Samba (JK), December 12: Union minister Jitendra Singh Saturday said the now-scrapped Article 370 had paved the way for rampant corruption in Jammu and Kashmir as successive state governments used it to make their own anti-graft laws, customised allegedly for convenience.
He said the setting up of the District Development Councils (DDC) will bring further accountability, transparency and outcome-oriented approach in the working of the administration in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Article 370 had paved the way for rampant corruption in Jammu and Kashmir because it gave the successive governments in the state the right to enact their own anti-graft laws which were inadequate and tailor-made for convenience,” he told an election rally in support of BJP candidates in the DDC polls.
At the same time, Article 370 also gave the state rulers the prerogative not to allow the Centre’s Prevention of Corruption Act to be implemented in Jammu and Kashmir like the rest of the country, he said.
Singh, the Union Minister for the Prime Minister’s Office, said the Prevention of Corruption Act was implemented in Jammu and Kashmir only after the abrogation of Article 370 and the state having turned into a Union Territory.
The Article 370 was abrogated on August 5, 2019, and subsequently the erstwhile state was divided into two UTs — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Singh, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, said there was no effective curb on corruption in the past because the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir had its own anti-corruption law and probes into corruption cases carried on indefinitely, allowing the officials concerned to get superannuated, or making too late to bring them to book.
“As a result, corruption in Jammu and Kashmir, both in lower as well as in higher offices, became a norm rather than an exception and the common impression was that anybody who was smart enough to get away with it, could also manage to go scot-free,” he said.
With the implementation of the Prevention of Corruption Act in Jammu and Kashmir now, the minister said, now there are timelines fixed to dispose corruption cases and at the same time, not only the bribe-taker but also the bribe-giver is held guilty.
Singh said that in the last one year, there is a visible change in governance and the good governance practices followed by the Centre are also being gradually implemented in Jammu and Kashmir, one after the other.
“This has also led to a conspicuous change in the work culture in the government setup which was grossly lacking in the past,” he said.
The minister said the setting up of DDCs will bring further accountability, transparency and outcome-oriented approach in the working of the government.
“When the District Councillors and the District Council Chairman work in coordination with the District Deputy Commissioner and his administration, they will not only supplement each other’s efforts and initiatives, but also exercise the necessary checks and balances,” he said.
Singh said DDCs will herald a new era of democratisation with accountability in the administration and, therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility to make this initiative successful. (PTI)