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e-Governance at Grassroots

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Sushma Chauhan“We should do everything possible for reducing the effort that the common man has to make for acquiring anything,” says Sushma Chauhan

J&K is a mountainous and border state. What are the main challenges that you face in discharging your duty in this state?
The main challenge that we face is the same as what it would be in any other part of the country. Land is at the centre of many disputes. Our challenge is to help people find a legal avenue for resolving their land related issues. We are taking steps to digitise our land records. Once this has been accomplished, the property rights will become clearer and things will become easier for the land owning class of people in the state.

How much time will it take for the land reforms to be completed in the state?
It would be difficult to attach the timeline to this, but I can assure you that we are working to quickly achieve the objective of digitising the land records. The capacity building work has already begun. And we have also started sensitising the government officials and other stakeholders about the new system of maintaining the land records.

Before this you were the SDM of Akhnoor. This is a border area, where development might be difficult. So what is the situation of education, electricity and other such important needs?
There are no such issues in Akhnoor. The area is blessed with ample numbers of government schools, private schools and the parents are well aware of the importance of educating their children. Akhnoor is very close to Jammu, so it is not a remote village. People in Akhnoor can also avail of the amenities that are available in Jammu.

It has often been the case that the people of the state find it difficult to get hold of a Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC). What are you doing to solve this issue?
As do we aware Jammu & Kashmir is the only state in the country where the citizens are issued a PRC Permanent Residence Certificate. A PRC is given to a citizen who is a permanent resident of the state. A permanent resident means someone whose ancestors have been living in the state since 1944. So we have to go back to three generations in order to investigate a citizen’s PRC. You cannot be employed in government job in the state if you don’t have a PRC certificate. Now we are bringing e-Governance to the way in which the PRC certificates are issued. There will be a single window where the citizen has to submit all his documents. These documents can then be digitised and sent to other departments for their feedback and approvals. In next six months we will be in a position to rollout the project in Jammu.

As an IAS officer, what is your vision for your department? What would you like to achieve for the people?
In one line I would say that the dream and desire of this office and that of our Deputy Commissioner is that we should do everything possible for reducing the effort that the common man has to make for acquiring anything. Today a citizen’s life is invariably linked to the state. So the state has to conduct its operations smoothly to ensure that the citizen gets all the benefits that he is entitled to in an easy and seamless manner. We need more technology in governance. It is only technology that can bring transparency and efficiency in our system of governance.

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