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16 November 2011

Orientation Course in Record Management starts at Bhopal NAI

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‘Proper records management is documentary heritage’

By Our Special Correspondent

Bhopal: The 102nd five-day Orientation Course in Records Management for Departmental Record Officers (DROs) was inaugurated here at the Regional Office of the National Archives of India (NAI) on Monday (November 14, 2011).

Senior journalist Syed Pervez Bari, who was the chief guest at the inaugural function, presented a paper on Record Management and discussed at length the importance of records, their preservation, documentation and various techniques of preservation.

Orientation Course Coordinator & Assistant Director Mrs. P. Sinha from the NAI Headquarters in New Delhi, Assistant Director Syed Fareed Ahmad also from the NAI Headquarters, Office in-charge of the Regional Office of NAI at Bhopal Archivist V. K. Juneja and Archivist Mr. Muzaffar-e-Islam were present at the inaugural function amongst others.

More than one-and-a-half dozen delegates from the Central Government departments and Public Sector Undertakings from all over India are attending the Orientation course. This Orientation Course is organized every year by the National Archives of India, New Delhi at Delhi Office and its other Regional Centres for DROs of different Ministries / Departments. Senior faculties from NAI, New Delhi, which included Syed Fareed Ahmad, Mrs. P. Sinha, Microphotograph expert A. K. Jain and Assistant Director Ram Swaroop, arrived in Bhopal to deliver lectures on different aspects of Record Management.

Presenting paper on Record Management Pervez Bari said that National Archives of India is playing a major and vital role in preserving the records created over centuries, decades and years gone by for posterity. It helps the new upcoming generation to sift through the archival records of the gone by eras to learn and be cautious of the pitfalls encountered by their forefathers, he added.

Pervez Bari
Mr. Bari emphasised that the creation of correct statistics, information, documentation and their proper maintenance all go a long way on formulation of good policies and planning. The implementation of these policies then in turn becomes torch-bearer of good governance. He said incorrect and inaccurate records and information have led to policy failures and heavy financial losses to the government’s exchequer.

He said records are government’s memory and their proper management is documentary heritage to increase their longevity for posterity. He said records are integral part of any organization. They are the wheels of administration and proper records management ensures an efficient administration. Records management establishes standards of good management in respect of creation, control, preservation and disposition of records, he added.

Like human memory records are the memory of governments without which no administration can be run and as such it is but natural that the DROs should understand the importance of their record holdings, which can help resolve many issues pending settlement or likely to arise in future, he opined.

He lamented that the state governments’ departments lack seriousness in maintaining records systematically. On the contrary the Central Government’s Departments seriously maintain records systematically.

Mr. Bari advised the officials of various departments attending the orientation course to bring in writing any verbal orders of their superiors so that posterity may not be devoid of it. He moaned that in the present mobile phone age many orders and instructions are passed on phones by officers to their subordinates which if not recorded then much harm would be caused to the future generations as they would not know how to go about in some particular situations. If past records are available then it would guide them accordingly.

Speaking on the occasion, Fareed Ahmad said the fundamental purpose of imparting this training in Orientation Course in Record Management for the DROs is basically to highlight not only its importance and utility but also to illustrate and imbibe this spirit of a true archivist or DRO through a series of lectures on various aspects of the Record Management by the learned speakers and faculty members who are well versed in this field in order to clarify its intricacies.

He said Records Management is often seen as an unnecessary or low priority administrative task that can be performed at the lowest levels within an organization. Publicised events have demonstrated that records management is in fact the responsibility of all individuals within an organization and the corporate entity.

Fareed Ahmad
Mr. Fareed moaned that it is observed that the importance of Record Management is not taken seriously by the DROs as a result of which records are not properly maintained. This is because there is no punitive clause in the Public Records Act, 1993 & the Public Records Rules, 1997. Based on the experience gained in the last decade on the working of the Public Records Act, 1993 & the Public Records Rules, 1997 and to make these legislations more effective, more particularly in the post RTI era, the Central Government has decided to take a fresh look and have constituted a Panel in February, 2009 to review and amend the Public Records Act & Rules. There is a move to add punitive clause in the rules to instill fear in the erring DROs, he informed.

Earlier, V. K. Juneja while welcoming the guests and delegates threw light on the aims and objects of the Orientation Course. Archivist Mr. Muzaffar-e-Islam proposed a vote of thanks and conducted the proceedings with aplomb.

The DROs attending the Orientation Course are from Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau of Union Home Ministry (Bhopal); Office of Director of Commercial Audit (BHEL, Bhopal); Directorate of Census Operations (Mumbai, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar & M.P.); Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Directorate of Field Publicity, Regional Office (Bhopal); National Water Development Agency, Ministry of Water Resources (Bhopal); Directorate General of Mines Safety, Ministry of Labour & Employment (Dhanbad); Goa Shipyard Ltd., Ministry of Defence, Vasco-Da-Gama (Goa); Office of the Director of Accounts (Posta, Bhopal); Ministry of Environment & Forests (Bhopal); Archaeological Survey of India, Bhopal Circle; Narmada Control Authority, Ministry of Watr Resources (Indore); Food Corporation of India (Satna & Gwalior); Coach Rehabilitation Workshop, Nishatpura (Bhopal) etc.

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