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Editorial
Performance speaks indeed!
Omar-led coalition has failed to honour any of its commitments
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Politicians in the country, particularly in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir, are used to indulging in self-praise and denigrating their political adversaries as well as other well-meaning critics. Having mastered the art of self-praise and self-indulgence, they invariably cover up their failures and exaggerate their achievements. Omar Abdullah is indeed no exception. He is not only insensitive to any criticism and intolerant to the voices of dissent but also lacks faith in democratic norms and practices. Speaking at a party rally at Marh on Wednesday Omar Abdullah said that his government should be judged on the basis of its performance. In the same breath he claimed that the four years record of his government on peace and development fronts amply substantiates its sincere intentions to make Jammu and Kashmir a model state in the country with public empowerment and transparency. Interestingly the chief minister took credit for what ever development has taken place during the past over six decades including the network of roads, bridges, education, healthcare. Industries, power and almost every sector of the economy, which in effect is the cumulated result of the work done by successive regimes in the State.

The fact of the matter is that Omar Abdullah has failed to honour any of the commitment made by his party on the eve of 2008 elections to the State assembly. His failure on almost every front is too pronounced for any one to claim that the present government has performed well during its four-year rule. Its performance on the human rights front speaks for itself. Not only that the government has failed to create a credible institutional mechanism to put an end to human rights abuses, it has even failed to probe into any case of such grave abuses of human rights. The coalition has even ignored the report of the Working Group on ensuring human rights headed by M.A.Ansari submitted in March 2007 which unequivocally recommended the revocation of draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act which infringe on the fundamental rights of the citizens and which, in its view, should have no place in any democratic society. Even several other suggestions including that of probing all cases of HR violations, strengthening of human rights commission etc have been followed only in breach, The present coalition has the blackest record of HR violations with over 120 youth including minors killed in police brutalities only in 2010. The government has failed to bring justice to the families of the victims by ordering credible and independent probe into such atrocities and punishment to the guilty. Hundreds of youth including minors were arrested under the notorious Public Safety Act and a number of them are still languishing in jails.

The Omar-led coalition’s failure to honour its commitment for making polity and governance accountable, transparent and responsive to people’s needs and demands is even more pronounced. Instead of taking positive steps in this regard the present government has even undone whatever had been achieved by its predecessor regime. The State Accountability Commission has been made non-functional, the Right to Information Act has been diluted and all kinds of hurdles are being placed in the way of the State Information Commission to fulfill its objective of making governance transparent. The failure of the government to evolve a just and rational policy for appointments, postings, transfers and promotions of officers at various rungs of the administration has resulted in perpetuating a policy of injustice and arbitrariness, breeding corruption and creating a mess in the administration. Corruption has multiplied during the past four years of Omar’s rule with tainted ministers and bureaucrats continuing to enjoy the lucrative jobs and misusing their powers and authority for self-aggrandizement.

While the Omar government has failed to take concrete steps for evolving a system of democratic decentralization for empowering the people at the grassroot levels it has even been undoing whatever was done earlier. The panchayats are virtually non-functional in the absence of powers, authority and resources and the State government has stubbornly refused to go for amending the State Constitution on the lines of the 73rd and 74th amendments in the Constitution of India to provide constitutional status to three-tier panchayati raj institutions and grant them sufficient powers, authority and resources. The Omar government’s dilly dallying tactics to delay the elections to the urban local bodies, due for the past three years, speak loudly about his lack of trust in the people and faith in democracy.

The present government has nothing much to show even on the economic front. The State is facing a serious fiscal and economic crisis with the debt liabilities increasing fast. The CAG reports bring to light the large-scale cases of misappropriation and other financial irregularities with the Omar government failing even to respond positively to the points raised in these reports. While the development activities have slowed down and several sectors are crying for funds the State government has been recklessly using the limited resources on making the life for ministers, other politicians and bureaucrats luxurious. There has been sharp increase in the unproductive and wasteful expenditure. While the poorer and marginal sections of the population are facing much hardships the ruling elite is going on spending lavishly for their own comforts.
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News Updated at : Thursday, April 11, 2013
 
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