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Interim Report Part-II - Terms of reference 13(

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Interim Report Part-II - Terms of reference 13(

    ASSAM ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION

    Interim Recommendations Part II

(F) Rationalisation of District/ Sub-Divisional level Committees,

(G) Utilisation of Information Technology in Government Administration

     (E-Governance),

(H) Decentralisation of powers up to Divisional level vis-à-vis strengthening of

     the role and powers of Divisional Commissioners,

    Supplementary Items:

    (I) Compilation of Annual Administrative Report

     by State Government Departments,

    (J) Mechanisms for Monitoring & Coordinating

     Self-Employment Opportunities in the State.

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     (F) Rationalisation of District/Sub-Divisional level Committees

    The Commission had requested the Deputy Commissioners and the Sub-Divisional

    Officers to furnish lists of district and sub-divisional committees for examining the

    multiplicity of committees and for recommending reduction in the number of these

    committees and their rationalization, so that the already over-worked D.C.s/ S.D.O.s were not

    over burdened with unnecessary committees. From the list submitted by Deputy

    Commissioners, the Commission found that there were as many as 84 district level

    committees in a particular District.

    The Commission analysed the list minutely and carefully, and also held discussions with

    a few Deputy Commissioners and Sub-Divisional Officers. The Commission would like to

    make the following recommendations on the district level committees:

    The Deputy Commissioner or the Sub-Divisional Officer is the kingpin of administration

    at the district/sub-divisional level and hardly finds time to do justice to all the committees

    formed at district/sub-divisional level. Also, there is no rational basis in constituting many

    district and sub-divisional level committees, resulting in multiplicity of committees,

    duplication of work, dilution of powers and wastage of valuable time and money. For

    example, the following committees formed at the district level could be dispensed with, as

    separate law enforcing agencies exist to prevent violation of the law:

    1. District level Committee to prevent power theft,

    2. District level Committee to prevent illicit liquor,

    3. District level Committee to prevent cruelty to animals

    Such committees, instead of strengthening the law-enforcing agencies under various Acts,

    are likely to dilute the powers of the law-enforcing agencies. Therefore, the Commission

    would recommend their dissolution.

    The Commission also noted that, there are as many as nine district level committees (as

    shown below) constituted by Health & Family Welfare Department:

    1. District T.B. Control Society

    2. District Leprosy Control Society

    3. District Committee on National Malaria Control

    4. District Level Advisory Committee on AIDS

    5. District Committee on State Health & Family Welfare Society for

    voluntary activities (SHFWSVA)

    6. District Red Cross Society

    7. Civil Hospital Management Committee

    8. District Committee on Rehabilitation of Children with autism, etc.

    9. District level Standing Committee for renovation, improvement, and up

    gradation of Rural Health Institutions like PHCs, CHCs.

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    It is observed that the committees at serial 1 and 2 above are registered societies formed by the Government and central funds are routed

    through these societies. Therefore, the Commission feels that all such registered societies

    will have to continue.

    Similarly, District Red Cross Society and Civil Hospital Management Committee

    would have to continue for their specific functions.

    However, the Commission would like to suggest that all other committees listed above

    be dissolved and one district level committee on Health & Family Welfare be constituted

    where all matters relating to health, epidemic, sanitation, etc. may be discussed with

    representatives of Health & Family Welfare Department, Civic bodies and other concerned

    departments along with leading public representatives. As health is an important service

    sector, the committee may also entertain public grievances on this sector.

    The Commission also noted that there are as many as five committees formed by the

    Education Department at the District level, as shown below:

    1. District Education Board under Sarba Siksha Abhijan

    2. District Academic Council

    3. District Committee on Scouts & Guides

    4. Navodaya Vidyalaya Samittee

    5. Committee for implementation of Mid-day Meal Scheme

    The Commission would like to recommend that in view of the importance given to total

    literary programme and human resource development, a separate district level committee

    be formed for Education, Sports & Culture and Human Resource Development with

    representatives of concerned departments, representatives of local bodies, representatives

    of SC, ST, Minority and Tea tribes, where all matters relating to education, sports, culture,

    human resource development be discussed after abolition of above-named five committees.

    The Commission observes that several district level committees were constituted earlier

    for selection of beneficiaries under various schemes. Some of these committees are listed

    below:

    1. Selection of beneficiaries under various schemes like Antyodaya Anna

    Yojana, Annapurna Scheme & BPL

    2. Committee for selection of beneficiaries under National SC Finance

    Corporation

    3. District Level Selection Committee for ARIASP Scheme.

    Selection of beneficiaries under any scheme in the rural areas should now be the

    responsibility of Panchayats, and, therefore, the Commission recommends dissolution of all

    the abovementioned committees formed for the selection of beneficiaries.

