The Governor administration has cancelled the job selection list of the Khadi Village & Industries Board (KVIB) after an inquiry panel concluded that the recruitment process suffered from multiple deficiencies and lacunae. The inquiry panel also pointed out that little notice period was provided to candidates appearing in interview from Jammu region.
Based on recommendations of a three-member inquiry panel headed by then Principal Secretary Home, R.K. Goyal, the Industries & Commerce department has ordered cancellation of the selections made in the KVIB during the PDP-BJP rule.
“All the selections made in the KVIB pursuant to advertisement notice No. KVIB/01 of 2016 dated 08.10.2016 are quashed/ cancelled,” reads the 7-page the order issued by Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Navin Kumar Choudhary.
“The KVIB will provide opportunity of being heard to all candidates appointed to different category of posts pursuant to the advertisement notice dated 08.10.2016 and fulfill all formalities required under law before cancelling the appointment of these candidates,” it further states.
The selection process had come under sharp criticism from different quarters after kith and kin of several political functionaries and influential ones figured in the list.
In a damage-control move, then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had ordered a high-level inquiry into the selection process.
Headed by then Principal Secretary Home Raj Kumar Goyal, the inquiry committee submitted its report to Governor administration in November 2018.
Farooq Ahmad Shah, then Secretary School Education Department and PawanKotwal, then Principal Secretary Health & Medical Education, were part of the probe panel.
After examining the inquiry report, the government found that “the criteria adopted in these selections was not recommended by any expert committee but was proposed by the vice-chairman of the Board and approved by its chairman (Minister of Industries & Commerce)”.
While PeerzadaMansoor of Peoples Democratic Party was vice-chairman of the Board, Chandra Prakash Ganga of the BJP was chairman of the Board by virtue of being Minister for Industries & Commerce.
The government has also found that “the criteria adopted in the selection process was not in accordance with the recommendations of the committee constituted in 2012”. “The criteria of shortlisting for interview / viva voice in the ratio of 1: 15 adopted in these selections on the basis of written examination was not recommended by the committee constituted in 2012. In fact, the said committee had recommended shortlisting in the ratio of 1: 15 as per the academic merit of the participating candidates,” reads the order.
In 2012, the government had constituted a panel to fix criteria for selection process in KVIB, which, had recommended shortlisting of candidates for interview/ viva -voice on the basis of their academic merit.
According to the order, the agenda regarding fixing of criteria for the jobs advertised in 2016 was finalised in October 2017 after conclusion of written test. “The agenda regarding fixing of criteria for the 2016 selections placed before the Board of Directors on 03.10.2017 much after conclusion of the written examination held in the month of August 2017 was only as to how the 10 marks earmarked for experience can be awarded which should have been explained much earlier preferably in advertisement notice,” reads the document.
The inquiry panel also pointed out that little notice period was provided to candidates particularly appearing in the interview for the post of junior supervisor, accountant assistant/ junior auditor, executive officer, assistant executive officer and publicity officer from Jammu region.
It also states that the procedures followed by PSC and SSB for shortlisting candidates for interview/ viva-voice was not followed in the selection process. “The procedure as adopted/ followed by other recruiting agencies viz PSC and SSB where the candidates are shortlisted for interview in the ratio of 1: 5 in case the number of candidates is less than 10 and 1: 3 in case the number exceeds 10 has not been followed in this case,” it further states.
The inquiry has also found that candidates were not awarded marks for experience in relevant field for which 10 marks had been earmarked as per advertisement notice. “The selection committee declared the results in hurry on 14-02-2018 for five categories without waiting for conclusion of interviews for the posts of junior assistant/ record keeper which were to conclude on 19th February 2018, making the entire selection process doubtful,” reads the order.