Unjust, Discriminatory and Irrational: The Government’s KAS notification-2018

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Owais Rasheed

Change is inevitable. The successful methods (policies) adopted by the most influential leaders in the past may prove redundant and irrelevant today; for there exists something called the ‘need of the hour’. But, the question is: Shall we always accept the change for the sake of change only and weigh it in terms of being a revolutionary concept, thoroughly conceived and meticulously executed? Is there anything else which would matter more and has to be the prerequisite? Undoubtedly, ‘Justice’ has to be priority over all other things. A great economical or social loss is not a loss when justice is being served in exchange. The former may make a society less developed but the latter a soulless society.
Change ceases to be the real change when it happens to be unjust and diktat in nature. The recent J&K Combined Competitive Examination (KAS) notification is a living testimony to it, whereby in a process of improving things, much damage has been inflicted to the justice and rationale. The ‘abrupt’ age limit reduction by 5 years speaks volumes about the oblivious nature of our law makers. The system has used UPSC, CSE pattern adaptation as a moral cloak for its hegemonic ambitions. Nobody is against the new CSAT examination pattern because that is the change; we not only accept but also aspire. What hurts is that it lacks a humane and healing touch.
It is an irony that a copy-paste method has been done to upgrade our state’s civil service examination pattern with that of the centre’s without taking into account the socio-politico-economic aspect of the state. This is not only absurd but also obnoxious. There are ample examples of other states of India which have also adopted this pattern but have kept other things in tact like age bar, number of attempts and so on. They have not blatantly accepted it in toto but rather on merit, keeping in view their own respective interests and needs. With respect to our state, we welcome it but some of its clauses but notably the age limits are incompatible and thus unacceptable as one may fail to answer:
1. Is our State same as Delhi or Tamil Nadu? The continual unrest, internal disturbance, routinely innocent killings and above it, the frequent communication (internet) gags has truly made us victimised and oppressed. Under such a situation, equity would work and not equality. One fails to understand, with respect to the recent Union CSE (IAS) notification, our CM successfully narrated this ordeal of our state to the Centre and convinced it not to revoke the age relaxation clause for the Jammu & Kashmir aspirants but how then a contrary notification was issued by itself with respect to it’s own civil services examination?
2. One may also ask: How often and how well such exams in our state are being conducted? The answer is only in negation and disappointment. Under such a scenario, lowering age would simply mean denying any sincere aspirants a fair chance to sit in such an exam. God only knows how many might have sold (literally) their belongings to prepare at various coaching institutions for this fate-changing event of their lives; how many might would’ve leave their university research and other promising careers midway only to write this exam? Wouldn’t it prove disastrous to them when they would find that their chance has been marred due to the callous attitude of the authorities? The fact that here such notifications are not issued annually and it takes then years to complete the selection process, has been altogether disregarded and blithely sidelined. The last such notification, with mere 31 posts in the OM was issued in Apr 2014 (vide Notification No. PSC/Exam/2014/36 dated: 24.04.2014) and the final selection list got completed not before December 2017 (vide notification No. PSC/Exam/2017/81; dated: 18.12.2017). It took almost 4 years to complete the entire exam process! This is not an exaggeration but the bitter truth, unambiguously evident but conveniently bypassed. In such a case, decreasing the age bar would implythe probability of sitting in such an exam would be not more than 2-3 times (attempts), had the one (who isturning 31 in 2018) been applying since the age of 22?. This is basic math! Let the sense prevail not the sensation about imitating UPSC impulsively.
3. Nobody would’ve been against this age limit reduction had it been executed in a just and thoughtful manner and not in an abrupt way. Elemental reasoning says it should have been reduced gradually by one year, each year (provided the notification is issued annually). Naturally in a span of five years, it would come down from the pre-committed 37 to the desired 32. This process would serve all the objectives without being unjust, harsh & disproportionate. But reducing it ‘abruptly’ deprived those of any chance who have been preparing for the past years to ever appear in this exam. Where would they go?
4. The requisite application fee of ?1000 is again unjustified and disproportionate. In comparison, the UPSC fee for applying the prestigious central civil services (IAS) exam is only ?100 for the general category. It is interesting to know that some states have fixed the fee even less than ?100; for example, Uttar Pradesh PSC charges only ?80 from the applicants(general category). Why are we being charged exorbitantly 1150% more in comparison by our commission?? By doing so, the commission is visiting pain on those it was supposed to help – the unemployed yet the competent youth of a deprived state.
The issue isn’t emotional or sympathetic; it is rational and justice seeking. Addressing it wouldn’t be a privilege to the aspirants rather the upholding of their rights. We don’t demand magnanimity but propriety. However, this push-to-the-wall approach by the government is by all standards of logic antithetical to justice and thus anti people. Any argument supporting it seems too facile to hold weight. Undoubtedly with such fiendish orders, the government is bleaching the unemployed youth of all feelings of care, compassion and kindness and this is perhaps the ‘healing touch’ and the real ‘agenda of alliance’ for the youth here! Nevertheless, the anti youth clauses of the order (notification) may be revoked forthwith, the trust may be won, the healing touch may be felt regardless- for it is never too late to be kind, just and rational.

—The author, from Pulwama , can be reached at the surrogate email address: ayazemc2@gmail.com