Withdraw discriminatory SRO 202

Sachin Sharma
After the transformation of Jammu Kashmir from State into Union Territory, a slew of promises made by Union Government to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and rendered them believe that a dawn would indeed be coming to rejuvenate their lives.
The employees recruited under unjust J&K State policy of SRO 202 of 30.06.2015 have huge expectations from this transformation. Union Government announced that all the JK UT employees would get all the allowances as recommended by 7th Pay Commission like Travelling Allowances, Child Education Allowances, Hostel Allowance, LTC etc. However, there was no mentioning of SRO 202 inflicted employees who were not even getting the allowances the other employees of erstwhile state were getting paid like DA, HRA, CCA, no NPS contributions, no annual increments etc.
The SRO-202 was issued by the General Administration Department with effect from June 30, 2015 running under the Jammu and Kashmir Special Recruitment Rules, 2015. SRO 202 has some inhibitory provisions for employees especially in the form of Rule 8 and Rule 9. Rule 8, which deals with nature of appointment, states: “A person appointed under these Rules shall be initially on probation for a period of five years and after completion of five years he or she shall be declared permanent subject to passing of such tests or successfully undergoing such training provided under the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956”. This Rule further reads: “The appointee shall have to necessarily work for a period of five years on the post against which he has been appointed and such appointee shall not be eligible for transfer for whatsoever reason during the temporary service of five years”. Rule 9 states: During the period of first five years, the appointee shall be entitled to the minimum scale of the pay along with the grade pay applicable to the post against which he is appointed. “Every appointee after completion of five years period on probation shall be entitled to fixation of pay in the time scale of pay applicable to the post against which he is appointed”. Moreover, in Rule 7 of SRO 202, it is stated that the recruitment to any post via this new scheme would be completed on fast track basis (within 3 months) but most of the recruitment processes took upto 3 years.
The long probation of five years, as scripted in SRO 202, is per se a violation of JK CSR Rules, 1956 which states that the probation of newly recruited employees would be of two years. The culture, of granting the first annual increment from sixth year, it seeks to establish would have long lasting detrimental effect on the aggrieved employees. The Dearness Allowance (DA) paid to government employees is inflation-indexed. How can the SRO 202 employees believed to be immune against inflation? Most of the recruited employees have been posted in hard zones and there is no provision of their transfers for five years. Inspite of rewarding them with incentives to serve in the less-served regions, they are actually being deprived of their due rights.
It is pertinent to mention here that all the posts notified for recruitment after 30.06.2015 have not been put under SRO 202. For instance, recruitment for KAS 2016 (Jammu Kashmir Combined Competitive Entrance Examination 2016) vide Notification No. PSC/EXM/2016/52 dated : 18.06.2016, Assistant Professors for different subjects in Higher Education Department vide Notification No.10-PSC (DR-P) of 2017 dated 27.10.2017, KAS 2018 (Jammu Kashmir Combined Competitive Entrance Examination 2018) vide notification no. PSC/Exam/2018/38 dated: 25.05.2018 etc were not combined with SRO 202. Such exclusions and inclusion of rest of posts, including some of the gazetted posts like 10+2 Lecturers, Medical Officers, Veterinary Surgeons etc, under the ambit of SRO 202 are totally illogical, discriminatory and flawed illustrations of retarded policy making. Such policies by the state would lead to disheartened brigade of employees with lesser efficacy, choleric temperament, higher tendency of drifting towards unethical ways of meeting their ends.
SRO 202 was brought into effect by erstwhile State Government citing the rationale of financial constraints. Annual budget of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for upcoming Financial Year of 2020-21 will be approved by the Parliament in its budget session and it is estimated that this will be for the first time that budget of Jammu and Kashmir will surpass Rs one lakh crore. During 2019-20 financial year, Jammu and Kashmir’s budget was to the tune of Rs 88,911 crore. With such a hike in Budget allocation for a region of erstwhile state excluding Ladakh, the rationale behind introducing SRO 202 cease to have its validity in new UT set up.
Putting in nutshell, SRO 202 needs to be discontinued so that the employees get their rightful dues. The recommendations of Law Commission once again rekindled the hopes of the aggrieved employees. These recommendations must be implemented in letter and spirit as early as possible. In addition, periodical annual increments should be granted notionally from the date of first appointment. Moreover, if there is still any financial implications involved, the differential approach of keeping some posts like Assistant Professors, KAS etc out of SRO202 needs to be revisited and putting in place across all posts a uniform probation period of two years entitled to the minimum scale of the pay along with the grade pay.
(The author is Lecturer Biotechnology, School Education Department)