Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing a history in the making. The administration under Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is rewriting the norms for the new normal which marks the turnaround after the revocation of Article 370.
The Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) recently issued recruitment advertisement for the 2022 Jammu Kashmir administrative and police services in less than 24 hours after it received the request from the government. It set even higher standards of efficiency and commitment by declaring the result for the 2021 JKPSC examination within three hours after the conclusion of the interview of the last candidate. Further, entire process for filling up the vacancies for the post of Veterinary Assistant Surgeons in Jammu and Kashmir was completed in a record time of six months!
The promptness with which JKPSC is doing its job cannot be seen in isolation. The entire Jammu and Kashmir administration is at work. The administration under LG Sinha is committed to deliver on promises and meet the expectations of the people with respect to welfare measures. The promise to provide employment and timely delivery of services both require filling up of government posts.
The government has directed identification of vacancies in various departments that need to be filled to ensure efficiency in governance. An elaborate exercise is being carried out by various government departments and reportedly over 26,000 posts, including non-Gazetted posts, have already been identified. A large number of these vacancies will be referred to the JKPSC.
The task is not easy. Apart from meeting the deadlines, the Commission has to win the confidence of the people by making the process fair, impartial and transparent. The commission has already geared up to meet the challenge.
To ensure objectivity in the selection process, the Rules were recently amended to provide for a written examination and reduce the weightage for interview to do away with the element of subjectivity which has plagued the system so far. The Commission has already demonstrated that it will be able to do away with the delay and backlogs.
The Commission had been able to conduct only the preliminary test in one full year for the 2021 PSC examination. But subsequently it prioritized the process after the 2022 PSC vacancies were announced. It conducted the main examination which was followed by interview and the result for the 2021 PSC examination was declared on January 19, 2022 within three hours after the conclusion of the interview.
The 2022 PSC examination is expected to conclude by July 2023. Thereafter, the avowed target of making selections on an annual basis is likely to be achieved.
The Commission had recommended thousands of appointments in record time, apart from conducting departmental examinations and promotions to do away with stagnancy in service. In many departments, there had been no promotions since decades. The motivation of the existing work force in various departments will go a long way in building a new J&K.
The change in the selection procedure will enable the government recruit the best and transform the work culture. So far, the selection was on the basis of academic record and interview. In the absence of uniformity in marking across universities, many talented candidates were not even shortlisted for interview and many others missed the bus with scope for subjectivity at the stage of interview.
The transformation of JKPSC has left the past behind. It has reinvigorated the government machinery and has also strengthened the confidence of the people in the system. The overhaul of the Commission clearly seems to be at the centre of Lieutenant Governor Sinha’s blueprint for a new beginning for Jammu and Kashmir.
(Anika Nazir is a Srinagar-based political commentator and social activist. Her Twitter handle is @i_anika_nazir. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.)