The Stationery and Office Supplies Department, J&K was established in 1951 with the aim to procure highest quality stationery items at economical costs and supply the same among various departments of J&K state thereby contributing towards revenue generation from its normal operations as well as through tax. This Department supplied nearly all stationery items in addition to typewriters and also uniforms to be used by class IV employees and hospital staff, etc. Also this department fixes rate contract of waste paper, steel trunks and ink cartridges. This Dept. provides stationery to Govt. Departments at least at 30% lesser price than that of prevailing market rates of these items which can be easily verified from the rate list of this department. Even in the GeM (Govt. e-Marketing) prices are too much higher than the rates of this Department. The dealings of this department are through TR and budget transfer only and as such is extremely transparent. This Department has more than 130 employees and has a potential to become a vibrant and a model Department.
With the advent of technology and introduction of computers and printers, the typewriters became obsolete and various departments started purchasing these items on their own.
The paper and other stationery items used by Govt. Press Kashmir and Ranbir Govt. Press, Jammu were earlier purchased by the Central Purchase Committee headed by the Director of the Stationery and Office Supplies Department while the Govt. Press purchases on its own now, leading to higher rates of purchase as the benefit of bulk purchase is lost.
Various Govt. Departments like R&B, Social Welfare Department, SKIMS, University of Kashmir, to name a few, do not purchase their stationery through this department instead these departments purchase their Stationery from open market which leads to items being purchased at higher market rates and also leads to leakage of Govt. revenue.
Earlier the district level sub depots of Stationery Deptt. would also provide various forms printed by Govt. Press to general public like bill forms, contingent forms, TA Bill Forms, GP Fund Pass Books to name a few and also service books, peon books, receipt and dispatch registers etc against cash payments through proper Govt. receipts which was latter on stopped for reason unknown. Moreover, since the Govt. Press has its offices/outlets in Srinagar and Jammu only, while Stationery and Office Supplies Dept has its sub depots at district levels. This move has led to inconvenience to general public as people of far flung districts have to travel to Srinagar or Jammu to get the same from outlets of Govt. Press.
The Stationery and Office Supplies Department is a part of the trifurcated, Administrative Reforms and Trainings Department of J&K and upto this date all the sub depots of this department are yet to be computerized and all the communication and office work is being done manually.
It is my observation that the ambit of this department has been shrinking and is becoming less and less functional due to the apathy of those that matter. In a democratic society, periodic audit is always necessary to see whether we are progressing on the right lines or not. I am working in Stationery Department as a Deputy Superintendent and I may not be in a position to suggest reforms but I feel duty bound to put forward my views which should be taken into consideration in order to reform this department. All may not agree with me on this but then I would remind them of the saying, I do not agree with you but I shall protect your right to say so. In my opinion, few steps required to streamline the functioning of this department in order to make it vibrant and useful are:
- In addition to Stationery items, computers, printers and other related items should be provided to various departments through Stationery department there by adding to Govt. revenue through bulk purchase.
- The paper and other Stationery items used by the Govt. Presses should be procured and purchased through this department.
- The departments which do not purchase stationery from this department should be directed / encouraged to do so.
- The printed items of Govt. Press should be sold / supplied to general public through various district level sub depots of the Stationery department.
- All the sub depots should be computerized and all the inventory details should be made online so that Stationery is allocated to various departments online and the process becomes smooth, hassle free and more transparent.
If necessary steps are not taken in time, I have apprehensions that this department may eventually fail and what a shame it would be for Administrative Reforms and Trainings Department that they forgot to reform their own sub department and this will be a black spot on the Administration of Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover this department recently recruited six persons through JKSSB as Deputy Superintendents including myself and also another written exam for Deputy Superintendent Post was conducted by JKSSB recently for which the final selection list is yet to be declared. My simple question is, if the recruitments continue why shouldnt the reforms? Or are we recruiting youth into Govt. departments just for the sake of it and pushing them into an abyss of hopelessness without utilizing their vigor and talent.
I request all the concerned at the highest levels of the Govt. and Honble Governor to kindly take necessary action so that this dept. is saved before it is too late. In recent times we have seen many challenges and moments like yoga challenge, me too moment, etc. Let us start a new moment today right now to reform all the mal functioning departments of J&K, let us together take this as a challenge to reform the Stationery and Office Supplies Department and turn it into one of the vibrant and model departments to look upto.
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