Punjab Governance Reforms Commission works to improve the delivery of services for disadvantaged, marginalised and deprived sections in the State and achieve good governance based on high ethical standards to citizen-centric basic services, tells Dr Pramod Kumar, Chairman of the Commission, to Priya Yadav of Elets News Network (ENN)
How Punjab Governance Reforms Commission has played an important role in bringing about reforms in the State?
The ePunjab Governance Reforms Commission has been set up to improve the welfare of the disadvantaged, marginalised and deprived sections in the State and achieve good governance based on high ethical standards. The motivation coming from the present system of governance is not optimally suited to the challenges of unequal access of social programmes and skewed distribution of benefits of the various economic programmes based on gender, caste and class.
What is the Commission focusses on while suggesting and introducing governance reforms?
The mandate of the Commission is to suggest changes in the processes, procedures, rules, regulations and design of the public services and in respect of the social development programmes, to improve the delivery of services, ensure dignified access of the same to the disadvantaged, marginalised and deprived sections of the society, including women.
The main thrust is to establish the identity of the citizens by changing colonial rules and procedures. Even afer 66 years of Independence, in order to prove their identity, the citizens have to seek armation from a gazetted officer of the government. There is an urgent need to discontinue such practice and repose greater faith in citizens by accepting self-declarations as reliable and authentic documents. This will be a step forward in meeting the trust decit that annoyingly continues to exist between the citizens and the government.
Punjab has led the country in abolishing affidavits. How successful has this reform been?
the reform has had a huge success and is now being replicated by other states as well. Not only have we trained our own ofcials, but are providing guidance to several states on how to implement this. Citizens are the direct beneciaries- there is a saving in monetary terms for getting the a davits and the opportunity cost of loss of productivity and wages. The citizens have used the money and saved time for more productive ways, which has enhanced their welfare.
Even after 66 years of Independence, in order to prove their identity, the citizens have to seek affirmation from a gazetted officer of the government. There is an urgent need to discontinue such practice and repose greater faith in citizens by accepting self-declarations as reliable and authentic documents
How has this reform helped the students and the youngsters?
The requirement of attestation by a gazetted ocer from school students seeking admission in various colleges is to be discontinued and replaced with self-attestation. As per data, approximately eight lakh students appear in senior secondary from Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), CBSE and ICSE every year to get admission in colleges. For this, they are required to get their documents duly attested by a gazetted ocer. The requirement of giving certied copies of documents at the time of admission in colleges or submitting application for recruitment to various posts in the government has been dispensed with.
You have been instrumental in initiating police reforms in Punjab. What has been the aim of these reforms?
The focus of police reforms programme is three-fold institutionalisation of community- oriented reforms with major thrust on involvement of community, particularly to protect the rights of vulnerable sections, formulation of programmes and undertaking activities for improving the delivery of police services to the people. Also, multicultural thrust with an inclusive approach forms an integral part of its justice and policing programme with special focus on gender and scheduled castes rights.
What has been the biggest success story of police reforms in Punjab?
The Saanjh Kendras in Punjab is a model that has come as a breather to people in the State and is being emulated by other states as well. It is a classic example of how citizens’ life can be made easy and people’s involvement in settling grievances can go a long way. The Saanjh Kendras have become a hub for grievance redressal, including those against the police. It has redened the meaning of community involvement, besides providing services to people in a most friendly manner.