An open letter to the Chairman JKPSC

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Dear sir

Greetings. We are writing to you not just as civil service aspirants but also as concerned citizens of this country. It came much as a delight for us that Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission was being reconstituted with capable personalities like yourself at its helm. Your decades of illustrious public service is truly an inspiration for all those who aspire to be a part of the administration.

The constitution of this country has envisaged Public Services Commission as one of the bulwarks of democratic system of governance as well as the watchdog of the merit system. It is not a mere recruitment body but an institution that nurtures thousands of dreams. It is an agency that people trust to reward immense hard work.
            In the light of the above we wish to draw your kind attention to the following.

Firstly, since 2014 the JKPSC has conducted just three Combined Competitive Examinations for Kashmir Administrative Service, recruiting around 430 officers. Given the number of available vacancies and the need for appropriate/timely conclusion of examination cycles, this is clearly below optimal. The irregularity of this examination has dashed thousands of dreams. The need is to bring in predictability through a proper and a regular examination calendar, and a robust recruitment process. That will prove beneficial for aspirants as well as the administration.

Secondly, the issue of optional bias. What has been observed for a decade or so now is that most of the final selections are from a few subjects (about 70 percent). No wonder that there is so called a ‘particular-optional-mania’ among aspirants. It remains a quandary that how can one subject fetch some candidates 80% marks consistently over the years while others can’t get them even 50%.The whole scheme of having so many optionals to choose from then makes no sense and becomes irrelevant. The need is for a proper scaling here and a leaf can be taken out of UPSC’s methodology. This will make sure that all optionals are held in equal esteem and that there is no discrimination.

Thirdly, the problems related to the framing of question papers. It is an open secret that most of the question papers (full length!) of 2018 KAS examination were brazen duplications of the UPSC Civil Services question papers (2014 to 2018)–a mere copy-paste exercise. This undoubtedly blunts the competitive edge and makes a mockery of the examination. One can only hope that this is not repeated in the future.

Fourthly, the issue of upper age limit. The fact that the KAS recruitment doesn’t take place every year, many aspirants are not able to utilise their respective opportunity window fully. This issue may kindly be taken up with the General Administration Department.

Lastly, the matters related to the process of conducting examination and the declaration of results thereof. We wish to remind you that the Combined Competitive Examination 2016 got unnecessarily embroiled in legal complications because of the publication of faulty answer keys, redeclaration of result, serious allegations about the Zoology paper etc. All this led to the examination process dragging for three long years. Such controversies are avoidable and call for due precautions.

We sincerely trust the institution and its worthy Chairman, and hope that necessary steps would be taken at the earliest to address the aforementioned issues.

Mohammad Muqaddas
Ameer Ali 
Majid Hussain
Yawar Hussain and many others