THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The setting up of three new Regional Deputy Directorate (RDD) offices of the Higher Secondary Directorate earlier this year was touted as a solution to end the bureaucratic delay plaguing the Directorate. However, the move seems to have failed to achieve the desired results.
Despite the government fixing time-frames for providing various services such as processing of Provident Fund (PF) loan applications and distribution of retirement benefits, most of these services take months on end, leaving aided school teachers at the mercy of red tape.
Information accessed by an aided school teacher from the Higher Secondary Directorate’s RDD office here through Right to Information (RTI) reveals that applications for PF advance take three to six months to be processed.
Ironically, the time-frame prescribed by the Directorate for this service is only 20 days.
Though the time-frame for processing applications for Non-Refundable Advance (NRA) is also 20 days, the RTI reply reveals that it takes as much as 10 months. The delay is more in the case of newly-setup RDD offices in Malappuram, Kottayam and Kannur.
“It is ironic that the Directorate, which is able to collect and tabulate exhaustive data on schools within a few days, takes months on end to process our applications. Most of the teachers apply for loans in cases of emergency. What is the use if the amount is disbursed after 10 months?” asked the teacher who filed the RTI query.
The RTI response from the RDD office also throws up interesting facts. The time taken to process over 262 applications had overshot the deadline by many months despite the applications having no technical errors at all.
However, the Higher Secondary Directorate says that the issues faced by aided school teachers would be sorted out once the services are offered online.
“We are in the final stages of developing a software called Gain-PF. With the introduction of the online system, we believe that the services can be rendered by the RDD offices within the specified time frame,” Higher Secondary Directorate Joint Director (Academic) P A Sajudeen said.