If a poor illiterate villager in Punjab thinks the deputy commissioner made life easy for him, the government’s state objective of meeting peoples’ aspirations could be considered to have been achieved to a great degree. When Krishan Kumar was deputy commissioner Nawanshahr, he did wonders.
Listen to what Sohan Singh of Pannu Majra village in the district has to say: “He put in place the public service delivery systems. People did not need to stand in long queues for hours to get their work done. Officials became punctual and we, for the first time, realised just how many powers a deputy commissioner has. He made spot visits at odd hours to check the negligence of consumer service providers.”
From a modest background in Haryana, there are innumerable tales of exemplary work done by daring Krishan Kumar since he was allotted IAS’s Punjab cadre in 1997.
While he set up benchmarks either as DC or as director general school education, Punjab, residents of Nawanshahr remember him gratefully for relieving them of their combined guilt of being castigated as ‘girl child killers’ when the gender ratio in Nawanshahr came down to 777 girls against 1000 boys in 2005.
With his innovative methods and aggressive attitude, he not merely contained the slide but also succeeded in reversing the trend by pushing the figure to 935 girls against 1000 boys in a matter of two years.
Krishan Kumar personally supervised the system of registering each pregnant woman in all 450 villages of the district and regularly followed their cases with counseling and matching medical care.
In doing so, he showed zero tolerance to female foeticide. To met his aims, Krishna Kumar roped in college girls and an NGO to spread awareness among the people. For instance, whenever an incident of foeticide came to light, the girls and NGO visited those villages and mourn publicly in front of the culprits’ homes.
By any reckoning, Krishan Kumar is a man for all seasons. Those who worked with him during his tenure as director general school education, Punjab, have fond memories. “He infused new energy into the decaying school education system. Teachers began to become punctual and students were provided diaries to keep a record of lessons taught to them. This system is still being followed in schools,’’ says Anil Jain, a commerce lecturer at Sangrur.
The percentage of students not attending schools came down drastically under his prestigious Padho Punjab Programme Project.
In 2007, there were over two lakh students in Punjab who did not attend school. This figure dropped to 65,000 with in a span of three years.
In February 2011, his differences with the state education minister on the transfer policy for teachers, led to his posting as director, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and special secretary, health.
No surprise then that at the moment, Krishan Kumar is working with the PMO at New Delhi. You cannot, they say, put a good man down. Krishan Kumar is a shining example of that.