From the arid mountains of Damchok on the India-China border to the precincts of terraneous Teetwal, right on the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara, and R S Pura on the border between India and Pakistan, about 4,500 officers of the Jammu and Kashmir state administration will take governance to the doorsteps of people beginning Thursday.
In a massive outreach programme ‘Back to the Village’, bureaucrats across the hierarchy — from Principal Secretaries to entry-level gazetted officers — will visit every panchayat of the state, stay overnight and spend two days listening to peoples’ grievances and their needs. The programme will last for a week beginning June 20. Officers will participate in various activities in the village and the panchayat during the period.
“It is a unique and ambitious initiative, the first of its kind in Jammu and Kashmir. We have 4,483 panchayats in the State and every panchayat will be attended to by a gazetted officer,” said Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Monitoring. “This is probably for the first time that such a large number of officers are going to every nook and corner of the State and will stay with the people,” he said.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma, said the state has suffered hugely since the connect between officials and the people has broken over the years due to security reasons and also because of the difficult mountainous terrain. The feedback obtained from villagers will help tailor Central and state government schemes based on their needs, he said, adding that the occasion will also provide an opportunity to village panchayats come up with area specific schemes for development of their villages.
“The officers will then submit a report to the concerned district administrations for redressal of the grievances,” said a press statement by the government. As part of the initiative, the government officers will visit over 7,000 villages spread across 4,483 panchayats in the state, with nodal officers supervising the initative.
“The program is primarily aimed at directing development efforts in rural areas through community participation and to create in the rural masses an earnest desire for decent standard of living,” the statement said. “The ambitious programme has four main goals: energising panchayats, collecting feedback on delivery of government schemes and programmes, capturing specific economic potential, and undertaking assessment of needs of villages.”