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    The Deputy Commissioner is also the District Collector responsible for land settlement,

    land management, land acquisition and requisition, revenue collection, maintenance and

    correction of land records in the districts. At present, there are three district level

    committees on land as below:

    1. Land Settlement Advisory Committee

    2. District Committee for Revenue Collection

    3. District Committee for Computerisation of land records

     The Commission recommends that one district level committee should be formed for

    land settlement and management, which should also look after such matters like revenue

    collection, correction and computerization of records, replacing the three district level

    committees named above.

     The Commission is of the view that the District Development Committee (DDC) is a

    very important forum, which could be better utilized for monitoring and reviewing the

    implementation of on-going schemes undertaken by various departments in the district. For

    the DDC to be purposeful and meaningful, it should be so organized that the Deputy

    Commissioner has enough time to review the working of all the departments. A proper time

    table, department-wise, be prepared well in advance and circulated so that only the officials

    of the concerned departments are available for discussion at particular hour. The

    Commission feels that many district level committees can be dissolved and the related

    subject can be easily discussed in the District Level Committee meeting. Accordingly, the

    Commission recommends dissolution of the following district level committees.

    1. District Committee on CIC

    2. District Level Committee on RPRS

    3. District Level Committee on MLIS

    4. District Level Committee on National Green Crops

    5. District Committee on Zilla Paryavaran Vahini

    6. District Committee on matters related to petroleum products

    7. District Level Committee for prevention of Manual Scavengers‟

    Rehabilitation

    8. Public Utility Coordination Committee

    9. District Committee on abolition of Bonded Labour

    The Commission also recommends that the CEO of the Zilla Parishad be made a

    member of the District Development Committee.

    The Commission is of the view that there are some Committees, which are statutory in

    nature; these Committees shall have to function. A list of such Committees is given below:

    1. Regional Transport Authority

    2. Sub-Divisional Relief Committee

    3. Fish Farmers Development Agency

    4. District Review Committee for Joint Security

    5. Airport Security Committee

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    6. Zilla Sainik Board

    7. District Women Cell

    8. District Committee on Protection of Human Rights

    9. District Committee on Prevention of Child Labour

    The Commission recommends that to avoid multiplication of committees in future, the

    concerned department should obtain prior concurrence of the Administrative Reforms &

    Training Department for constituting any District/Sub-Divisional level committee,

    involving the D.C./S.D.O.

    The government may nominate non-official members to the District level/Sub-

    Divisional Committees from a panel of names recommended by the concerned Deputy

    Commissioner, keeping in view the representation of S.C., S.T., O.B.C., Minority, Tea

    Tribes and Women in such committees.

    The D.C.s may be authorized to invite public representatives, such as Chairman,

    M.Bs/T.Cs, Chairman, Z.P. and a limited number of A.P. Presidents by rotation to the

    concluding session of the District Development Committee meeting for better interaction

    with the public representatives.

    The District Development Committee meeting may be held in block headquarters by

    rotation to bring administration closer to the people.

    In the Sub Divisions also, there are a large number of committees presided over by the

    Sub Divisional Officers which are mere replication of the district level committees. The

    Sub Division level committees should also be restructured in the same principles as

    enunciated above for the district level committees to relieve the over-burdened Sub

    Divisional Officers to pay more attention to field visits and developmental works.

    The Commission has recommended the aforesaid rationalization of District level

    Committees, taking into account the involvement of Deputy Commissioner or his nominee,

    but if any Department has justification for having such District level Committee, the

    concerned department may have such committees (for example District Academic Council)

    without the Deputy Commissioner or his nominee as Chairman/member.

    The District level Committees should be convened with fixed agenda, and the agenda

    with the agenda notes should be circulated along with the notice issued for holding the

    meeting.

    There should be proper records of all the important decisions taken in the meeting, and

    their follow up action should be discussed in the next meeting.

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    (G) E-Governance

    With a view to introducing E-Governance in the State Administration, the Assam Administrative

    Reforms Commission recommends that the following steps should be taken on a priority basis:

    1. Functioning of the proposed Information Technology Department should commence

    immediately as it is already delayed.

    2. Each Department must have an I.T. plan, which has to be implemented on annual basis.

    Common software for tracking all files, file movements, grievance redressal, etc. should

    be used by all the Secretariat Departments. At least 5% of the budget of the Department

    should be earmarked for computerization.

    3. Each Department and each important public agency, e.g., Zila Parishads, DRDAs, etc.,

    must have a well defined website of its own, hosted by a duly authorized agency,

    preferably a Govt. agency, like, NIC, AMTRON, etc. These websites should be updated

    regularly, at least once a month and also after any important change. These should also be

    interactive, so that people could give their feedback and access information through them

    from the Government.

