IRONY OF GOVERNANCE

While the purpose behind framing various House Committees is to ensure flawless governance besides keeping check on the functioning of various agencies of the government, it is an irony that after their constitution the recommendations of these all important committees especially in Jammu and Kashmir seldom get translated on ground. The situation can be well gauged from the fact that the recommendations of a committee on road accidents and traffic management long back are yet to see the light of the day so far as the implementation is concerned and the graph of accidental deaths continuing the upward trend. The ground situation can be well realized from the statement of the Privileges Committee of the State asking the Director Information to look into the matter as the House Committees take up various issues of public importance and it is imperative that the proceedings of these Committees reach the people through media. The statement was issued after the Privileges Committee summoned the Director of the Department of Information & Public Relations (DIPR) to explain reasons for lack of proper coverage of the proceedings of the House Committees in the media. This makes it amply clear that the Committees framed by the legislature are rarely taken seriously at the official level. The DIPR has come under fire of the instant Committee the other day with its head MLA Mohammad Yousuf Bhat observing that despite issuing advertisements worth crores of rupees to the newspapers, the DIPR is not ensuring coverage of the proceedings of the House Committees in the media. The Committee quite rightly while stressing upon the importance of proper dissemination of information through media, observed that people have to be kept updated regarding the activities of public representatives to maintain their faith in the Legislature. If the official data is correct then DIPR is issuing advertisements worth R 35 crore to the newspapers in the State every year. As such it raises doubts as to why despite spending such a huge amount on the media, the issues raised by the people’s representatives are not getting due coverage. Thus it needs to be probed whether this serious shortcoming is due to negligence on the part of media houses or is it the lackadaisical attitude of the DIPR or else is it due to irrational distribution of advertisements by the Department concerned. While the explanation tendered by the Department before the Privileges Committee that regular press notes are issued to the print and electronic media in the state in three languages i.e., Hindi, English and Urdu, besides the news being featured in Aks-e-Parwaaz bulletin but this explanation is not sufficient enough to absolve the department of its all important responsibilities. In fact the Department has failed to project the well meaning Chief Minister in the right perspective. The arrogant Director Information is on record having said that he does not pick up phone calls from media. He needs to realize that he is holding the charge of Department of Information and not that of NIA or CBI. After having destroyed the stronghold of PDP in South Kashmir’s Pulwama District where he was posted as District Magistrate, he has now embarked upon destroying the Government by patronizing only favourite media houses. There is anger among few in the profession regarding favouritism in distribution of advertisements. The Director Information should pass directions to District Information Offices to provide due coverage to public welfare activities initiated by legislators irrespective of their party affiliations to keep people updated on initiatives being undertaken in their respective areas. It is a matter of great appreciation that the Privileges Committee has tried to highlight even the minute details to set the system right and now it is hoped that the Department of Information will take up the observations of the Committee with utmost seriousness and dedication realizing that it is the recommendations of such committees that have the full potential of giving finesse to the governance.