New Recruitment Policy: Boon or bane?

By Hajira Bano Balkhang Leh, May 28, 2015
Leh :
In the subcontinent, the end result of education is not to reform individuals into thinking, rational beings but to prepare them to economically sustain themselves and their families. A rigorous journey through the tiring education system is necessary for people to find jobs and hence discover financial independence. Every year hundreds of students leave Ladakh to pursue their higher education with a hope that they will get the best of education possible. This is, of course, to achieve that final, ever elusive and yet desired goal of having a good job, thereby increasing their living standard. Or so the system tells us. 

Ladakh being true to its barren environs has witnessed a brain drain in the recent years, all thanks to the extremely low scope for any financially viable career opportunities here. After investing a fortune in their education, obtaining hard-earned degrees and sweating to become financially independent, they find their own land bereft of opportunities that would ensure a secure job. The result is very obvious; the youth leaves the land in search of better pastures, figuratively speaking. And they cannot be blamed; the salary structure, job security and a use of their education are very well ensured outside their own state. 

The death blow to the already ailing scenario was dealt by the new state government when it suddenly came up with the idea of a new recruitment policy.  The State Government announced that a new recruitment policy has been formulated to make appointment against gazetted and non-gazetted vacancies on a contractual basis. The policy states that the persons appointed on contractual basis under the new recruitment policy would be regularized after putting in 7 years of satisfactory service. An excerpt reads as follows:

Jammu and Kashmir Special Recruitment Ordinance-2015 was approved by the Cabinet which would now be submitted to the Governor for issuing the Ordinance.  The draft J&K Special Recruitment Ordinance, 2015, authorizes the Government to exempt certain posts or class of posts from the purview of the J&K Public service Commission and the Services Selection Board,  It empowers the Government to lay down a policy for making appointments against the notified posts on regular/contractual basis in the prescribed manner,  it empowers the Government to prescribe the mode of selection for such notified posts, it provides regularization of the persons, appointed on contractual basis on the completion of seven years of continuous contractual service, it lays down constitution of an ‘Empowered Committee’ in the Finance Department for considering the cases of contractual appointees’ eligible for regulation and for making recommendations in this regard.

The proposed legislation provides for repeal of the J&K Civil Services (Special Provisions) Act, 2010, with a saving provision in order to protect the regularization of ad-hoc, contractual, consolidated and temporary appointees who are eligible for such regularization under that Act. 

The proposed Ordinance provides that the posts which have already been referred to the designated recruiting agencies, viz. the J&K Public Service Commission and the Services Selection Board, shall, however, be filled up by the concerned recruiting agencies by following the existing procedure of making selections. 
The proposed legislation provides that some categories of posts which are to be filled up through the competitive examination like the J&K Civil Services (Judicial) and J&K Administrative Services, to be conducted by the J&K Public Service Commission, shall be exempted from the application of the proposed Ordinance. (Reference: Rising Kashmir, Greater Kashmir)

The move is apparently aimed at helping with cutting down on the time wasted on long drawn recruitments and the red tapism that is involved. It is as the government states a move to fill in nearly 80,000 vacant posts in the state without delay, the priority being critical posts such as those related to medical and education fields. The policy on the face of it might seem rational but substantially increases the fears of nepotism and corruption as it does away with old requirements of recruitment and introduces newer ones. In a hurry to fill posts the essential criteria might very well be overlooked and those with contacts and money might just make it, given the fact that the government will be in a top gear to anyhow fill up the posts. 

The policy is not going to affect the normal recruitment through state PSC and SSB etc and will not abolish but only augment the normal selection process. Normal PSC recruitment is always a long drawn process and results in litigation and court cases. Maybe this new policy would help speed up filling the vacant posts in various government departments. 

However that said, coming back to Ladakh, this policy along with the new order from the department of education that announces the mass transfer of non-locals to fill up vacant teaching posts at various levels in the education sector, is as good as laying a red carpet out of Ladakh for its natives. Ladakhis are completely dependent on government jobs due to lack of private sectors, which is enforced by the social pressure of absolutely having a government job. Furthermore it also states that the recruitment is contractual for seven long years which means that an individual will have to invest 7 years of his/her life to convince the government that s/he has contributed and well if the government, or for the sake of speaking the truth, the official or even the clerk feels that s/he has not or they have someone else in mind, their services can be terminated. And that is just not all, for gazetted or non-gazetted, both will work on a ‘stipend’ that will be half of the salary only. In times of inflation and scarce opportunities, you might as well suggest youth to commit suicide for it does not think of anything but increasing the speed of the slow moving recruitment vehicle.   
To end it with a dash of optimism, if the government does succeed in implementing the policy and it might very well succeed, and then maybe, just maybe Ladakhi youth might be forced to think of entrepreneurial initiatives and self starter projects as a way of living. There’s no doubt that this involves risk taking, huge investments of time and money and an iron will but it definitely ensures dignity, a dignity well earned as opposed to contractual sheep bleating out the best seven  years of their lives in some dingy government office. And to make it all the more beautiful, the barren land might see the bloom of youth along with prosperity and happiness.