Is Anybody Listening?

Is Anybody Listening?
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JKPSC aspirants demand age relaxation

Age relaxation is supposed to be beneficial for the people who are overage for a job. There is an age limit set for the post and later on, relaxation is given so that more people can apply and gain from it. Recently, Sub-Inspector vacancies were announced with a usual upper age limit of 28 years and later on to benefit people, the age limit was relaxed to 30 years. It is good for the candidates who were earlier over-age and now can apply for the posts and secure a government job.

But this is not the case with Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC). The upper age limit was 37 years for open merit candidates. In the 2021 notification, the age limit was reduced to 32 years. So, instead of relaxation, the age limit was reduced. Where the upper age limit should have been 42 years (like that of Haryana PSC), it was reduced to 32 years. When the aspirants for the jobs protested about it, JKPSC announced that they are relaxing it for one last time and afterwards there will be no relaxation.

Firstly, this was not relaxation as they kept the previous limit only which is 37 years. Actual relaxation was done in SI vacancies where the age limit was 28 years and now relaxed up to 30 years.

Secondly, this is totally unjust for the candidates who were preparing for a long time and will be overage by 5 years now. All this while the age limit was 37 years with one more condition of six attempts. So, the candidate either exhausts his six attempts or be 37 years of age to be out of the race for the prestigious exam.

The reasoning behind this move of the commission was that the JKPSC will be brought on the lines of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). If this is the intention, then it is in the interest of the youth of J&K. However, actually, the results are quite different.

State PSCs are different from UPSC in many ways. States come out with vacancies not so often as UPSC. States do not conduct Civil Services Exam every year like UPSC. This is the reason that the upper age limit of the states is more than that of UPSC. The states, like UPSC, have also kept the limit on the number of attempts. The beauty of UPSC is that they conduct exams every year without fail. Even during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, they did not cease to conduct their business although it was delayed but justified.

The State and the Centre come up with vacancies according to their own requirements. The Centre requires IAS officers every year so they conduct exams every year. The same is not true of the states. J&K comes up with Civil Services vacancies almost after three years. If there is a vacancy after three years and the age limit is 32 years or six attempts, how an aspirant who is 21-years-old will exhaust all six attempts, she/he will be overage before utilising her/his full number of attempts. She/he will be able to make use of a maximum of three to four attempts.

Changes do not happen overnight nor do overnight changes help everyone or are liked by everyone. Changes could be done, but, in a slow and gradual manner so that more and more people are in a position to accept them and understand them. JKPSC should conduct regular PSC exams at least for 10 years (every year) and show the youth of J&K its commitment to be on the lines of the UPSC. Once they are successful they can change the upper age limit to 32 years. The present scenario where they are reducing the age limit and at the same time irregular in conducting exams is unjustified. Another argument is that why at all reduce the upper age limit when the government should increase it instead in J&K and keep it similar to other state PSCs. Uttar Pradesh has an upper age limit of 40 years, Rajasthan 40 years, Haryana 42 years, Andhra Pradesh 42 years, Maharashtra PSC has 38 years, Punjab 37 years, Tamil Nadu 36 years.Kerala PSC is one such state PSC where the upper age limit is 32 years. Education standards and the literacy rate of Kerala is much higher than that of J&K. Kerala performs way better in terms of State Gross Domestic Product (SGDP) compared to that of J&K. Hence, it is not justified that J&K can also have an upper age limit of 32 years because Kerala has the same as UPSC.

JKPSC though states that they will conduct the JKAS exam or the recruitment pattern will be similar to the pattern of UPSC, but the current reservation pattern is opposite of UPSC. JKAS in its year 2021 vacancies has more than 50 percent reservations for various categories of people and less than 50 percent for open merit candidates. The Supreme Court on May 5, 2021, struck down the Maharashtra government’s decision to exceed 50 percent reservation for the Maratha community in education and jobs. The apex court said, “The 2018 Maharashtra state law violates the right to equality.” The reservation pattern will give way to writs and petitions which are common to JKPSC. In the recent exam of October 24, 2021, PSC had put a few wrong questions for which they ultimately had to revise the answers or delete the questions altogether.The youth of J&K need more stable and feasible policies in the State government or Central government jobs. We request the administration to look into the matter.

