Assam's first tribal district with an ISO

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Diphu (Assam), April 8 : Karbi Anglong, an autonomous District of Assam has gained the distinction of being first District to have an International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certificate for good governance and welfare-oriented administration in the tribal belt of India.

The government officials as well as the people here have been at the receiving end of threats and attacks from many militant outfits for a long time. Braving all these odds, the District has emerged as a model of its kind.

With this endorsement, Karbi Anglong has become the fourth District in India that has the ISO 9001-2000 certification. The other three districts being Krishna in Andhra Pradesh, and Latur and Jalgaon in Maharashtra.

The office of the Deputy Commissioner that oversees the District Council affairs has received the certificate from Det Norkes Veritas (DNV), one of the leading global survey agencies, accredited to assess and certify management system including parameters of governance.

According to the District Commissioner, there is no surety about the timing of the militant groups calling a strike that has also posed a hindrance in the region and hampered commuters from far off areas to discharge official duties.

"We started this ISO programme, which is called a total quality management in district administration. It started for the first time in the entire North East and our Karbi Anglong District is the first government organisation under Assam government to merit this ISO certification. With this certificate people can feel that this is their office. We have improved the external ambience. We have increased their effective interface between citizens and our employees," said M. Angamuthu, Deputy Commissioner, Karbi Anglong District.

After the ISO certification, a commoner approaching any official in need or for any grievance can expect a prompt hearing and instant action.

The general public and staff members admire the encouraging environment with the renovated premises of the District Council office where every facility projects a people-friendly attitude.

Be it the Public Accessibility Cell with the 'May I help You' board, the licensing department or the video-conference hall and even the vehicles parking lot outside, every entity is people-friendly.

The granting of ISO certification is reckoned to be an ideal medium to encourage healthy management practices.

"We have laid down the processes and we have ensured and documented them, documentation being the major part of ISO for quality management system to ensure that even if the personnel, officers and staffs change, the system does not," said P. K. Gogoi, Sub-Divisional Officer at Diphu in Karbi Anglong.

"We have a documented system for every process starting from the issue of gas certificate to processing of license for various purposes of the entire treasury operations such as appointments, transfers, and postings," he added.

"Another thing is in ISO we have to ensure that there is a continuous search for further improvement for betterment. That is also one of the concerns that we are looking into and we are trying," he further added.

The staff members manning the various Departments under the District administration are proud of their association with an ISO certified organisation.

"We are glad that our District Commissoner, Dr. M. Angamuthu, has done a lot for the district like issuing this ISO certificate with regard to work. Though the responsibilities have increased but we are glad working in an organisation under ISO. And we could give all the service required to those who come to us," said a woman employee.

While the ISO certificate issued on January 23, 2008, is valid for three years, the people hope that the District officials will maintain the tempo for all times to come. By Peter Alex Todd

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