Hey there, want a government job?
After the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the UT Government swiftly moved to address vacancies across various departments. Among these efforts, the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) advertised 972 vacancies for Finance Accounts Assistant on December 16, 2020. However, 486 posts, constituting 50% of these vacancies, were reserved across different categories, a matter warranting separate discussion due to its flaws.
The written exam for these vacancies took place after a prolonged gap of 1 year, 2 months, and 21 days, specifically on March 6, 2022. According to the Times of India, “Out of a total of about 2 lakh candidates (who collectively paid approximately Rupees 7 crore as registration fees to the board), approximately 1.36 lakh candidates participated in the examination.”
In this fiercely competitive environment, candidates harboured diverse aspirations upon securing a government job. Some sought to support their families financially, while others aimed to defy social stigmas associated with their chosen fields or the fields in which their interests lie. Some aspired to enhance their eligibility for marriage, while others struggled to align their interests with the limited scope of our education system. The motivations behind these endeavours varied greatly, with many opting for the disturbance-free environs in urban setup for exam preparation, given the absence of additional selection criteria such as interviews. Some turned to online courses to study from the comfort of their homes, while others faced constraints in securing accommodations near libraries or their peers in cities.
The results of this exam were declared on April 21, 2022. However, amidst a plethora of complaints, the Central Bureau of Investigation intervened in a case related to irregularities in the examination for the Accounts Assistant of the Finance Department. The CBI registered a case on November 28, 2022, and subsequently, the selection list was invalidated. For those candidates selected who were not involved in any corruption, all their hard work, aspirations, and desires to secure a government job went in vain. The feeling of many selected fellows at that time can be summed up by a beautifully sung ghazal by Jagjit Singh:
“Zindagi Tu Ne Lahu Le Ke Diya Kuch Bhi Nahi,
Tere Daaman Mein Mere Vaste Kya Kuch Bhi Nahi,
Mere In Haathon Ki Chaaho Toh Talashi Le Lo,
Mere Haathon Mein Lakiron Ke Siva Kuch Bhi Nahi,
Hum Ne Dekha Hai Kayi Aise Khudaon Ko Yahan,
Saamne Jin Ke Vo Sach-Much Ka ?huda Kuchh Bhi Nahi
While many cases challenging the re-exam were either unheard or pending in court, the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board conducted a re-examination for the post of Accounts Assistant, Finance Department, on January 28, 2024. Yet again, the government’s Services Selection Board dishonoured the hard work and desires of the candidates by altering the marks weightage scheme of the paper without prior notice and releasing an erroneous answer key, with many claiming that about 15-20 questions were either ambiguous or incorrect.
Candidates are frustrated with this apparent hegemony and injustice, and there is a confident candidate with whom I have conversed regarding the wrong or ambiguous questions. He informed me that by using the prescribed format and including supporting documentary proof, candidates can submit objections or representations for specific questions. However, he expressed his inability to afford the fee of Rs. 200 per question for 15-20 questions, along with additional expenses for travelling to submit hard copies of objections at the JKSSB Office in Srinagar. Furthermore, the requirement to make the demand draft payable to the J&K Services Selection Board is seen as a disgrace in the digital age.
I came across a YouTube video related to wrong questions in the FAA exam, where someone commented, “Hardworking aspirants must assemble… 5000 aspirants are enough to file a case in the high court… Filing a case will be the perfect answer and will build a strong case.” This injustice has persisted for too long. How long must the youth suffer burdened by years of conflict? How long must unemployed youth bear the costs of court cases? Is this a dignified way of life? Is the system not corrupted? Were 3 years 11 months and 12 days not enough for a Government’s Services Selection Board to conduct a transparent exam?
Plato once said, “The worst form of injustice is pretended justice.” In the face of hopelessness, I implore the Arbabe Ikhtiyar/The Authorities to address the real problems faced by the youth. While 5G may be deemed important, it pales in comparison to the struggle of those who cannot afford bread for themselves or their families. At the same time, I implore my brethren that It’s time to break free from the shackles of the faulty education system and societal expectations what Akbar Allahabadi summed up as:
Hum Kya Kahein Ahbab Kya Kaar-E-Numaya Kar Gaye,
B.A, Hue Naukar Hue Pension Mili Phir Mar Gaye
Let’s have the courage to stand up and pursue our true interests, emancipating ourselves from this imaginary chain.
With a sense of despair, I raise these questions, hoping for change.
The writer is MBA (HR, Marketing), Founder Valley Bazaar; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shahid-lone/email: [email protected]