R.K. Radhakrishnan

CHENNAI: Ever had to trace out a government order to support your claim? Or, worse, an amendment to an order?

"The collective memory of the Secretariat is so short that it is impossible to trace any amendment to an act, rule or an order," says an official. "Only the head of department and the Collector will have a copy each. More often than not, a file or proposal is held up or sent back to a district just so that a copy of the relevant order is enclosed. This has severely affected the efficiency of all departments."

When Rural Development Department officials brought the issue to the notice of Local Administration Minister M.K. Stalin, he suggested that the department set an example by compiling all acts, rules and orders and also amendments to these.

"The Minister told us on New Year's day. We completed the job in two months," informs the official.

The result is a compendium of amendments to acts and rules and government orders for 2006.

A copy of the compendium was given to all district panchayat heads and also panchayat union chairmen who were in Chennai to attend a function last week. The department is sending a copy to all village panchayat presidents, as also district officials and other departments and organisations involved in rural development.

This is not the end. The department has taken up the work on the orders and amendments for 2005 too.