JKSSB and contemporary challenges

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The Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board is a premier agency for recruitment to non-gazetted vacancies in Jammu and Kashmir. The board has been involved in making selections on the basis of merit, making selection lists public, answering queries on the basis of facts and bringing itself under RTI. As the unemployment increased exponentially due to no major recruitment process from last few years, the board needs to advance its process of recruitment to further increase the faith of job aspirants on its functioning.

Recently the vacancies from different departments have been referred to JKSSB for fast track recruitment; the board needs to bring itself at par with Staff Selection Commission [SSC], so that aspirants could also make themselves relevant to central level exams conducted by SSC.  The board has advertised vacancies from different departments through different notifications. The application fee fixed by board for each post is Rs. 350. If an aspirant is eligible for 10 posts in different departments, he/she has to pay 3500 as application fee which is exploitative for an unemployed job aspirants of Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, the board changed syllabus for Finance Accounts Assistant twice, and sometimes it changes the eligibility criteria for a graduate level post; all this results into mental chaos for an applicant. Prescribing separate syllabus for different posts also causes frustration to unemployed youths.

Instead it would have been better to club all advertisements and divide exams on the basis of  levels as is the case in SSC that conducts Combined Graduate Level [CGL] and Combined Higher Secondary  [CHSL] level exams once or twice a year with same syllabus content like Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning, English and Current affairs barring technical posts where technical qualification and domain knowledge is required which is tested in another tier of examination. The board may add some specialized areas like GK with special reference to Jammu & Kashmir, in its syllabus. It also needs to issue a calendar in advance and stick to it, so that aspirants could prepare themselves in advance. The board also couldn’t clear ambiguity on eligibility criteria in its earlier notification of Class IV vacancies. Unlike SSC where even higher qualified aspirants can apply for CHSL [10+2] level posts with clear guidelines of no weightage for higher qualification

It is important to mention here that Jammu and Kashmir Public Services Commission has already brought its process of recruitment for Civil Services at par with UPSC as far as syllabus content and pattern of examination is concerned. Recently in an interview, the Chairman JKPSC said the commission will tentatively schedule upcoming Civil Service Examination around UPSC’s schedule of CSE 2021, so that aspirants could prepare for both exams simultaneously. The JKSSB needs to follow the same and bring itself at par with SSC as far as Syllabus, application fee and level of exams and pattern of exams are concerned. Moreover, the board needs to switch over to online tests instead of offline to bring more transparency and frame selection lists in a time bound manner.

The recruitment process must be accessible and equitable to all which is possible only by clubbing multiple advertisements and demanding single application fees as the board conducts single test for same level of posts. The board must set up a committee to look into all such issues.

The author is students representative at IASE, Srinagar.