J&K Governor begins review of backdoor political appointments

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Governor N N Vohra’s administration has begun a review of political appointments and advisors engaged by the former PDP-BJP government, asking various departments for comprehensive details including if proper procedures were followed for engaging them.

Apart from appointing a record number of political activists as vice-chairmen of different Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) and statutory institutions, including the State Commission for Women and Muslim Waqf Board, the previous regime had also handpicked more than a dozen persons and appointed them as consultants, advisors and analysts in different departments.

The appointments had come under sharp criticism within and outside the Assembly, with different quarters including the opposition and KAS officers slamming the government for many appointments.

The appointments had put an additional burden of crores of rupees on the state exchequer providing for lucrative salaries, perks and privileges.

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Beginning the process of reviewing these appointments, the General Administration Department has written two letters to the administrative secretaries to collect details about them.

In a communiqué on June 27, many departments were asked to submit details like the authority who engaged the appointees, present status and procedure adopted for their engagement.

In another letter on Friday, the General Administration wrote to them again, saying details already submitted did not reflect the present status of the questioned appointments and whether these engagements had been made after following due procedure.

The administrative secretaries have been requested to review forthwith all such appointments and submit their concrete recommendations on the desirability of continuation or otherwise of these appointments.

In an interview, BJP general secretary in charge of J&K, Ram Madhav on Friday also questioned the need for engagement of consultants by the previous regime.

“Why to appoint consultants when you have efficient officers from civil services like KAS and IAS officers who are doing good job. They engaged consultants at very high salaries. What was the delivery? Look at the situation in the state. We felt, in our and their thinking, mismatch was growing,” Madhav had said.

After imposition of Governor’s rule on June 20, a number of political appointees including counsels representing the state government in the High Court have submitted their resignations.

“All political and backdoor appointees holding key positions should be sacked forthwith because they  brought disrepute to the previous dispensation. People were making fun of the government on these appointments,” a senior administration official said.