Akshma Bakshi

Redress grievances of Bilalabad, BK Pora residents

We, the residents of Bilalabad, Lane-1, BK Pora, want to bring to the notice of the concerned authorities that we are facing a lot of inconvenience due to non-availability of power supply, proper drinking water, and dilapidated condition of our roads. With the onset of winter, we are facing immense hardships.

We had requested the authorities many times earlier but no action has been taken. They are not paying attention to our request. We once again request the authorities to look into the matter without any delay and resolve our issue at the earliest.

Mudasir Ahmad, Resident

Redress grievance of retired employees of J&K, Ladakh Finance Corporation

For about a decade, retired employees of J&K and Ladakh Finance Corporation (formerly J&K State Financial Corporation) have been running from pillar to post for redress of our grievances. The payment of our earned salary dues under the 6th Pay Revision besides the gratuity arrears as per the SRO-94 of April 2009 are not released on one pretext or the other.

While the 6th Pay Revision has not been implemented fully, the corporation has approved the 7th Pay Revision in favour of its employees. Proprietary or the rules of generally accepted behaviour would have been fulfilled if the 6th Pay Revision would have been fully enforced and executed by releasing and paying pending arrears and dues in the first instance. Therefore, we, the retired employees of the corporation seek the intervention of the LG, the Chief Secretary, the Chairman of the corporation and other authorities of J&K to redress our grievances.

M Aslam Shah

Redress the grievance of Jal Jeevan Mission employees

We, the Jal Jeevan Mission employees of J&K, appeal to the higher authorities to enhance our monthly honorarium as per JJM Guidelines 2021. We have been requesting the concerned authorities to take notice of our situation for the past so many months but to no avail. We had also submitted the representation twice before Mission Director, JJM J&K, but no action has been taken yet. Moreover, we had also requested the higher authorities regarding the revoking of PFM, system which is time-consuming for releasing of our salaries and re-implementation of treasury system, but we have got no response till date. Ironically, in the PFM system, we have to circulate our pay advice from our respective Xens to SEs, Chief Office to Civil Secretariat and Jalshakti Department. This takes more than two months for completing the formalities, which is very difficult. Besides, our yearly continuation of services is still withheld in SE offices and Chief Office due to which our seven-month salary is withheld despite the availability of funds. We are facing tremendous hardships as we have only this source of income. We were recruited through the proper procedure by a competent authority, as per guidelines of NRDWP/JJM. We had been imparted skill training prior to joining the department. Most of the candidates among us are more qualified than the requisite qualification. Each lab is conducting 3000 physio-chemical and microbiological tests of drinking water, and communicating the same to the Ministry of Drinking Water online. Thus water testing lab staff is working hard to monitor the water quality for the welfare of the common masses. The water testing lab staff has left no stone left unturned in implementing the JJM guidelines in letter and spirit, which includes uploading of online water testing parameters, imparting field test kit training to panchayats and common masses, awareness programmes to common masses, conducting water testing of all private tubewells, springs and all groundwater sources. The process of NABL accreditation of 80 percent labs is under process, which is also envisaged in JJM guidelines. The concerned Jalshakti Departnent officers are frequently coercing lab staff to implement JJM guidelines strictly. JJM guidelines are suggestive in nature, as mentioned on each and every page. Thus the lab staff are following the orders of higher-ups in letter and spirit.

In addition to this, the honorarium of lab staff is also envisaged in JJM guidelines but it has never been followed. We are being forced to work on meagre wages. We appeal to Lieutenant Governor and other concerned authorities to redress our grievance at the earliest on humanitarian grounds.

All JJM employees of J&K

‘Clean water body in Hamdaniya Colony, Bemina’

We, the residents of Hamdaniya Colony, Bemina, want to bring to the notice of the concerned authorities that a small canal in our area has been choked by garbage. The water body is so polluted that sometimes we even find caracasses of dead animals in it.

We now request the authorities to take an initiative to clean the canal and punish those who pollute it.

Abrar Hussain Hyderi, Resident

Greater Kashmir