February 1, 2023

Shaharbeen News Service Kashmir (SNS KASHMIR)

Reporting Facts That Matter The Most (www.snskashmir.com)

Claims of ‘Good Governance’ verses hardships and sufferings of people in J&K

5 min read

Who will answer Ahad Kak’s questions on ‘Good Governance’ and will the miseries of people end as year 2022 is saying us goodbye  

By JAMEELA AKHTER

Notwithstanding the claims on ‘Good Governance, Transparency and efficient Public Service delivery’ to people of Jammu and Kashmir, ask Fatah and her husband Ahad Kak who have been running from pillar to post since one month amid shivering  cold to submit their old age pension forms what ‘Good Governance’ means to elderly couple.   Fatah’s wrinkled face and Ahad Kak’s white beard can get anyone sane persons attention.  The couple is shivering with biting cold on an iron bench outside a hospital where they are waiting for their turn to get age certificate attested from a dental doctor. It is fifth day, they return home without the certificate given the huge rush of old age people in the hospital.

Ahad Kak and his wife is among thousands of old age, poor, widows and handicapped people who has been  running from pillar to post to get the fresh documents ready for submission of old age pension which has gone online. Ironically the documents include Domicile Certificate, Age Certificate, Ration Card, Affidavit of Judicial Magistrate and Disability Certificate.  Issuance of each certificate takes almost a month but how can an old age or handicapped person get all these certificates within days.   

People allege that at one hand inflation has broken back of general public but on the other hand government is punishing the old age people in the shivering cold of Chilli-e-Kalaan.  They opine that they have been taking the pension from last several years and their verification could have been done at village level during ‘Back to Village’ programs but unfortunately it was not done. If government claims empowerment to PRIs, can’t a local panch or Sarpanch verify the old age pensioner?

Good governance is the process of how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption and with due regard for the rule of law. But on ground public affairs are massed up not managed by public institutions despite ample resources. Nobody seems to realize rather care about human rights of these old age, especially able and widows who are subjected to abuse, corruption and humiliation. Interestingly, there seems no rule of law to upheld their dignity and ensure their welfare.     

The concept of ‘Good Governance’ mainly revolves on the concept of responsibility of governments but who is responsible for death of an old age person in Bandipora. Hundreds of others have taken ill at homes with whooping cough and cold but how will fix the responsibility? Is this how governing bodies meet the necessities of the masses as opposed to select groups in the society or is it punishment to select group of society whom we call ‘senior citizens”?.

The jargon of huge words used in government handouts include Good Governance, Transparency, Responsiveness, Consensus orientation, Equity, Effectiveness and Efficiency, Accountability and Strategic vision which are termed as ‘core of good governance’ but who will satisfy Ahad Kak, that for him good governance means hassle free delivery of old age pension and other related documents.

“When it is election, we say ……Age Bado Hum Tumhare Sath Hein (…..leader go ahead, we are with you) but there is nobody with us today. He believes that old age people of Jammu and Kashmir are left helpless and hapless in these precarious conditions and none seems to bother about them.

Ahad Kak says that all documents are click away from government, they can verify them easily but putting the old age population in hardships in this harsh winter is not hallmark of ‘Good Governance’. Are the ‘remarkable’ initiatives launched by the government under Good Governance like ‘Back to Village, My Town My Pride, Jan Sunwai Abhiyan and other programs really proving to be the major success for creating a ‘People Centric-Responsive Administration’ in J&K. The answer these old age people say ‘NO’ for they are bearing the brunt of contradiction of what is said in media and what is done on ground.

It is vociferously being claimed that the present administration of J&K is mainly focusing on ‘On-The-Spot’ grievance redressal, instantaneous delivery of goods and services to the masses and ‘On-The-Ground’ speedy execution of People-Centric projects,  but what about the people who are just witnessing irking power supply with unscheduled power cuts, inflated power bills, sky rocketing prices of essential commodities. But nobody is talking about the public issues and hardships people face in day to life as here media narrative of public interest has completely changed with focus shifted from ‘people without electricity and other basic facilities’ to a ‘girl selling Harisa online in Kashmir’. Here headlines are now ‘meet the young boy who surprises your with his stunts’ but it is the people of Galibal Rafiabaad in Baramulla who still carry their patients and pregnant ladies on makeshift stretchers in the absence of roads. A government primary school is housed in a cowshed with two doors.

Few inches of snow in Kashmir has punctured the balloon of claims of ‘Good Governance’ and ‘On the Spot Delivery of Services to masses’ as people continued to cry for power supply, dangling electric lines, defunct transformers and water supply. The miseries of people don’t stop here because now Jammu and Kashmir Bank-‘once called people’s bank” has started charging its consumers with new taxes and charges which has grilled the already squeezed consumers.

Who will answer Ahad Kak’s questions on ‘Good Governance’ and will the miseries of people end as year 2022 is saying us goodbye.  

The author is freelancer journalist and research scholar can be contacted on jameelaakhter301@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.