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Caught in red tape, Haryana governance reforms body yet to find its feet

india Updated: Jul 24, 2017 12:25 IST
Pawan Sharma
Pawan Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Manohar Lal Khattar,Haryana,Haryana Governance Reforms Authority

Haryana Governance Reforms Authority chairman Prof Pramod Kumar (left) had written to CM Manohar Lal Khattar about the delay in getting facilities to make the body functional.

Caught in bureaucratic red tape, the Haryana Governance Reforms Authority (HGRA) is yet to become functional seven months after it was set up by Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government to improve governance and cut corruption in the state.

The reforms body, notified in January this year, was tasked with suggesting changes in rules and procedures to improve the quality of governance, development programmes and schemes of the state government and to make delivery of services “harassment- and corruption-free.”

When chief secretary DS Dhesi issued the three-page notification on January 4, it was stated the order to set up HGRA was issued with the chief minister’s approval “in anticipation of approval of the finance department and the council of ministers”.

The council of ministers, however, gave ex-post facto approval on June 1, nearly six months after the authority was formed, a testimony to the functioning of the first-ever BJP government led by the RSS pracharak-turned-chief minister.

After getting a delayed approval from the council of ministers, the chief secretary’s office took as many as 26 days for writing and dispatching a two-line letter to all administrative secretaries officially informing them of the Cabinet nod.

The file, sources say, is now stuck in the finance department whose nod is required to begin the process to get various approvals for setting up the reforms body’s office in the civil secretariat and allocating staff to make its functional.

Principal secretary (governance reforms authority) TC Gupta did not respond to repeated phone calls and text messages.

Organisational set-up

While Prof Pramod Kumar, director, Institute for Development and Communication (IDC) Chandigarh, is HGRA chairperson, Justice BB Parsoon (retd) and former Haryana chief secretary PK Chaudhery are its vice chairpersons.

Besides, there are four members, Dr KK Talwar, former director of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Harbhajan Singh, IAS officer (retd), former Punjab DGP SK Sharma and Dr Rainuka Dagar of the IDC. Rs 2,000 honorarium per sitting is given to the chairperson, vice-chairpersons and the members and no perks like car, housing etc.

However, the chairperson and vice-chairpersons enjoy the status of the chief commissioner of the Right to Service Commission. The body’s tenure is five years.

HGRA head writes to CM

Upset over the delay in getting basic facilities to make the authority functional, the HGRA chairperson recently wrote a letter to the CM, said a key functionary in the chief minister’s office (CMO) on condition of anonymity.

“The letter politely reminds the government about the delay and that how the Cabinet gave its approval six months after the notification was issued. The letter also lists recommendations the panel had made though it was yet to get basic facilities like office and staff and FD’s approval,” the officer said.

Tasks of HGRA

•To evolve measures to reduce delays and ensure promptness in delivery of services and to suggest progressive interventions to make administration more accessible and outcome-oriented.

•To suggest changes in procedures of public services, social and economic programmes and to improve delivery so that people are able to access these in a dignified manner.

•To make recommendations for improving health, literacy and social development indicators, while improving grievance redressal mechanism and making service providers accountable.

Four recommendations non-functional panel made

1. HGRA recommended amendment in the state revenue act. Government approved this

2. Also recommended setting up of Miter Kaksh, to be attached with each police station, for better delivery of police services. The recommendation was approved

3. To set up department of governance reforms by restricting departments of administrative reforms, IT application, grievance redressal etc. The proposal is under consideration of government

4. Proposal for clustering of administrative departments for policy planning and monitoring under the government’s consideration.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 12:24 IST