IT J&K develops cold feet on ‘Digital India’

Naveen Jain. Dated: 12/18/2018 12:18:41 PM

DARPG yet to monitor “e-Assembly project” progress

JAMMU, Dec 17: Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), under Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of Government of India, has failed to monitor the progress of its multi-crore prestigious e–Governance project for the state legislature (J&K Legislative Council and Assembly) sanctioned in the year 2014-15.
The progress has not been monitored though it is mandatory under laid guidelines for State Collaboration Initiative Programmes (SCIP).
The project was sanctioned by the DARPG, which is under the control of Union Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, who belongs to Jammu and Kashmir and is deputy to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who promotes “Digital India” at every possible forum.
Even though the state government has issued Utilization Certificate (UCs) to DARPG for the said project for an amount of Rs 3,57,17,251 spent on it, the project is still in infancy.
When contacted a senior official of the DARPG, New Delhi, he informed that they were aware of this project under IT Department J&K and had taken up this matter with the department concerned. “Probably owing to frequent changes/transfers of Secretaries, IT, J&K there may be some technical problems and that is why it is still under process. Since there are number of projects going on in various other states of the country and after the completion of these projects and after receipt of Utilization Certificate (UC) from the respective states a monitoring team nominated by secretary (ARPG) will make visit to see the functioning/completion of the project successfully. Thereafter on the basis of their recommendations we will take any action or seek explanation if any. The team will make visit according to sequence due to load of work,” he said.
Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances under Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (GoI) in month of August 2015 had initiated State level projects throughout the country with the aim to bring administrative reforms, sanctioned under the scheme State Collaboration Imitative Programme and under this scheme three projects were approved for Jammu and Kashmir state viz. Visitors management system in Civil Secretariat, Jammu/Srinagar, e-Assembly J&K and Automation of Jammu Development Authority J&K. At present, the projects figure at Serial No: 7, 20 and 21 in the list of projects sanctioned under the SCIP. There are 38 projects running across the country.
As per the well laid guidelines by DARPG for project monitoring mentioned in Para 9, the host department is supposed to submit periodic monitoring reports as specified by DARPG from time to time. The state initiatives would be monitored through the quarterly programme monitoring meeting held under the chairmanship of Secretary (AR&PG) or senior officers nominated by secretary (ARPG).
The Centre accepts the Utilization Certificates dully audited and signed by the Head of the concerned department (IT Department) and HoD is solely responsible for the project.
Before sending the Utilization Certificates to the Ministry, it is mandatory to have it annually audited as per General Finance Rule of Government of India. But, the Jammu & Kashmir e-Governance Agency (JaKeGA) Society has admitted that it has failed in conduct of audit for the year 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 as per the reply furnished under RTI vide letter No. ITD/Gen/RTI/182/2015 Dated: 12/6/2016.
From 2012 to 2017, Bipul Pathak, IAS, Hardesh Kumar, IAS, Saurab Bhaght, IAS, Parvez Ahmad Malik, IAS, Ashok Kumar Parmar, IAS, Saleem Shezar, KAS and Sanjeev Verma IAS headed J&K IT department.
Ironically, the state government time to time received grants from Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) Government of India and also furnished utilization certificates to Meity. The project was initiated by JaKeGA (Society) without any consultation with the both secretariats of the State Legislature. The first installment of Rs 1,33,34,800 for the project was released in the year 2016 by DARPG on February 2, 2016 vide No. K-11022/133/2013- and Utilization Certificate was also issued by the government. The second installment of an amount of Rs 1, 19, 61,600 was released for the same in the year 2017 and Utilization Certificate was also issued against same.
In the 7th meeting of the Board of Governors of JaKeGA held on January 6, 2014 under the chairmanship of the then Chief Secretary (now late) Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, various proposals of the IT Department for IT enablement of the Prisons Department, Courts and Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council were approved.

 

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