Altaf to hold Finance, Labour & Employment portfolios

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 3/14/2018 12:00:38 AM

Puts PAO system in abeyance till Mar 31

JAMMU, Mar 13: A day after Dr Haseeb Drabu was dropped for his controversial remarks on Kashmir from the Council of Ministers by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the latter announced to hold his portfolios herself, the Minister for Education Syed Mohammed Altaf Bukhari Tuesday was given the additional charge of Finance, Labour & Employment departments.
After assuming the additional charge, Altaf Bukhari in his maiden order as the Finance Minister put in abeyance the Pay and Accounts Office System (P&AOS) till March 31, 2018.
There is every possibility to extend this deadline further after its expiry as the Finance department order stated that system was “kept in abeyance till March 31, 2018 in the first place” and also talked of “review of preparedness of stakeholders.”
Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister issued an order in partial modification of her earlier order issued yesterday announcing to retain charge of Finance and other portfolios herself.
“In pursuance of Rule 5 of the Jammu and Kashmir Government Business Rules and as an interim measure, I, Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir, do here by assign the charge of the Departments of Finance, Labour &Employment to Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari in addition to the Government Business already assigned to him,” read the order issued by the Chief Minister.
The order issued was in partial modification of Order No: 427-GAD of 2018 dated: 12.03.2018 wherein the charge of the Finance, Labour & Employment departments was assigned to the Chief Minister.
Up till now, Altaf Bukhari was heading Education ministry, including School and Higher education departments. Bukhari headed R&B minister during the tenure of late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as the Chief Minister of present coalition government. When Mehbooba Mufti took over as the Chief Minister after the demise of her father in 2016, she had dropped Altaf Bukhari. However, in her first reshuffle effected last year, Altaf Bukhari staged a comeback and bagged Education Ministry.
An agriculture graduate, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari represents Amira Kadal, constituency of Srinagar, in the state legislative assembly.
Altaf Bukhari, after assuming the additional charge of the Finance ministry, ordered to put in abeyance the Pay and Accounts Office System (P&AOS) till March 31, 2018.
The order issued by the Finance Department states, “The implementation of Pay & Accounts Office System, rolled out vide Government Order No 43-F of 2018 dated 08-02-2018 is kept in abeyance till March 31st, 2018 in the first place.”
“The readiness of stakeholders as well as foolproof technical platform will be reviewed before the rollout of the system early next financial year,” the order stated further.
Reportedly, Altaf Bukhari issued orders of deferment of PAO system due to “technical difficulties and inconvenience to public.” According to the sources, various stakeholders had requested the new finance minister to review the government decision of implementation of the PAO system, as there were difficulties in switching over to the system. “The decision was also taken in view of Internet disruption in various parts of the state,” they said.
In the meanwhile, the speculations remained rife in the corridors of power that Drabu, following his unceremonious exit from the cabinet, may take a call to quit PDP to register his protest against harsh decision of the party president. Drabu, a celebrated economist, formally joined the PDP in 2014 and successfully contested the state elections on the party ticket from his home constituency Rajpora.
The names of several contenders, with the former Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig as the front-runner, also were doing rounds as the permanent replacement to Drabu in the cabinet reshuffle, necessitated by Drabu’s dropping.



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