Over the years, the successive regimes have made tall claims to address the issue of unemployment which is rising at an alarming rate in J&K. The government has introduced various professional and technical courses in colleges and universities to enable students to meet the market requirements after completing their graduation and post-graduation courses.
But on ground, the situation is altogether different as the majority of the government departments are holding on the age-old recruitment rules. The departments continue to recruit or promote in-service people in the department as per the outdated recruitment policies. No initiatives are taken to amend the rules so as to open employment opportunities for the professional qualified unemployed youth. As per the existing recruitment policy which is in vogue for decades now, the candidates with plan degrees are preferred over professionals in most of the government departments in J&K.
Ideally, the recruitment policies of every government department in J&K should be reviewed and it should be re-framed in line with the new courses and degrees offered in colleges and universities, not only in J&K but outside as well. This is how the government can make its recruitment policies relevant to the market demands.
Recently, the JK Service Selection Board (SSB) notified various posts of librarian, junior librarian referred by the directorate of libraries J&K for recruitment. Ironically, as per the recruitment rules of the department the candidates having professional degrees in the library science were treated equivalent to those having simple graduation.
The reason for having such flawed recruitment policies is that the government never reviewed the recruitment policy of the department after it was framed in 1989.
Every year around 40 students graduate from Kashmir University and Jammu University after completing their two year professional degree in Masters in Library Science. But on ground the degree has no acceptance or we can say the candidates having the degree in possession are not given preference over those having simple degrees.
Surprisingly, the candidates having done masters in library science had to apply for the posts as simple graduates as their course was not given any preference for the librarian post.
When the issue was highlighted in the media, the officials pleaded helplessness and said the recruitment was being done as per the existing recruitment policy of the department framed in 1989. Surprisingly, the bureaucrats were so outspoken to admit that the policy was archaic and no amendments were made since 1989. Least they could do for the benefit of the professional degree holders was that the professional candidates were asked to apply for the post as simple graduates. Crux: the candidates having a professional degree in the subject were treated the same as that of simple graduate candidates without giving any weightage to their professional course.
And the bureaucrats are least bothered about the grave issue and delay the amendments in the recruitment policy. This is not the case with only one department but the majority of the departments are sailing in the same boat.
The sericulture graduates and post-graduate candidates of Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST)-Kashmir were recently up in arms over the flawed recruitment rules of the University and the Sericulture Department. The candidates had the same ordeal to narrate that their professional degrees were not considered at the time of recruitment by the government.
The professional sericulture graduates and post graduate candidates also complained that the government has not made any amendments in the recruitment rules over the years and continue the recruitments as per outdated policies. The fact was admitted by the director sericulture department who was blunt to admit that the recruitments will be made as per the existing policy till the government takes any decision to review and make relevant amendments in the recruitment rules.
The government should have made it mandatory for every department to take a review of the recruitment rules keeping in view the introduction of new courses offered in colleges and universities.
Around 180 trained sericulture graduates, 180 students with B.Sc. Sericulture (Honors) and 70 M.Sc and PhD research scholars have graduated from the SKUAST-K University since 2006. But to their ill luck, their degrees are not given any preference at the time of recruitment and are termed ineligible for various posts advertised by the sericulture department. Most of the departmental posts are filled by internal promotions from non-professional backgrounds while at the time of fresh recruitments, no weightage is given to the candidates with professional degrees. This practice has put the future of sericulture graduates at stake.
Taking a dig at the SKUAST administration, the agitated sericulture professionals said the university should stop offering admission in these courses if they cannot amend the recruitment policy to make professionals eligible for the posts.
It is a matter of the fact that the Temperate Sericulture Research Institute, SKUAST-K, Mirgund has been upgraded to College of Temperate Sericulture in the recent past. If the pass outs of the institute are not being considered worth serving in the department, the exercise is simply futile.
The height of the things is that some years ago, the SKUAST-K administration communicated to the government repeatedly and expressed its resentment over the government recruitment policy wherein the pass out professionals do not get any jobs.
The SKUAST-K administration in protest had written to the then government and stated that the newly professional courses including Forestry, Fisheries, Agriculture Engineering and other courses should be stopped if the candidates are not considered fit for jobs after graduating from the institution.
A top official of the university told me that the candidates who graduate from SKUAST get jobs in Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and other states but are rejected in J&K. Though the government has addressed several issues but in most of the cases the professional degree holders are left at the receiving end due to flawed recruitment rules in government departments.
The government should understand the fact that over the years things have changed altogether with the change in market demands. It is an era where the focus should be on the international market so that the qualified youth graduating from colleges and universities are internationally accepted. So the recruitment policies in government departments should also be in line with the international market.
There is no dearth of professionals in J&K but the flawed recruitment rules have choked their space to serve in their field and they shift outside states for jobs which also results in brain drain.
There is no harm if professional candidates are given preference in any department than accommodating non-professional people on posts.
Keeping in view the circumstances, J&K government should not hesitate to modify the recruitment rules in the government department and create space for professionals who earned their degrees after spending several years for it.