Ministries destroy old files, keep no record!

The directions of prime minister Narendra Modi to ‘weed out’ old files to keep work places and government departments clean have run into rough weather. The ministries, including ministry of human resource development, have completed the sprucing up of the offices ‘ignoring’ the directives issued from the cabinet secretary Ajit Seth through an official circular dated 5 June.

According to the note, files, papers were to be weeded out within three to four weeks ‘in accordance with the rules’ regarding record keeping etc.

However, a bizarre situation arose due to the urgency created by senior officers in each of these ministries and departments. Thousands of files have been destroyed without following the ‘due procedures’ as stipulated in the Rule Book.

The official note dated 17 June circulated on behalf of HRD joint secretary (administration) Veena Ish states that the process of sprucing up of offices had started from 6 June. The note reads a training programme on how to weed out old records was also conducted from 13 June to 16 June.

‘When the files were already destroyed under pressure, what was the purpose of holding a training session for MHRD officers at section officer, under secretary, deputy secretary and director level on the matter,’ said the officials, who had attended the training session.

‘It’s not the case of only MHRD, all departments including revenue generating ministries such as coal, petroleum, finance have destroyed ‘old records’ without forming any committee,’ a ministry source said. ‘Accountability needs to be fixed for such a serious lapse in losing important files and valuable articles,’ the HRD sources said.

However, the official concerned, joint secretary (admin), could not be contacted even after several attempts. The MHRD had imparted training to their officers in record management by taking the help of the ministry of culture. The School of Archives under the culture ministry had convened a brief session for MHRD officers.
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