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Navigating Development in Kashmir

Striking a Balance Between Progress and Bureaucracy
12:13 AM Mar 17, 2024 IST | Guest Contributor
navigating development in kashmir
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In the wake of the abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir has experienced a notable shift in its societal landscape. The reduction of political corruption and the embrace of digital governance by the central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have been commendable steps towards fostering transparency and easing the burdens on the people.

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The strides in digitalizing government services have undeniably streamlined processes, making them more accessible to the public. However, the residual bureaucratic mindset lingering from the colonial era remains a formidable challenge.

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Despite efforts to curb corruption through digital means, the bureaucratic orientation in Jammu and Kashmir can still create significant obstacles for citizens seeking essential services.

One glaring issue is the persistence of a bureaucratic labyrinth in obtaining certificates and services from tehsil offices. The bureaucratic delays in processing documents have been a longstanding concern, with wait times stretching up to months together and, at times, rendering the acquisition of certain certificates seemingly impossible.

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While digitalization was intended to alleviate bureaucratic hurdles, it seems to have inadvertently added an extra layer of complexity. The colonial-era mindset persists, demanding citizens to undergo a double process – completing physical formalities at tehsil offices only to be directed to put the same documents online.

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The discretion of whether to process these documents often lies with the bureaucracy, introducing an element of uncertainty and frustration for the citizens.

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The focus on reducing bureaucratic corruption through digital means is crucial, but the challenge lies in transforming the entrenched mindset within government departments. The excessive documentation requirements and discretionary decision- making processes continue to hinder the efficient delivery of services, impeding the envisioned benefits of digitalization.

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As Kashmir embarks on its journey of development, striking a delicate balance between progress and bureaucracy becomes imperative.

While the positive steps taken by the central government are acknowledged, addressing the deep-seated bureaucratic mindset in the region is crucial for the effective implementation of digital governance.

Efforts must be directed not only towards technological advancements but also towards fostering a culture of public service that prioritizes efficiency, transparency, and responsiveness to the needs of the people.

By Imran Khurshid

Imran Khurshid, Research scholar at University of Kashmir.

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