    4. Each Secretary holding a Department must have a MIS (Management Information System)

    with relevant database, so that he/she can exercise effective control over the functioning of

    the Department.

    5. The LAN installed in the Secretariat should cover all the departments as early as possible.

    There should be extensive use of E-mail in the State Government Administration for

    quickening communication as well as reduction of telephone bills.

    6. Government of Assam should have the State Wide Area Network. Initially, this may

    perhaps be done by interlinking the 219 CICs with Sub-Divisional and District Head

    Quarters as well as State Capital at Dispur.

    7. As a first step, all the staff in the Secretariat, irrespective of seniority, must be

    appropriately trained in computer operation so that common software can be used across

    the Secretariat.

    8. Typists and stenographers in all Secretariat departments must be trained for working on

    computers. Manual typewriters in the Secretariat should be phased out and substituted by

    computers, except keeping a few as standby. The cadre of typists should be abolished and

    the present typists may be designated as data entry operators.

    9. The LAN should be used for most communications, and except matters that are

    confidential in nature, service matters, and matters before the courts, all the rest of file

    work should be done on computers.

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    10. Each Department must immediately create databases covering the subjects dealt with in

    the department, with built-in system for regular updating of such databases. Provision

    must be made for sharing data among the departments whenever required.

    11. The Departments should not set up individual info. kiosks at the field level; common

    kiosks should be set up at the district or the block level, covering all the concerned

    departments. The CICs could also be used for this purpose.

12. All Citizens‟ Charters must be put on the web and all the services that citizens

    most frequently need and use should be provided locally as a part of e-

    Governance, as has been done through „GYANDOOT‟ Programme.

    13. The Departments of Transport, Taxes, Police and Revenue should be computerized on a

    priority basis, including all check-gates like Srirampur Baxirhat, etc.

    14. For communication with District, Sub Divisional and other field offices, the Internet

    facility should be extensively used. Messages related to only law and order should be sent

    through Police Wireless System., as using Police Wireless System for sending all types of

    messages is a very costly proposition.

    15. The provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000, where digital signatures have

    been legalized, should be given wide publicity, so that not only the officials but also the

    general public are aware of this provision.

    16. Payrolls in all departments should be computerized. This would speed up the work and

    also economise on the costs involved.

    17. Recruitment rules of all the departments should be suitably modified so that appropriate

    computer skills are made mandatory for all entry-level direct recruitments.

    18. Government employees should be encouraged to acquire computer skills relevant to daily

    office use within a specified period. For this purpose, the government should introduce

    incentive schemes to motivate employees.

    19. The Government of India, in the Ministry of Information Technology, has adequate funds

    for helping the States in introducing E-Governance. Thus, there would be no dearth of

    fund for introducing E-Governance in Assam.

    The Bhumi Project introduced by the Karnataka Government, covering all the areas of

    revenue administration, should be introduced in Assam also at the earliest with suitable

    modifications. The Government of India is prepared to provide 100% finance required for

    this purpose, and the Govt. of Karnataka is prepared to help with technical know how.

    As an experimental basis, registration of documents in Kamrup Metropolitan District

    should be computerized. NIC has necessary expertise in this regard, since such

    computerization has been done by NIC in other states.

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    Functions of the Divisional Commissioner (H)

The institution of Divisional Commissioner has been working very satisfactorily in some of the

    major States of the country. In these states, the Divisional Commissioner is functioning as the

    eyes and ears of the State Government on the one hand, and as a friend, philosopher and guide to

    the district administration on the other. Administrative functions and duties of the Divisional

    Commissioner relates primarily to supervision and co-ordination. These functions are quite

    specific and wide in respect of revenue, law and order and development administration.

The Commission feels that the institution of Divisional Commissioner should be developed as an

    effective instrument of the government at the regional level so that it could function effectively.

    Moreover, the supervisory and co-coordinating role of the Divisional Commissioner is very

    important for streamlining of the administration and expeditious execution of programmes and

    works at the field level. Many of the appeals under different Acts and rules, which are now heard

    at the Secretariat level, could be delegated to the respective Divisional Commissioners, and such

    a step would bring the administration closer to the people at the field level. In this context, the

    Commission would suggest that:

    1. Only the senior-most Commissioners having adequate district and Secretariat

    experience should be posted as Divisional Commissioners.

    2. Minimum tenure of an officer as Divisional Commissioner should be 3 years, in

    view of the importance and wide range of his duties and functions.

    3. The jurisdictions of the Divisional Commissioner and the DIG/IG Range should

    normally be co-terminus and their headquarters should be at the same station so

    that this important duo at the regional level could function in close coordination

    and perfect harmony.

