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Perplexing nature of Job Policies in our State!

A state may turn into a progressive one when its candidates have preparations towards a better future. They do everything right in our state of Jammu and Kashmir but with little assurance to earn a good life ahead. Many times they are clueless as our state changes job policies like its changing seasons. Besides there is no promise and guaranteed future with the said policies and hence results the defeat of the policy objectives as well as the deserving candidates. There are huge disparities as certain jobs are accorded special status while for others doing job results in tragedies and humiliations.
SRO 202 is one such policy which was issued by Government of Jammu and Kashmir in 2015 and remains applicable thereafter. These rules apply to all non-gazetted posts borne on the establishment of any department or service 111 of the Government and such gazetted post, as may be notified by the Government from time to time. The appointments to all non-gazetted posts borne on the establishment of any Department or Service of the Government shall be made by the Government on temporary basis on the basis of the selection made by the Selection Committee. The job policy was implemented by the PDP-BJP government under which an employee is paid basic salary (INR 7000-8000) for five years after being appointed. However, the appointees shall be entitled to annual increment and all allowances only after successful completion of five years service on consolidated salary. The policy has attracted mixed reactions and opinions. There are other schemes as well which have failed miserably in Jammu & Kashmir and in fact de-motivated the young and energetic candidates.
Mostly there is widespread resentment but the government had so far not shown any inclination to change it. There is a loud appeal to revoke the policy as it is not going well with the objectives and satisfaction of the promising candidates as well as the existing appointees…
Madni Zahoor Ahmad speaks, “Khudaaya job policy se najaat deladena” (God save us from job policy). Aditya Sharma, in a serious response to an article ‘revocation of SRO 202’ by Raja Muzaffar Bhatresponds, “This has reference to the article ‘SRO 202 violated minimum wages’ published in DE some time ago. My father passed away before I was born. My mother brought me up with her Rs 8000 salary. Living in poverty and studying second hand books, I left behind thousands of other candidates in this cut throat competition to get a Government job. I’m posted 50 kms away from home and get paid around Rs 6000. I still have to take money from my mother to keep myself afloat. It’s really depressing and if SRO 202 not revoked, I’ll have to resign”. Vivek Chadha says, “Govt. should watch and revoke this SRO 202 seriously or we will watch and revoke this PDP and BJP Govt. in elections seriously. Irfan Khan in a serious note writes, “It’s not by choice, it’s by compulsion because people don’t have any alternatives available. Are you trying to say that those willing to work should continue begging in front of you for few pennies and those who are not willing may leave???Leave all your luxuries and your facilities for a month and I will give you Rs 7000 for that month and you show us how you will take care of yourself along with your family, then we will follow it!!!”
It is fair on part of Govt. to look at unemployment numbers, rising population and literacy levels that a maximum number of candidates will be accommodated by these policies. They have reasons that if someone doesn’t have milk but at least he can cover his basic needs with the small wages fetched. In other words we can say that something is better than nothing. But a serious consideration is whether it will really motivate or simply backfire and defeat our good talent in the State? Another matter of concern is that on one side we will pay meager salary (INR. 3000) but on other side we are ready for implementation of Seventh pay commission (where salary is 10 times more than jobs under policies), thus resulting in huge disparities. Besides the market prices are skyrocketing where only a limited section enjoys privileges and have huge ability to pay. But on the other side, we have a major section that in spite of good role in jobs always suffer and have less affordability to pay. Even they are not able to cover their basic needs. How can these job policies be justified?
More recently Govt. advertised huge number of temporary posts for teachers and lecturers at the district levels with monthly salary fixed as INR. 3000 and 7000 respectively. The same policy was initiated few years ago but the candidates received pathetic treatments after being selected on merit and serving better. Alas! We have govt. policies more volatile. We have one govt. acting as a savior and the formation of new one will put deserving candidates to dark just because they are not in a mood to support previous govt.’s initiative. Few years ago, one of my close relative was selected as a teacher on merit under the said policy…She left her private job with high expectations from the Govt. job. Next there was change in Govt. and scheme was called off and her job survived not more than a period of three months. She lost her promising govt. job as well as her previous private job. Besides she had to suffer a huge financial loss which she could have easily earned in her private job…She is not an exception as there were many others who left private jobs but had to suffer badly. There were brighter expectations that sometime ahead they will be regularized in a govt. job. More pathetic was they were not even paid fully for their small work with small wages. There were candidates who may have developed the suicidal tendency because of such failed schemes. Who is to be blamed- policies or the candidates themselves? The deserving candidates have faith and blindly trust those confusing policies!
More recently, J&K Government approved a hike in ‘Minimum Wages’ for skilled and unskilled labourers, and administrative/ministerial labour. The Govt. approved the hike in ‘Minimum Wages’ for ‘unskilled’ labour from Rs 150 to Rs 225, while in case of skilled labour, wages were hiked from Rs 225 to Rs 300. Besides Labour Department abolished the category of ‘semi-skilled’ labour while ‘highly-skilled’ category was introduced for which rate has been fixed at Rs 400 / day.In case of administrative/ ministerial staff, wages have been raised from Rs. 200 to 325. Looking at the figures, now the minimum wages for unskilled workers are above INR 6000 and INR 12000 for highly skilled workers. But the teachers selected on merit have to work on a meager salary of INR 3000 and 7000. Moreover, highly skilled workers (Engineering graduates etc.) are given INR 7000-8000 as per SRO 202 but there should be INR 12000 as per minimum wage policy. The job policies are highly confusing and challenging Govt.’s own minimum wage considerations. The universities and colleges also appoint the lecturers under many policies with huge income disparities and hence produce higher de-motivation levels.
One senior school head master while raising the concern said that that the appointees under the new policies are found highly de-motivated. They never justify with their talent. They go to classes with less confidence defeating their high potential. Besides they are always ready to change when any opportunity knocks to them. It is solely because when they see the other regular teachers with same responsibilities but given high perks and rewards. We have also seen the failure of engagement of RT scheme (Rehbar-e-Taleem Scheme) where most of the schools at the initial level had attracted good number of students. But a very low salary for initial years, posed a huge challenge for teachers. This led to decreasing motivations and ultimately decreasing number of students in such schools.
The mismanaged policies pose a greater challenge and threat to the talent and future of our state. More pity is when the sufferers covered under the policies demand justice they are beaten to pulp and given harsh treatments which further pushes the system to dark ages. It demands huge introspection where our policies and education system is heading? It is right and appreciable to think of creating more and more opportunities but it should not result in a collapse and defeating the system. The policymakers need to think deep and better so that the policies implemented are equitable and achieve the motivations as well as the good objectives of our state.
(The author is Assistant Professor, ITM University Gwalior and can be reached at: [email protected])