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Timely completion of projects a challenge: Alok Kumar


GUWAHATI, Aug 29 - The Chief Secretary designate, Alok Kumar has assured that he would try to motivate all the officers and employees to improve work culture in the administration. He also admitted that proper and timely implementation of all the schemes launched by the Central and State Governments would be a major challenge for the government machinery in the days to come.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Kumar, a 1984 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, who will take over as the Chief Secretary of Assam on August 31 from TY Das, said that his priority would be to create an environment where all the officers and employees feel at home to give their best. He pointed out that the Government has already outlined its priorities and it is the job of the officers and employees to follow the directions given by the political leadership. He said that the Government has announced its commitment to provide a corruption free, pollution free and foreigner free State to the people and it is up to the officers and employees to live up to the expectations of the people.

Kumar pointed out that motivation and efficiency of any officer or employee go hand in hand and asserted that he would try to make everyone feel important so that every officer and employee can come forward with their views on any issue. He said that placing right persons at the right place is also vital for improving performance of the Government. �Sometimes an officer or an employee may fail to deliver after trying hard. If someone fails, he or she can learn from the mistake to improve performance. But not trying is a crime,� he added. He also stressed the need for introducing a system of reward and punishment to improve performance of all the employees and officers of the Government. He further said that everyone should be made accountable and �we must all work as a team as teamwork is vital to improve performance.�

Replying to a question whether working in the Home Department for a long period would help him in discharging his responsibilities as the Chief Secretary, Kumar admitted that law and order is a crucial aspect of development and the experience of Home Department would be helpful for him. But at the same time, he said that as the Chief Secretary, he would have to take a wide view of all aspects of administration.

On the biggest challenges ahead, Kumar pointed out that proper and timely implementation of the schemes announced by the State and Central Governments would be a challenge. He said that when he had worked as a junior officer at the field level, there were only a few schemes to be implemented, but the situation has completely changed as the officers on the ground have to implement a large number of Central and State Government schemes. Citing a few examples, he said that for past 15 years, around 17000 kilometres of roads were constructed in the State under the PMGSY scheme. But now the target has been fixed to construct 10,000 kilometres in less than three years, which posed a major challenge for the officers and the PWD does not enough technical manpower to carry out such a major project. Recruitment process also takes time and the PWD had to appoint persons on contract basis to start off the project. Similarly, the schemes to expedite rural electrification process also led to shortage of manpower.

When asked whether there is shortage of manpower in the Government, the Chief Secretary designate said that there is no shortage of manpower for secretarial jobs. But the State is facing shortage of professional manpower like doctors, engineers, trained teachers etc and such vacancies cannot be filled up overnight.

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