The selection of Police Sub Inspectors in J&K Police Department has always been done by the police department in the past. It was for the first time that the J & K Government, headed by Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha, decided to conduct this exam through the J & K Services Selection Board (JKSSB). The aim of the LG administration was to make the selection process more transparent. Unfortunately this has backfired, as aspirants and youth are levelling serious allegations against the JKSSB for not making the entire selection process foolproof. For the last several days social media is abuzz with videos and posts by young men and women who allege that in almost two dozen cases many siblings have been selected, that too from a particular area of Jammu i.e Akhnoor.
Taking cognisance of these reports and alleged fraud selection process by JK SSB Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday ordered for a probe into the matter by one of the senior most bureaucrat. LG Sinha while addressing the probationer Dy SPs and Sub Inspectors of J&K Police at SK Police Academy Udhampur said : “For last two to three days, newspapers have been publishing reports regarding the recruitment of sub-inspectors in JK Police which has come under suspicion. We have taken cognisance of the matter and a committee headed by Additional Chief secretary Home department R K Goyal will probe it in a time-bound manner”.
This statement has given a great relief not only to those candidates who had appeared in the Sub Inspectors exam but to other youth of J&K as well who has become depressed after the Jammu & Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) the results were declared online on June 4 and aspirants had been alleging serious fraud in the selection process.
The Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) with an aim of conducting Police Sub-Inspector examination to fill around 1200 vacancies in J&K Police Department had issued a notification on 10th November 2021. The notification was kept available on the website of the Board (JKSSB). The application window closed on 10th December 2021. More than 1 lakh candidates had applied for the 1200 posts and around 97,000 candidates appeared for the exam on March 27th 2022 in 322 exam centres set up in 16 districts. The results were out on June 4th and aspirants started levelling serious allegations of fraud against the JKSSB as in almost two dozen cases siblings had been selected and got very good marks as well. In few cases even the three siblings had qualified the exam and most of these siblings hailed from Akhnoor area of Jammu. Pertinently this was the major recruitment taken up by J&K Govt after the abrogation of Article 370 which unfortunately has been marred by allegations of large scale corruption and fraud. There were even protests by youth and finally Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha ordered a probe into this recruitment process which is being hailed by people of Jammu & Kashmir especially the youth. The aggrieved youth and job aspirants allege brazen discrepancies and manipulation of the merit list released by the JKSSB.
JKSA demands CBI Probe
J&K Students Association (JKSA) had urged Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to order a CBI probe into this selection scam. In a statement, Association requested Lieutenant Governor to take serious cognisance of the issue, so that a major alleged scam is unearthed and those fraudulently figuring in the list of candidates who have qualified written examination are immediately removed from the said list.
“There are very serious allegations of blue eyed candidates making it to the top slot of merit list. This has led to serious frustration among those who burnt their mid night oil. The association appreciates the time bound intervention from Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha whose honesty and integrity is a blessing to job aspirants but, ordering a CBI probe will boost the morale of all those who firmly believe in the rule of law. Moreover, there is a unanimous call for the same from hardworking aspirants “, reads the statement. The J&K Students Association has further demanded that in case of any discrepancy, JKSSB should re-conduct the written exam and officials and aspirants involved (if any) should be thrown behind bars and strict action according to law should be ensured.
“The association hopes that Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor led administration will act tough on all blue eyed recruitments and ensure that its commitment of zero tolerance towards corruption, nepotism and favouritism in recruitment of public servants” the statement further reads.
SSB earns Rs 77 crores revenue
Last year the J&K Services Selection Board (JK SSB) in an RTI reply to me informed that more than seventy seven core rupees ( Rs 77 Crores) were collected from job aspirants between March 2016 to September 2020. Out of this amount Rs 5 crores were collected in 2016 , Rs 16.17 crores in 2017, Rs 27.77 crores in 2018 , Rs 6 crores in 2019.
In just nine months (January to September 2020 more than Rs 21.68 crore were collected as revenue by the Service Selection Board. From September 2020 to December 2021, SSB earned crores again from unemployed youth of Jammu & Kashmir. The application fee for a single post advertised by JK SSB in 2020 was 350 and for the recent Sub Inspectors Post was 550. Similarly, the J&K Public Service Commission charged huge application fees of Rs 500 for state civil service posts (KAS, KPS) Prosecuting Officer, Medical Officer, Lecturers, Assistant Professors etc. The unemployment is on rise and financial desperation in Jammu & Kashmir is making educated unemployed youth apply for every Government post available but the exorbitant price of the application fee is making them financially vulnerable and undefended.
Highest unemployment rate
Jammu & Kashmir has the worst unemployment rate in India when compared with other states and UTs. According to the report of Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) published in April this year the unemployment rate has crossed 25 % which is even higher than the national level unemployment rate of 7.6 percent recorded across India. The unemployment rates are produced by CMIE using its Consumer Pyramids Household Survey machinery. CMIE has pegged India’s unemployment rate at 7.6 percent which means J&K has a much higher unemployment rate than the national average. According to the CMIE data, the unemployment rate in J&K had jumped from over 13 % in August 2021 to 21.6 % in September and now it has crossed 25 % which is very much alarming. As per the official data, J&K is the only region in India which has over 20 percent unemployment rate. Other states, which follow J&K in terms of the highest unemployment, are Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Tripura where unemployment rate is above 15 percent.
The recruitments made in the last couple of years have been overall transparent. By bypassing the interview process and holding only written tests by J&K PSC or JKSSB is being appreciated. The selection process for 1000 Medical Officers last year by J&K PSC was also transparent as the job aspirants only had to go through a written test. In the past there have been a lot of allegations of corruption in selection of medical officers and other gazetted officers by PSC which has come down drastically but the way J&K SSB made selection of Police Sub Inspectors has again demoralized the youth. LG Manoj Sinha’s timely intervention has generated some hope among unemployed youth, let us hope the culprits are brought to book and probe conducted within a short period of time as assured by Hon’ble LG. The JKSSB needs to be made a more transparent and accountable institution.
Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat is an Acumen Fellow.
He is Founder & Chairman of Jammu & Kashmir RTI Movement
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.