JKPSC promoting unemployment in Jammu region

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[ September 01, 2017 ] Discrimination in selections by JKPSC is wide open as with proofs it has been established that Jammu based candidates have been consistently ignored to give undue edge to their Kashmir counterparts. Resentment has been shown by students and Jammu based politicians like but no action was taken and it continued list after list released by Commission shattering the faith of Jammu region aspirants to serve Govt despite having requisite qualifications at par with their counterparts in Kashmir. Making fun of its name that is J&K Public Service Commission which stands for ensuring proper service to thousands of aspirants who anxiously wait for the release of advertisements for various posts with a hope of engagement has failed to come up to the expectations of people. J&K Public Service Commission (PSC) has been in news again for its alleged favoritism and lack of transparency. Mainstream media as well as social media has been criticizing the commission for its wrongdoings. While the unemployment graph in Jammu and Kashmir continues to swell, the state government’s re-employment policy for ‘favourite’ civil servants is furthering joblessness in the state. This is, interestingly, notwithstanding a clear-cut cabinet order of 2007 which says that “re-employment of a retired government servant shall be for a maximum of one year”—something invisible on ground. Later new Govt under late Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed issued an order vide No 384-GAD of 2015 dated 17-03-2015 revoked all the reemployment orders issued by various Govt departments, PSUs, Boards, Autonomous Bodies. Despite this from high-ranking bureaucrats to lower rung employees, the Jammu and Kashmir Government hasn’t shunted the practice of picking up its “favourite and influential” officials for re-engagement, extensions or re-employment. The phenomenon, which has drawn severe flak from civil society and political circles, is widespread in different departments and government-constituted commissions and other statutory bodies. Sources identified the reemployed officials as Hakim Gulam Jeelani, Mushtaq Ahmad, They were re-engaged soon after new PSC chairman Aslam Salam Deva and members took oath of office on July 28 last as special consultants. Mushtaq had joined PSC as a junior assistant and retired in April 2012 as under-secretary. While Hakim retired as secretary from SSB about 5 years back, Chuni Lal retired in March 2014 and Sodhi in October 2012 as private secretary to PSC member MH Samoon. Since their superannuation, all of them were being re-employed by PSC after every six months. After six months of job, they are given a day’s break and then re-employed for another six months. “This has been continuing since their retirement,” sources alleged. They are still continuing their services despite clear cut directions from the Govt to revoke such services with immediate effect. This issue of re-employment has also been raised by some ex-PSC members from time to time. As per rules and regulations such engagements and appointments, even temporary appointments can’t be done without the approval of the governor of the state. These appointments are in violation of Regulation 12 of J&K PSC (conditions of service) regulations, 1957”. Sources, however, alleged that some of the re-engaged retired officials who had retired from the same department were reengaged again were being paid emoluments from the revolving fund generated from the sale of forms. Hakeem Ghulam Jeelani, Ex secretary SSRB drawing monthly emolument Rs 54349, Mustaq Ahmad Bhat, Ex under secretary PSC Rs 42339, After their reengagement, they are also drawing their pension from Govt treasury respectively. Except Geelani who has completed near about 10 years after his reengagement in PSC, the other three have completed five, four and three years respectively besides utilizing all the facilities which PSC provides to its employees be it accommodation and high profile management of their visits mostly using air service for their visits. However under pressure after great resentment shown by Jammu region candidates over discrimination in selection, both Hakim Gulam Jeelani and Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat were not given extension after 2-2-2017.In 2007, the GAD had issued an order with regard to the policy of extensions and reemployment of officers. The order No. 376-GAD of 2007 read that reemployment of a retired government servant shall be for a maximum of one year. Since then, a number of verbal assurances were also made with regard to discouraging the trend of granting reemployment to retired officials. But the government order and the reassurances have fallen flat on ground. Senior government officials admit that no fixed criteria, based on merit and contribution to state, is followed for re-engaging people. “In the name of extension in services/re-employment future prospects of in-service officials