Experts, aspirants apprehensive about new job policy

Moazum Mohammad

Srinagar: Government officials, academics, political parties and job seekers debated pros and cons of the new job policy the government announced on Sunday.
According to this policy, deputy commissioners have been empowered to make recruitments on contractual basis for a period of seven years at district level for both gazetted and non-gazetted vacancies.
The employees’ services will be regularized after the seven years based on their track record. The new policy, education minister Naeem Akhtar said on Sunday, will enable the government to recruit people in their own areas, which will in the long run improve service delivery and transparency.
The new policy will come into effect once the governor okays the Jammu and Kashmir Special Recruitment Ordinance-2015 passed by the cabinet on Sunday. The law will replace previous government’s J&K Civil Services (Special Provisions) Act 2010, which had banned ad hoc, contractual or consolidated appointments.
Law secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir said the biggest advantage of the new policy is that it will do away with transferring teachers and doctors who will be recruited locally.
“Doctors and teachers will not hesitate to attend duties even they are posted in far off places,” Mir added.
Prof Nisar Ali, who has taught economics at Kashmir University and has been a former advisor to higher education department, said the policy is flawed as it erodes the constitutional mandate of recruiting agencies.
“The district-level recruitment will be prone to corruption and can be influenced by various quarters. It curtails the powers of institutions like PSC or SSB. Why don’t we wind up recruiting agencies? It’s not a wise decision and this policy should be annulled as early as possible,” Nisar said.
A senior official, wishing anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the policy might be a short-term measure for unemployment but it would have long term consequences.
“One advantage is that local staff won’t be reluctant to join duties. But the biggest disadvantage is that merit and talent will suffer because of domicile issues. For instance, if Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers will be evaluated by recruitment agencies, most of them will be ineligible. But the ReT scheme was formulated in a way that locals had to preferred over merit,” the official said.
The main opposition party, National Conference, said the new policy is “bereft of any logic” and aimed at promoting “backdoor appointments”.
“Basically, localized hiring will provide PDP a chance to make backdoor appointments. The policy is anti-youth and anti-logic. We are going to oppose it,” said NC spokesman Junaid Azim Mattu.
In Opposition, PDP had opposed the NC-Congress government’s recruitment policy according to which a non-gazetted employee would receive a monthly salary equivalent to the 50 per cent of the basic pay of a permanent employee for the first two years out of the total five years of contractual employment.
In remaining three years, the employee would be entitled to receive a fixed salary of about 75 per cent of the basic pay. After facing rout in Lok Sabha polls, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had scrapped that recruitment policy.
“When they were in opposition, they opposed our recruitment policy, which shows their inherent contradiction,” Mattu said.
Amir Amin, an MBA looking for a job, said the government’s logic to fast-track recruitment is a welcome step, but the bit about appraisal of performance during seven years of contractual period is flawed.
“How can a person after spending seven years expect not to be regularized? It’s a flawed mechanism to determine performance. Also, the new policy will encourage corruption and nepotism,” said Amin.
PDP youth president Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra, however, defended the policy saying it will ensure quality and accountability.
“If an appointee won’t work during seven years, how can he work later?” he said.