No compromise on merit, transparency: JKSSB Chairman

‘Exams from March 16, candidates shouldn’t pay heed to rumour-mongers’
No compromise on merit, transparency: JKSSB Chairman
GK Photo

Jammu, Mar 10: Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) chairman Rajesh Sharma Friday asserted that the Board would not be cowed by “slanderous campaign by ulterior motives against it” and would conduct all lined-up exams, including those scheduled on March 16.

He, however, cautioned the “genuine candidates against paying heed to rumour-mongers.”

While addressing a hurriedly convened presser here, Sharma said that in the backdrop of “ongoing motivated protests” against the Board examination process, there was some confusion in the minds of genuine candidates.

 “Respecting our youth’s ability and respecting merit, the Board is fully aware of concerns of hard-working, genuine candidates. This is my assurance to them that there will be no compromise on transparency and merit and the exams will be conducted in a fair, transparent and secure manner, maintaining the sanctity of the process,” he said.

“This is my responsibility to allay the apprehensions among aspirants and counter misconceptions being created through vicious propaganda regarding JKSSB and the procedure of conducting the exams by it (SSB)- by a section of society - I would not call them as candidates. I have seen several attempts in the last few days to malign this process by spreading falsehood and paddling fabricated lies. There is not a grain of truth in the wild allegations. They are baseless allegations being levelled as a part of campaign by those with ulterior motives.  I want to make it clear that reprocessed lies by forces increasingly desperate to bring back the opaque and corrupt system will not be allowed to succeed,” JKSSB chairman said.

Reiterating commitment of Board to conduct exams as per schedule from March 16 with the “highest degree of security and sanctity”, he stated that around 50000 out of 1.95 lakh candidates had already downloaded their Admit Cards within hours of their (cards’) ‘going live’ this morning.


“Mainly protests are centred around a point that the Board is conducting exams through a ‘blacklisted’ company (Aptech). I deny this proposition. Board has hired this company to assist it (Board) in the conduct of the exam while another company will audit the entire process as a third-party audit. Before initiating the tendering process, the Board held deliberations with the stakeholders and it was realised that continuous updation of systems is very vital for any agency during the conduct of exams. The Board has not given the selection process to any single agency. Rather the Board has engaged these agencies for rendering necessary assistance to conduct the exam,” he sought to explain the process.

“I would like to clarify that the blacklisting is a restrictive term valid for a specified period. It has to be distinguished from "Disbanding" i.e., permanent blacklisting. The present protests seem to be motivated to derail the functioning of the Board. Candidates are being misled and instigated by vested interests by blurring the facts,” JKSSB chairman said.

“Significant aspect is that the agency hired by the Board is not blacklisted as on date; rather it was blacklisted in UP in May 2019 for a period of three years that expired in May 2022. Tendering was done in a very transparent manner. In the final stage where only two companied reached, the agency in question qualified the parameters prescribed for tendering and was the highest bidder on Quality-cum-Cost Based Selection (QCBS) mode. It was evaluated in terms of both technical and financial bid (there was a gap of Rs 70). In all there were nine companies. During the pre-bid meeting, five companies, which attended it, sought change in the clause pertaining to blacklisting which could have barred any company blacklisted at any point of time in the past,” he explained the process, which was being questioned by the protesters.

“There are specific rules provided in General Financial Rules (GFR) 2017 (Rule 151) of the Government of India to deal with debarment or blacklisting. Under rules, we could not deny this company a tender. The tender process has been undertaken strictly as per the rules on the subject. It is not that an individual will decide to blacklist. With regard to questions about the ongoing court case, the court is legally examining our process. Let the court give judgement. We have always obeyed the directions of the court, and will continue to do so. The court’s directions were restricted only to the extent of JE and SI exams. They (protesters) should also obey court directions and should respect institutions. So, those persons levelling unsubstantiated allegations have clear ulterior motives,” he said.


He maintained that he was not defending any agency but the process of the Board, which he was duty-bound to.

“The fact remains that this particular agency was already conducting exams across the country and at the Centre. It has been and is executing prime projects in National Testing Agency (NTA), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) (2023) and other government bodies and has successfully completed many CBT based examinations like UGC-NET (2020, 2021); JNU Entrance Examination (JNUEE-2021), Delhi University Entrance Test (DUET 2019, 2020, 2021) etc., wherein lakhs of candidates (52 lakh) participated. It also conducted Income Tax (2022), RPF Jhansi (2022), Railway Vadodara (2022) exams,” he said.

Reiterating that efforts were aimed at spreading false propaganda against the Board and to mislead the genuine candidates, JKSSB chairman cited an incident to substantiate his point.

“After the conclusion of one such exam, recently I received a message from one of the individuals that mass-cheating has taken place at a specific centre. Incidentally on that very day, myself, along with three officers of Board, GAD observers and district observers were present at that centre throughout the exam and each row was managed by an officer in addition to the invigilators,” he shared.

He, however, cautioned that strict action would be taken against “all those elements trying to harm the future of meritorious aspirants.”

“If there's a complaint or even a minor lapse in future, strictest action will be taken to protect the interests of aspirants, this is my assurance,” Sharma assured.


He stated that there was a multi-layer security and monitoring process in place to ensure the fairness and transparency of conduct of exams by JKSSB.

“The Board is taking all safety measures like the appointment of Observers by GAD, Observers of district administration, Magistrates, additional frisking, third-party audits, installation of jammers etc. The quality of conducting examinations by the Board through CBT (Computer Based Test) mode was of the highest order and there has been no incidence of any malpractice reported. 2300 selections have already been made. Our target is to touch more than 10,000 selections this year.”

With regard to a question pertaining to an alleged registration of FIR against the company in question in Leh, Sharma said that they did not have any such input. “Under the process, only the Finance ministry through a notification blacklists a company,” he said.

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