NOTWITHSTANDING the claims of digitisation and e-governance, corruption is rampant in Jammu and Kashmir at almost all levels. Money may or may not be changing hands at the secretariat level but the fact remains that the resolution of common issues pertaining to the general public has a cost. Petty corruption is not only there, it is flourishing. There are wild allegations of corruption at the lower levels. Digitisation or e-governance has little bearings there.
This is actually a culture deep-rooted in the society. It has been promoted, preserved and protected all through these years. It is a given that a poor guy has to pay, whatever he can, to achieve what otherwise is due to him legally and Constitutionally. He has to beg for it. This culture is so entrenched that government servants at lower levels notwithstanding the digitisation and e-governance, could find their way of looting people.
Some startling revelations have come to the fore in digitisation of records in the key departments of Revenue and Rural Development. Records are being initially fudged to extract money from the aggrieved persons. After receiving kickbacks, corrections are made as per the original records.
On the other hand, there are allegations that not much has changed at the secretariat level. The officers and officials are very much into corruption which seems unstoppable. Digitisation of records and online mode of disposal could not eradicate corrupt practices. It would be inappropriate to claim that there is no corruption. It is still there in one or the other form.
People are willing to report incidents of corruption and corrupt practices; however, they want to be sure that action would be taken where warranted.
In order to combat corruption, it is important that authorities devise a clear and transparent mechanism to deal with the complaints of corruption. Though the grievance cell system has provided some sort of deterrent, however, it does not encompass the gravity of the corrupt practices. As mentioned earlier, corruption is a culture, an accepted norm in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. Something unconventional and an out-of-the-box mechanism need to be put in place to address the issue.