are being hampered and job opportunities for the unemployed youth blocked,” says a senior government officer, wishing anonymity. “The 2007 cabinet order has been very brazenly flouted. On the one hand, government is crying hoarse over unemployment, but on the other, officials are reemployed every now and then.”Officials say the trend to reemploy officials leads to corruption. “There is a clout that these officials happen to have formed around their offices. This is, in one way or the other, leading to instances of corruption and favouritism, which needs to be discouraged for better governance,” said the official. “The Government must give chance to new officials to assume key positions which have been occupied by retired officers. That is the way to remove deadwood and rejuvenate administration.”Officials said the retired officials are seldom held accountable. “They don’t have anything at stake. They resort to wrongdoings and get away with them which is not the case with in-service officials who can be suspended, terminated for any irregularities. Their promotions can also get hampered,” the official said. In recent years corruption and malpractices in job recruitment exams conducted by State Public Service Commissions are on the rise. A great responsibility lies on the Head of the Department and Public Undertaking for checking bribery and corruption in their respective organizations. Corruption is an all pervasive phenomenon, which knows no boundaries and barriers. There is a deluge of complaints being received by the Govt. and the State Vigilance Organization, alleging omission and commission by Govt. officers. In a number of complaints, allegations are mainly about violation of codal formalities in the award of contracts in Govt. works, purchases, appointments, promotions and transfer, denial of services by the Govt. Departments etc. As per the information supplied by JKPSC, an amount of Rs Rs 325785352 has been generated from all types of forms by the PSC from 01-04-2009 to 31-07-2016 without any audit of amount whether spent on priority sector or spent on the sweet wish of concerned. Chairman of J&K Public Service Commission (JKPCS) has to probe into this issue so that black-sheep and touts within the PSC are identified, exposed and prosecuted.PSC has a total of 108 sanctioned posts, including chairman and eight members, one secretary, one additional secretary, one chief accounts officer/FA, four deputy secretaries, one senior law officer, six under secreraries, one computer programmer, six private secretaries, four section officers, one assistant accounts officer, two PAs, one assistant director (planning) and one accounts assistant. Moreover JKPSC also regularized the services of Shahid Farooq Khan as Computer Operator and Sajad Ahmad Shalla vide Order No. 45-PSC of 2016 dated 8-3-2016 when the requisite time period of 7 years as adhoc/consolidated employees of Commission was not completed. Similarly Vijay Kumar and Syed Fida Hussain Shah vide Item No. 5.10 were also regularized without following the required parameters for regularization of services. However with regard to providing relaxation in age bar/qualification of candidates , JKPSC is not competent and the same can be done after due approval of cabinet to GAD but in this case JKPSC did this at its own which was serious violation of set norms. At the same time vide J&K Civil Services Special Provisions Act 2010; there is provision to regularize the services of candidates only after the completion of 7 years of services as adhoc/consolidated employees. It is surprising under what powers JKPSC ignored the Act constituted by Govt and provided regularization and relaxation in age bar/ qualification which were behind their jurisdiction. Besides there was Five members Empowered Committee in place to take care of all the issues regarding the regularization of candidates having done 7 years of satisfactorily services but JKPSC did not refer the cases before Empowered Committee and went ahead with its decision. More so, with this Act coming into force it was strictly conveyed to all the departments not to undertake services of any casual/consolidated workers what to speak of regularization. This particular instruction was also ignored by JKPSC. It is irony of the fact that when Govt has already made it clear that under matric can’t apply for even post of class 1Vth, then under what rule JKPSC regularized services of Chowkidar when he was under matric. This and many other like question keep rounding about in the minds of thousands of aspiring candidates why JKPSC moving other way and why it is not following rules and why Govt allowing it to work the way it is working now creating resentments among candidates of both the reason. Moreover it also needs to be investigated the previous working of Shakeel Ul Rehman then Secretary JKPSC who was recently transferred after several complaints were received against him as there is every likelihood that he must have done some serious blunders before his transfer on complaint basis.