J&K ex-IAS officers want more Kashmir students to opt for civil services

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Representational ImageFile/ GK

Srinagar, Jan 21: With fewer candidates from Kashmir figuring in the J&K Administrative Service-2021 selection list issued Friday, several former civil servants have pitched for taking measures to draw more Valley students to opt for the civil services as a career option.

It has been observed that the candidates from Kashmir valley have poorly performed in the examination or there was comparatively less participation of candidates from Kashmir which eventually resulted in less selections as well.

The administrative service has historically not attracted Kashmir youth since 1968 but overall this year's result has shown lowest performances from Kashmir division.

The JK CCE prelims exam was held on October 24, 2021 and a total of 20790 candidates took that examination out of which 4462 candidates were announced.

These candidates appeared for Mains examination which was conducted from April 8 to April 18, 2022 at both Jammu and Srinagar and 3916 candidates appeared in the said exam.

Out of 3916 candidates who appeared in JKPSC CCE Mains exams, 648 candidates qualified for the interview and the personality test which was held from December 05, 2022 to January 19, 2023. Out of the 648 candidates, 643 appeared for the interview round and out of which 187 candidates have been shortlisted for the medical exam.

Of the 187 candidates, 90 candidates have been selected in Open Merit. The rest of the successful candidates – making more than half of the total have been selected under different reserved categories. However, some candidates from reserved categories have secured their selection in open merit as well.

As per the list, as many as 31 candidates who appeared in the exams from Srinagar Centre have figured in the selection list.

"It is sad that only about 20 percent of successful candidates belong to the Kashmir division. Ideally, at least 50 percent successful candidates should have been from Kashmir division," said former Advisor to the J&K Governor Khurshid Ahmed Ganai.

"This shows that there is much less seriousness about civil services among the Kashmiri students which is not good," he said.

Khurshid Ahmed Ganai said the presence of locals in the governance systems was desirable not only for the delivery of public services but it also gives to the public a sense of participation in governance.

"Policy formulation is also impacted adversely if you do not have locals in the administration. Because the locals have more local knowledge and institutional memory about local problems and developmental issues, lesser local presence to that extent excludes that advantage," he said.

He said we also need local role models in administration whom the aspirants of civil services can emulate.

"We have seen this happen after Shah Faesal, Syed Abid Rashid, Sehrish Asghar, Shahid Chowdhary and others passed the UPSC CSE between 2008 and 2013. Now the trend has buckled which is not good at all," he said.

He said that there was a need to revive the enthusiasm among the students, particularly after graduation.

"The universities and colleges in Kashmir have to find ways and means to do this. So they need to work harder. Looks like they have slowed down during the last few years resulting in less than due representation of candidates from Kashmir among the successful candidates for JKAS," he said.

Former Chairman J&K Public Service Commission (PSC) Latief U Zaman Deva said traditionally, right from 1968, the number of candidates from valley participating in civil service exams was less as compared to Jammu division.

"So when the number of candidates participating in the exam is far less, selection will not be that good," he said. He said the basic reason for less participation from Kashmir was perceptional differences between the two divisions.

"In Kashmir the priorities of youngsters and families is specialisations or to opt for higher studies. The first priority remains to become a doctor or an engineer and if the candidates do not get admissions, they opt for higher studies," he said.

He said that in the last 20 years, thrust has been given for jobs in the corporate sector which the "flight is not only within India but to other countries as well."

Contrary to it, he said that the scenario in Jammu division was different and in previous years, candidates form Doda area would figure in the selection list of Civil Service exams which has not replicated to other parts like Poonch Rajouri and overall Chenab Valley.

"The people in these areas realised that they want to change the destination of the people and they changed their priorities and started career planning in advance. That is why we get a large number of candidates in civil services from these areas," Deva said.

He said there is a lot of saturation in the medical science and engineering sector and thousands of doctors are seen without jobs.

"This is the time when we should make these youngsters of Kashmir conscious and motivate them to start planning for civil service exams after they qualify their class 12th examination," he said.

"We should catch them at a young age and then only we can have promising candidates participating and from Kashmir and ultimately in selection will also be good," he said.

Deva said more than 70 percent of students selected for MBBS or engineering course were from Kashmir and even the same scenario is in Higher education department as well.

"When we see recruitment of professors in Universities and colleges, more than 60 percent are from Kashmir. This is proof that the priorities are different for people in Chenab and Kashmir," he said.

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