    4. The Divisional Commissioner should be specifically recognised as the leader at

    the regional level and should be equipped with suitable powers for effecting

    coordination among different departments and monitoring of progress. He/She

    should exercise all the powers and authorities as prescribed in the Executive

    Manual.

    5. As recommended earlier, the Divisional Commissioner should oversee the system

    of redressal of public grievances in the district level and should be authorized to

    intervene in appropriate cases and to issue directions in cases of default.

    6. The Divisional Commissioner should be empowered to exercise supervision and

    inspection over the urban local bodies as well as the Panchayati Raj Institutions,

    so as to be able to offer guidance and to recommend correctives, where necessary.

    7. It should be imperative for the regional level officers of the government

    departments to comply with the directives given by the Commissioner, and if, for

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    some reason, they are not in a position to do so, they should refer the matter to the respective Heads of Departments for order under intimation to the Commissioner. The Head of Department must give due weight to the recommendations made by the Commissioner in such matters and if, in any case, they are unable to accept the Commissioner‟s advice, they should report the matter to their respective

    administrative department of the government for decision.

    8. The Commissioner of the Division should review the ACRs of the district/ regional-level officers of the line departments. Alternatively, a special report should invariably be obtained from the Divisional Commissioner regarding the annual performance review of the district/ regional-level officer of the line departments, which should form a part of the ACRs of these officers.

    9. Tour programmes and tour notes of all regional level officers should invariably be endorsed to the Commissioner. Whenever a regional officer proceeds on leave, the Commissioner should be informed in advance, and if the Commissioner feels that in the interest of the government works the officer should not proceed on leave during that period, he may advise the administrative department of the government accordingly.

    10. The Divisional Commissioner will keep himself/herself constantly posted with the law and order situation of the division and ensure that it is effectively maintained. He/she will meet at least once in a quarter with the DIG/ DCs/ SPs of the division to review and coordinate matters relating to law and order in his/her jurisdiction. He/she will send a monthly law and order review of the division, based on reports received from districts, for consideration of the State Government. This report should be addressed to the Chief Secretary.

    11. The Divisional Commissioner, functioning as regional coordinating and supervisory authority in the field of planning & development, will be responsible for supervision, coordination, monitoring and review of all development activities/ programmes in the division. He/she will ensure necessary support and guidance as well as action in the planning & development activities without in any way inhibiting the process, which has been developed at the district level.

    12. To be constantly in touch with the development activities in the field, the Divisional Commissioner may call for information and periodic progress reports from the implementing agencies. Copies of all periodical progress reports prescribed to be submitted to the government will invariably be endorsed to the Divisional Commissioner.

    13. The Divisional Commissioner, being the senior most Revenue Officer, will be in overall charge of revenue administration in his/her jurisdiction. He/she should be authorized to appoint ministerial and class-IV staff of his office and also function as the senior most Establishment Officer in respect of the officers and staff of the General Administration and Revenue Departments in the Division.

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    14. The Divisional Commissioner will look after the management of inter-state/

    international boundary/ boundaries within the Division and ensure development

    of border areas as per Government Policy and decisions. For this purpose, he/she

    will maintain necessary liaison with the other Divisional Commissioners/ Deputy

    Commissioners having such areas under their jurisdiction.

    15. In emergencies, the Divisional Commissioner should have the powers to: (a)

    temporarily deploy any Government officer/ employee of the Division (other than

    Police Personnel) below the rank of a Sub-Divisional Officer to any place within

    the Division, (b) initiate departmental proceedings against any Government

    officer/ employee except the Police and the regional/ district heads of departments.

    16. DETAILED EXERCISES SHOULD BE UNDERTAKEN FOR

    DELEGATION OF MORE POWERS PARTICULARLY APPELLATE

    POWERS FROM THE GOVERNMENT TO THE DIVISIONAL

    COMMISSIONERS IN THE INTEREST OF SPEEDY DISPOSAL OF

    PUBLIC GRIEVANCES.

    17. Inspection being an important tool of administration, one of the most important

    functions of the Divisional Commissioner will be periodic inspection of district,

    sub-division, circle and block offices, district jails, etc., for which the

    Commission would like to prescribe a tentative time-table for consideration of the

    Government.

     Yearly Schedule for Inspection by Divisional Commissioners:

    ? Own office Once in a year

    ? D.C.s‟ offices, including District

     Treasury, Registration Office, etc. Once in a year

    ? S.D.O.s‟ offices 50% in a year by rotation

    ? Circle offices 25% in a year by rotation

    ? Block offices 20% in a year by rotation

    ? District Jail Once in a year by rotation

    ? Sub-Divisional Jail 25% in a year by rotation

The Commissioner should also inspect at random other offices and institutions as

    prescribed in the Executive Manual.

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