it can now direct government servants to make disclosures which were earlier they were not ready to make.