The Jhang model
Saturday, November 01, 2008
The extraordinary feats achieved by a mid-level government official, who served for some years as the DCO Jhang, have not received sufficient notice. The innovative bureaucrat, who has now rather tragically quit government service for personal reasons, had devised a system using which he was, to a very great extent, able to eliminate corruption in his district. Through a painstaking system of record keeping and the daily submission of details regarding property sales or purchase, he had been able to cut corruption in the Revenue Department, a virtual hot-bed of vice. The same initiatives had been extended to hospitals and other spheres. Citizens in one of the most backward districts of Punjab are vocal in the praise of the positive impact made by these measures.
Some DCOs are believed to have attempted similar exercises in their own areas, with varying degree of success. But the Jhang model has not been enforced on a larger scale. Following a report in this publication, the Punjab chief minister had ordered the former DCO’s methods to be adopted throughout the province, but this has not happened. We must hope the CM will look into the reasons for this failing. The fact that so much was achieved to tackle malpractice by one man working alone proves to all of us that it is indeed possible to tackle corruption. What is needed is dedication and honest resolve. Sadly, this is too often lacking in our system of governance. Somehow or the other, more effort needs to be made to build a similar spirit so that more districts can walk down the path chalked out so meticulously in Jhang. (The News)
Punjab to emulate Jhang model
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
ISLAMABAD: Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday ordered immediate implementation of the incredible ‘Jhang model’ administration in all the districts of the province to reduce corruption and improve service delivery, through citizens’ feedback, in the otherwise inefficient and corrupt departments of revenue, police, health and others.
Shahbaz Sharif, taking notice of last week’s report in The News on the wonders of DCO Jhang Zubair K Bhatti, issued these orders following a presentation given to him by the talented officer, who interestingly has forwarded his resignation from the government service citing personal reasons.
Sources close to the officer, however, say that inadequate compensation package is the reason for the officer’s decision to quit the government job and join the private sector.
Sources said that Shahbaz Sharif, who is an exception amongst the country’s top politicians for his faith in good governance and the rule of law, tried to persuade the officer to review his decision to leave the government job and also offered him special pay package but Bhatti said that he had given his word to a private organisation that he would be joining soon.
This mid-career bureaucrat has done wonders in a Punjab district by remarkably reducing corruption in the otherwise most corrupt revenue department’s registry offices, amongst the Patwaris, in the government hospitals etc., by simply asking the concerned officials to submit daily the list of all property transactions registered with mobile numbers of both sellers and buyers, the total amount of taxes due and other basic details of transactions.
Similar orders were given to Patwaris in cases where fard were given. The clerks of the revenue department were told that the officer would personally call all these citizens on their mobile phone to find out if they were asked to pay any bribe or commission above and beyond the taxes due, if any. He did the same and within a few weeks’ time, things changed miraculously as far as getting of a fard or intiqal done and the registration of property was concerned.
Bhatti talks to different buyers of the property or those getting fard or intiqal in the district or those treated/ operated in the government hospital or those getting domicile/ birth/death certificates etc on their mobile numbers to know if they had paid only the taxes due or were also forced to grease the right palms. He also presented to the chief minister voluminous record of different district departments along with the mobile numbers of citizens who had interacted with any official agency, with an offer to contact the ordinary souls on any of the given mobile numbers to see a change in service delivery in the Jhang district.
The threat of personal and intimate feedback communicated directly to the DCO and the possibility of anti-corruption action had a massively deterrent effect, the DCO said, adding that when he made calls and asked about the quality of service, he generally found out that petty hassles had mostly been eliminated.
The chief minister in his order said that not only the Zubair Bhatti model would be implemented in all the districts of the province but would also be expanded. The officer, in his presentation, had proposed the following steps to be taken to scale up and institutionalize this feedback to tackle petty corruption.
1. Identification of interactions: All interactions at field level by various departments need to be identified that could be amenable to such feedback.
2. The following are some possibilities. Departments should be asked to come up with such interactions with officials.
i. Getting a domicile
ii. Getting arms licence
iii. Getting NOC for petrol pumps
i. Registering an FIR
ii. Follow-up on investigation and submission of challans
iii. Getting a driving licence
iv. Getting NOC for various security purposes
v. Payment of tickets for traffic fines
i. Getting a medico-legal certificate
ii. Getting an operation done in DHQ, THQ and most importantly an RHC: Have doctors charged for services? Have they promoted their private practice?
iii. Charge of purchee fee: Have excess funds been charged?
iv. All recruitments: Have any funds, small or large, changed hands
i. Both parties to a revenue case: Has the reader been charging? Is the copying clerk doing his work properly? Has the presiding officer been directly getting the money? Has the lawyer spoken to the plaintiff or the defendant that the presiding officer has to be paid?
ii. Getting a fard
iii. Getting an intiqal done
iv. Registering a property
Live Stock Department
i. Has the doctor or the dispenser charged extra for the service or the medicines?
Excise and Taxation Department
i. Registration of vehicles
ii. Assessment and payment of property taxes
i. All transfers and postings
ii. All recruitments
i. Registering births, deaths, and nikah.
He also suggested development of reporting formats for each interaction: for example, the reporting format for registration of property should include name, date, property, estimated value, total taxes needed to be paid, the name and cell number of buyer (or any immediate relative who conducted the process of registration); for medico-legal cases, the name of the person, NIC, cell number of the person or a near relative involved in the process of getting a medico-legal done, nature of injury, police station, medical establishment (RHC, THQ, or DHQ) be recorded.
The presentation also sought entry of data submitted everyday in a database, preparation of relevant monitoring reports, monitoring at provincial level, taking action against corrupt elements with clear identification of corruption and corrupt persons.
To begin with, officials of lower grade and officers of grade-17 or 16 responsible for field formations should be the main target of such disciplinary actions. Performance of DCOs and EDOs would also be monitored with reference to reduction in incidents of corruption in their areas of jurisdiction.