Saturday, March 25, 2006

Service is his motto
Reeta Sharma

Krishan Kumar
Krishan Kumar

In a short span of 10 months, this IAS officer has streamlined and computerised the public utility services offered by the Nawanshahr administration.

WHEN an old farmer of Doharkhurd village in Narnaul district of Haryana was given the exciting news that his youngest son Krishan Kumar had made it to the IAS, he enthusiastically asked, "Will he now be bigger than the Patwari?"

Krishan Kumar, the present Deputy Commissioner of Nawanshahr district, was born in this farmerís family where his four sisters and a brother had not even seen a school. While one of his brothers studied to become a schoolteacher, Krishan Kumar too went to the village school from where he did matriculation. It was the visit of a Deputy Commissioner (DC) to his village in 1982 that motivated him to take the Civil Services Examination. After matriculation, Krishan Kumar was selected for a course in engineering from Murthal in Haryana.

After finishing the course, he appeared for the Indian Engineering Services Examination and passed out with flying colours. At that point of time he thought that he would have to abandon his dream of becoming an IAS officer because of the economic condition of his family. His immediate requirement was that of a job and he worked with BSNL for two and a half years. "But there again I saw many of my colleagues preparing for the civil services exam along with their jobs and this inspired me to take the exam as well," recalls Krishan Kumar.

This Haryanavi ladís determination paid off and he got into the IAS in the very first attempt and was part of the 1997 batch.

Krishan Kumarís joining the IAS was creditable but more praiseworthy has been his work after he joined the administrative service. In a short span, he proved to be a role model.

In less than one year of his posting as DC, Nawanshahar, he has implemented measures to use information technology to facilitate as well as monitor the delivery of services by the administration. At the Suvidha Centre opened in Nawanshahar, he has computerised each and every aspect of the functioning of administration. Whether it is information related to a birth or death certificate, driving licence, ration card or passport, all is now available at the Suvidha Centre at the click of a mouse. The software is being handled by privately hired experts.

While the district administration staff is being trained to operate computers, the hired staff is running the show at present. One does not have to visit the DCís office for any service. Thereís a toll-free number on which you can leave your demand and it will reach you through a courier service at a nominal payment.

There are 450 villages in Nawanshahr which fall in 18 circles. Krishan Kumar began yet another service called Lok Suvidha Camp. Every Saturday, one village is selected for holding this camp. Both the DC and the SDM are present at the camp. The announcement of the camp is done through gurdwaras and mandirs. The response at these camps has been overwhelming. The registration of marriages has also been started. Couples can now walk in and get their certificate within half an hour as one marriage officer is available all the time. In the absence of the marriage officer, the ADC or the DC is there so that nobody has to go back. The software has been developed in such a manner that the DC can intervene and monitor its functioning at any time.

There is a deadline for every work. From the entries in the computers, Krishan Kumar is able to keep track of the deadlines that have not been met. As a vigilant bureaucrat passionately involved in the running of the administration, there is nothing that can escape the eyes of Krishan Kumar. The accountability of his subordinates has been ensured in a manner that thereís no way they can stall any process.

He has also attempted to check foeticide in his district. The manner in which each pregnant woman in all the 450 villages is registered in the computers and followed on a regular basis with counselling and medical care, thereís no way that they can secretly get the girl child aborted. Similarly, all the hospitals are under strict supervision.

In addition, he has motivated and inspired college girls and an NGO, Upkar, to educate people to not indulge in foeticide. In case of any foeticide, members of Upkar and college girls have gone to those villages and have done syapa in front of that house. The result of this exercise has been overwhelming as more and more people are joining the volunteers.

Krishan Kumar has asked volunteers to immediately get in touch with him on his mobile if they suspect a pregnant woman is being forced to abort her girl child.

Krishan Kumar is an ideal example of how just one bureaucrat can make a tremendous difference in the lives of people and in society.