Naya J&K: 5 lakh govt employees put in heart and soul to make PM Modi’s dream come true

SRINAGAR: The transition of Jammu and Kashmir into a Union Territory has proven to be a blessing for the government employees in the Himalayan region.
The strong workforce of more than 5 lakh employees, spread across the 20 districts of J&K, after August 5, 2019, when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate the special status of the erstwhile princely state and divided it into two Union Territories, has put in its heart and soul to implement Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to transform Jammu and Kashmir into a super state.
The employees put in their best efforts and have made impossible tasks possible. They are the same employees who used to be at loggerheads with the government when J&K was a state and local politicians were at the helm. Till 2018 favouritism and nepotism was common phenomenon. Only employees who had political backing and the blessings of their political bosses were given important positions and tasks.
After August 5, 2019, the scenario in ‘Naya J&K’ changed completely, the government cracked the whip on anti-national and corrupt employees, while the nationalist, upright and honest employees were provided with all the opportunities and facilities to come forward and prove their mettle.
Besides making the employees accountable, the government has introduced various schemes to make them comfortable to enhance their performance and productivity. Soon after J&K started functioning as a Union Territory the government in November 2019 extended various benefits of Central pay grade in favour of the employees in the Himalayan region and brought them at par with the Central Government employees.
Besides a salary hike, they were provided with the benefit of Children Education Allowance (CEA) and hostel subsidy for children. The amount for reimbursement of CEA was fixed at Rs 2,250 per month per child. The ceiling of the hostel subsidy was fixed at Rs 6,750 per month. The reimbursement of CEA for disabled children of government employees was fixed at Rs 4,500 per month.
Government employees can avail of the CEA till the child attains 20 years or is a 12th class pass, whichever is earlier. However, the upper age limit for disabled children was fixed at 22 years. The ceiling would be automatically raised by 25 per cent every time the Dearness Allowance (DA) on the revised pay structure goes up by 50 per cent.
Other incentives included transport allowance to the employees for various pay levels. For acquiring fresh higher qualifications by employees in fields that are directly relevant to their jobs, the government-sanctioned a hike ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000.
In June this year, the J&K government launched J&K Bank’s ‘Phone pe Loan’ scheme for its employees.
It was launched with the purpose to allow the employees to avail of the facility anytime from anywhere and get the requested eligible amount, under Bank’s Personal Consumption Loan and Cash Credit for salaried employees, disbursed within a few hours. No pre-sanction or post-sanction documents are required for the disbursal of the loan.
Moreover, all government employees drawing their salary from J&K Bank – with a debit card linked to their salary account and who have used the said card at least once during the last 45 days on any ATM, POS machine or online platform were made eligible for the free group personal accidental insurance cover from the Bank.
As an Independence Day gift this year the J&K government scrapped a 2015 order under which newly-recruited employees were given partial wages for five years. Nearly 15,000 employees benefitted from the government order. Besides being paid just basic pay, the newly recruited employees in J&K also had to serve at one place for five years as they were ineligible for transfers during this period of their posting.
All the government employees including the migrants recruited under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) are now eligible to get full salaries including basic pay, DA, allowances and all other benefits.
In 2015 the dispensation led by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) started recruitment of the employees under the new rules by virtue of which they were entitled to just basic pay and medical allowance for five years and were denied DA, HRA, CCA, and other benefits. Following an uproar by recruits the then Governor in 2020 had reduced the five-year clause to two years. However, the present regime headed by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha scrapped the order completely and brought all the employees on equal footing.
The new employees had to be posted in one place for the first five years on probation. With the rules scrapped, they can now be transferred after two or three years as per the transfer policy of the government. In September 2022, the government approved a new scheme for its employees and dependents to get appointed. The scheme applies to dependent family members of a government employee who dies in harness, retires on an invalid pension or dies as a result of terrorism-related or enemy action on the LoC/International Border within J&K but is not involved in any terrorism-related activities.
Dependents include spouse and son/daughter including those adopted under law and brother or sister in case of an unmarried government servant. The applicants have also been provided with an option to refuse the appointment and in case of s/he chooses to do so, they have entitled to a monetary compensation of Rs 5 lakh in lieu of the appointment.
Earlier this month, the government launched the Jammu and Kashmir Human Resource Management System (JK-HRMS) with an aim to provide equal opportunities to all employees in terms of their career progression, timely filing of monthly performance reports, property returns and annual performance reports.
The system would automatically detect the long-staying employees and the ones deserving of promotions so that the processes of their transfer and promotions are initiated without any delay.
Information and Technology initiatives like Smart Performance Appraisal Report Recording Online Window (SPARROW), Online Property Return System (PRS), Vigilance Clearance System (VCS), Employees Monitoring Portal (EPM) and Employees Verification System (EVS) have made the system employee-friendly. In “Naya Jammu and Kashmir” employees do not have to run from one office to another with their applications to get their simple work done. This has improved their performance and productivity. They no longer take leaves to get their work done as they have no reason left to skip the office. Just three years ago, the employees had to wander from one room to another in the Civil Secretariats, the highest seats of power in J&K, in Srinagar and Jammu to plead their cases and meet the concerned higher-ups. Now, they can easily approach any of their bosses through the online mechanisms that have been put in place.
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta have shown keen interest in making the system employee-friendly and accessible to all.
Under their guidance, the J&K administration is moving towards achieving new milestones and is crossing all the barriers. Jammu and Kashmir is on its way to becoming one of the best-governed places in the country.