Forgetting its objectives of helping the destitute and establishing institutions for Muslims, the functioning of J&K Wakf Board has boiled down to just giving salaries to its employees.
A cursory look at financial statement of the Board reveals that 60 percent of its annual earnings are eaten up by its fat salary bill, leaving peanuts for charity and development activities.
Of the Rs 19.40 crore revenue generated by the Board from different sources including donation (both cash and kind) during the last financial year (2014-15); Rs 11.70 crore were spent on salaries and honorarium of employees.
On the other hand, the institution- which should have served the needy ones including orphans and widows of Kashmir conflict- has spent meager Rs 33.16 lakh on charity.
The institution has often come in for severe public criticism for failing to undertake progressive initiatives for betterment and uplift of J&K Muslims.
While Wakf boards in other states and such institutions of other religions in the State have come up with universities, modern hospitals and even medical colleges, the Board – which has remained under political control since 1940 – has miserably failed to undertake similar initiatives. And the large workforce of the institution cannot escape the blame for ruining the institution.
A committee constituted by the government in 2012 had claimed that illiterate workforce was messing up the Board’s operation. The panel revealed that majority of employees working in the institution was either under-matric or illiterate.
Out of the total strength of 382 permanent employees, the report claimed, only 34 were graduates, 23 have studied up to 12th standard and 76 have passed 10th standard.
“The rest are either under-matric or illiterate,” the report disclosed.
According to the report, of the 196 employees working on consolidated basis, three are graduates, two are 10+2 and five are matriculates.
The probe panel observed that Wakf authorities were violating norms in hiring employees. For example, the panel had noted, while the basic qualification for certain posts was graduate, the Board was making appointments by promoting persons having 10+2 qualification.
Noted civil society member Syed ShakeelQalandar said the Board has not made much contribution for overall welfare and betterment of Muslims.
“The Board needs to make productive investments in health and skill development sectors,” he said.
Qalandar said the Board needs overhaul for streamlining its functioning. “There should be a public debate on the issue (revamping the institution),” he suggested.
He said the Board has been politicized over the decades and a large number of political workers have been recruited in the institution.
“The government should put an end to this practice (appointment of political workers) as it has taken a toll on its working,” he said.