A lot can happen in 17 days

Published at November 15, 2017 01:34 AM 0Comment(s)3589views

ICPS Mission Director’s selection order cancelled within 3 weeks


Faisul Yaseen

Srinagar, Nov 17:

The government in a U-turn cancelled the selection order of one Hilal Ahmad Bhat just 17 days after making him the Mission Director of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).

The Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party government had appointed Bhat as the Mission Director ICPS on October 27 under order No 340-SW of 2017.

ICPS is a Government of India-sponsored scheme that aims at building a protective environment for children through government-civil society partnership.

Bhat, who has worked with the United Nations Children's Fund, a United Nations programme and Save the Children in the past, had been working with the State government as the ‘Technical Advisor on Child Protection and Juvenile Justice’ for the past few years.

However, only after 17 days of his fresh selection as ICPS Mission Director, the government demoted Bhat to the post of the State Coordinator of ICPS.

What changed within three weeks, only the PDP-BJP government can tell.

Official sources said the failure of the successive governments to roll out the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 in the State had resulted in a loss of funds worth Rs 1250 crore (Rs 250 crore annually) to Jammu Kashmir since 2013.

They said Bhat had been selected to take over as the Mission Director ICPS to roll out the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 in the State.

The sources said Bhat’s selection was expedited by Minister for Social Welfare, Sajad Gani Lone with the Minister for Finance, Haseeb Ahmad Drabu giving his concurrence.

After Finance Ministry’s concurrence, the file moved to the General Administration Department (GAD), which is headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who gave her nod to the selection and the government issued the selection order.

However, on November 13, 2017, the GAD issued an order No 1425 transferring Dr Rubina Kouser as Mission Director ICPS.

What happened during the course of 17 days that made the government’s heart make up its mind in a U-turn is a question mark on the government’s claims of transparency.

Both the selection of Bhat and the subsequent cancellation order of his selection makes one wondrous whether the “October government” was correct or the “November government”.

“A 3-km flyover may not be completed in 3 years; self-rule, demilitarisation, revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and dual currency may well be forgotten until the next elections; cross-border travel and trade may not be the topics for discussion for the time being yet a lot can happen in 17 days in the ruling dispensation,” said a top bureaucrat furious over both the developments, Bhat’s selection and subsequent cancellation of his selection order.

He said everyone in the top echelons of the government including the chief minister, finance minister, and the social welfare ministers were in knowhow of both the decisions.

“Such indecision on part of the government not only puts a question mark on its functioning but also its credibility and tall claims of transparency,” the top officer said.

The decision of cancelling the selection order of Bhat within 17 days seems to have been taken after the government faced a lot of flak over the past few weeks on the selection of several people for such posts.

Besides Bhat, the government has also selected Social Welfare minister’s close aide Iqbal Lone as Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Ghulam Nabi Peer as Mission Director Skill Development and journalist Bilal Bhat as Technical Co-opted Member in a committee under ICPS.

The decisions of the government, under fire for allegations of nepotism and widespread corruption for selecting them without even advertising the posts, brought bad press to the government, which reacted by doing a U-turn by cancelling Bhat’s selection order.

However, Bhat’s close friends said the government had ruined his career in the process.

“He was getting a pay of Rs 4 lakh per month from UNICEF in the past and had agreed to serve the government for a paltry Rs 1.30 lakh but now he has been demoted,” said one of his friends. “This is how the government pays the people who help it.”

Explaining why Bhat’s selection order had been cancelled, Commissioner Secretary GAD Khurshid Ahmad Shah said the earlier order had been issued by the Social Welfare department.

He said the orders for appointment of the Heads of Departments have to be issued by the GAD.

“In this case it was not done," he said.

faisul@risingkashmir.com

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