In what could be described an instance of 'out of the box' thinking, senior officials in the state's jail department have adopted popular messaging service, WhatsApp, to supervise and monitor the functioning of jails across the state from its Chandigarh headquarters.
Assistant Director General of Police (prisons) Rajpal Meena has created a WhatsApp group of jail officials and another group of senior officers to check the punctuality of field staff, to get updates on the progress of the Swachh Bharat scheme, the condition of barracks, the quality of food and other routine matters that previously had to be monitored through physical verification or asking for files.
Any new initiative taken by a particular jail warden is also shared on the group, leading to improved learning and appreciation from the across the state.
"Now, we assign targets to our staff and ask for a progress report, sometimes with pictures, on WhatsApp. Thus, there is no delay in work and the entire group is aware of people who are performing and those who are not," said Meena.
Right from checking whether the morning yoga session has been held to the attendance register, everything is monitored.
"The working of the department has been streamlined and officers know that their superior might ask for a status report on work assigned every time," Meena added, pointing out that the system had led to improved efficiency without any expenditure.
"We even share newspaper articles and reports relevant to the department and try any plug any loopholes in the functioning. The initiative has been appreciated by all staff members," the officer added.