The colonial setup of Government functioning was based on efficient and meritocratic foundation of civil service. This entire system was adopted on the basis of satisfactory results in the polity after independence. Thenceforth the system got institutionalised in constitutional provisions with sufficient autonomy in their internal regulation. This way the UPSC and PSC boards at centre and state level respectively came into existence. While as the UPSC board succeeded in evolving as institution of credibility the story of PSC boards is entirely different. These institutions are either stagnated due to lack of institutional capacity or the hush hush procedure amid RTI right. The case of JKPSC is no more different than other counterparts. Recent results of 2014 notification of highest state cadre posts came as bolt from blue for every aspirant who wishes of their exams to see the light of day. It’s in this backdrop that JKPSC issued notification of combined competitive exam in March 2106 for modest no of seats in KAS cadre. Although the selection of candidates for next level exam has been issued but the exam itself is in doldrums due to integrative factors. Half politics and half incapacity of JKPSC plays with highly intellectual property of state. What will be fate of exams slated to start from 15th of February? This question is hotbed issue of social media now. The present conundrum speaks volumes about normal functions of the institution which regulates its procedure with political interference. Where does lies the problem? There are multi-dimensional issues to be sorted out for transparency and fast track recruitment. Whenever it comes to procedure of filling KAS posts the erstwhile mechanism of ancient times is followed. If the UPSC evolves with time and refits the way and style of examination of civil service cadre, the credibility of JKPSC comes under scanner. In fact ours is a tragedy of fix to separately prepare for UPSC and JKPSC despite the same nature of recruitment viz civil service. The central choice of doing away with optional subject choice will open a reliable and impartial mechanism across subjects. This procedure would pave way to common standard for each aspirant in nip and tuck tune to UPSC style. On 2nd front the meagre share of J AND K in IAS cadre will improve by this decision because the parity between style of examination varies a lot now which was not the case in past. Our aspirants face an uphill task to prepare separately whenever timing coincides with each other. This reform shall come as immediately as align the potential resources on right path.
Thirdly the highly confidential produce raises eye brows on transparency thus worsening cycle of court stay and political interference. This is the case with pending notification of JKPSC which awaits mains exam from last two years. What will be its impact on youth? How can JKPSC defend its functionality? I am myself a liable witness of thick and thins of JKPSC and its complex mechanism to get selected as coveted KAS Officer. There’s a need to radically reform the public information wing or grievance redressal mechanism. It’s of no use to continue the procedure of merit secrecy and confidentiality in OMR sheets. The recent reform initiative of attaching carbon copy to preliminary exam OMR is a step in right direction. However the result along with merit of candidates will enhance the transparency of board. In fact this initiative will radically reduce the no of RTI queries. It will embark a new journey of UPSC style exam to do away with court interference in conducting examination. The recent petition of 429 candidates speaks volumes about complex procedure. Although the candidates don’t fall in merit but the grave injustice at hands of JKPSC can’t be left ignored. They would have taken the other route in career or for that matter the other choice which might have come in their way. While the court supported this argument the reply of JKPSC couldn’t acquire the support it expected. Hence there is an urgent need of reforms in the style of post examination procedure with quick possible mechanism to redress grievance of aggrieved candidates in previous stages. Fourthly the exam should be delineated from politics as is provided in constitution. To acclaim the credibility of autonomy JKPSC would have shown it by its functionality rather than submitting it in court for supporting exit of 429 candidates.
Unless and until the overhaul of JKPSC is not taken into consideration the collapse of system is not far from us. It will be remembered for times to come if the 15th February exams are again deferred. The only way out is to completely refit the management of JKPSC and someone like SIMRANDEEP SINGH be ensued with responsibility of credible institution to streamline the recruitment process. Everyone is in confusing state of affairs when it comes to preparing for civil services in strife torn KASHMIR which is very well stretched by Board. There’s a grapevine abuzz in streets about fate of examination from 15th February deferred on basis of elections. The politics of the day should not only abstain from interference but actively force JKPSC to streamline process for fats track recruitment. We don’t know how much time it will take but the surety of exams to be held from February 15th bangs the head of aspiring candidates. The sooner the institutions quickens like JKSSB the better it’s for management to sustain otherwise none but men in chair would be held guilty in court of public where nothing but court joins the conundrum. To regain the credibility of JKPSC is to show its impartiality in 15th February examination and to improve the transparency in institutional functioning. Let’s hope to get some bolt from blue albeit my pessimism. ……
(The writer hailing from Misribehak Machil Kupwara can be reached at: [email protected])