YOUTH CONNECT: Need for streamlining recruitment process in Jammu & Kashmir

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JAMMU :The lack of transparency,scams in recruitments and mismanagement that surfaced recently make it inevitable for the Government of Jammu & Kashmir to order an enquiry into all the selection processes for recruitment conducted by the Government 2014
onwards wherever there are allegations of bungling. This is the opinion of the sane citizenry after the surfacing of the so called recruitment scams recently.While detailed investigation
should be carried out in all such cases, at the same time various measures to plug loopholes in the recruitment process to ensure transparency in the whole process need to be initiated forthwith. The exams wherever possible, must be conducted online as there are less chances of cheating in such exams.Further, Exams must be conducted under proper surveillance digitally as well as by strict human vigilance.Proper track record of the agencies to be engaged for the conduct of exams may be checked by a panel of senior officers.
It will be pragmatic to conduct the exams for the post of JKP-SI and other similar graduate level exams in online mode i.e. Computer Based Test (CBT) mode. The pattern
of such exams should be the same as the pattern successfully followed by the Staff Selection
Commission (SSC) of India for all graduate level exams. The exam should be divided into four sections of equal weightage. These include:
Section 1: General Awareness,
Section 2: Logical reasoning,
Section 3: Quantitative Aptitude
and Section 4: English
Comprehension. S K Sharma said such a pattern and conducting in online mode will help with fast and secure recruitment.The vision which was projected for Fast Track recruitment got derailed because of an unfair selection process. Immediate conduct
of exams may be ordered so that sufferings of the youth may take a respite. The early conduct of exams will have some check on the rising unemployment rate in the UT.
The unrest in youth of UT of J&K is at optimum level and asper a report of CMIE, unemployment rate in UT of J&K is 25 percent against 8 percent of national level and having the second highest unemployment rate in the country.On 20th August, 2022, Centre announced in Lok Sabha that50,000 vacancies will be filled in the UT and Rs.2000 crore was ear marked for the same. Recently, the Jammu & Kashmir Service Selection Board (JKSSB) was under attack for alleged recruitment malpractices in all exams.
Abhinav Sharma, Senior Advocate and spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party, in an interview with the media also admitted that more than 50 percent of recruitments were scandalous in the past. It is pertinent to mention here that there is whispering
in the society that all exams conducted by JKSSB are undershadow of suspicion particularly from 2014.Following is the list of certain exams where bungling has
taken place:Recruitment in Fire and Emergency Services In this case, the process of selection was started in 2013, but till date it has not been completed because of the bungling in its selection of employees. 870 posts were advertised in 2013, out
of which 598 were for firemen and 98 for drivers. Approximately 60,000 aspirants applied against the posts after which a physical standard test was held followed by a written exam. The recruitment board of F and ES dept. and 14,000 aspirants were shortlisted
but interviews for the final selection could not be conducted in 2014, because of flood tragedy in J&K.In 2017, the then Chief minister on the basis of a report by
Director General F and ES cancelled the recruitment. As somebungling in the recruitment was suspected, many candidates approached the Court which directed the Govt. to hold the
recruitment process afresh. Government ordered to hold this recruitment under transparent manner and a Hyderabad based company namely Timing Technology India ltd was hired for this.7000 candidates after the physical exam appeared in the written
test which was conducted in 2018. Again, serious allegations of mass copying, unfair means and irregularities were labeled,but the Government took no action. Court directed the Govt. to frame an enquiry panel which submitted its report to Government
Following which the exams conducted for the second time were cancelled again and recruitment agency hired was blacklisted.In 2020, Government hired another agency LMES, and before the conduct of exam in September 2020, the paper was allegedly
leaked a day earlier and sold openly in the market for lakhs of rupees. The selection list was issued on 3rd of Oct, 2020 and appointments were made within three days and in a hurry without police verification. It has been alleged that four members of a
single family were selected including other examples also.JKPSI (Sub Inspector) Exam and Financial Account Assistant Exam (JK Civil) in March 22
All these exams were conducted by a company named ‘MERITRAC’ which is blacklisted by ONGC, PGI, Mumbai University and those institutions have already cancelled their contacts with this company prior to 2019.
It is very strange to note that this company was engaged afew days prior to the exams without verifying its antecedents and despite the fact that lowest tender was floated by NB-Infosys pvt ltd.
Allegations were leveled against the fair selection in all the above exams and based on the authentic evidence; the LG of UT ordered an enquiry to be conducted by a panel of senior IAS officers.The committee had submitted its report on the case of JKP SI exam and based on that the Government ordered to scrap the selection list and requested a CBI enquiry to investigate the case. In the rest of the exams, the committee has yet to submit its report.
Even Varun Gandhi, MP, in his article in Indian Express has
mentioned that Rs. 77 crores were collected by JKSSB from the students for the above noted exams and expressed concern over the recruitment system in the country which is causing mis trust and disappointment amongst the aspirants.Having narrated the above facts and circumstances which are prevailing in J&K and in view of the unrest amongst the youth regarding unemployment and unfair selection processes, the undercurrent indicates restlessness among youth which is not a healthy sign. Needless to add here, that most of the youth aspirefor the Govt. jobs as there are no industrial houses to absorb the unemployed youth in J&K.(The writer is a Retd Senior IRS Officer)