Tuesday, October 3, 2006

In JK, Govt doesn't respect merit

Resentment brewing in KAS cadre
NASEER A GANAI
Srinagar, Oct 3: The recent government order to promote four officers of the Cooperative Department to higher posts in other departments has again brought focus on Combined Civil Services Examination or KAS with officers of prime feeding services accusing the government of making a mockery of merit. 
Last week the government passed two orders promoting Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Deputy Registrar Cooperative as Assistant Commissioner Development in Rural Development Department, Ghulam Rasool Kar, Deputy Registrar Cooperative has been posted in higher cadre in other department, Tanveer Iqbal, Deputy Registrar Cooperative as SDM Mahore, Anuradha, Deputy Registrar as Development Officer in Handicrafts. 
The promotion of these four officers who, according to Under Secretaries in Revenue Department, were figuring in “least priority department” after they qualified the KAS examination in 1999, has caused resentment among the officers in the Secretariat and the Revenue services. 
“There are 17 feeding cadres and candidates are allotted feeding services as per the merit. The toppers get Secretariat, Revenue services and other services and those who with lower merit get Cooperative and Stationary services,” said an Under Secretary. 
He said government by promoting four officials as ACDs has made mockery of the merit list. “Tomorrow when they will be confirmed and they people will be our seniors,” he added. The officers say if the government had to promote some officials why did it choose those who stood at the tail of merit list. 
It is not the first time when officers are feeling dejected by government’s handling of the issue. Earlier, there was row over the induction of junior KAS. In 1999, 260 candidates qualified the CCS with 81 and 32 joining the Police and the Accounts services respectively and six candidates were designated as junior KAS. 
In 2002, another batch came up and in it four candidates were taken into junior KAS. Now as the induction of 1999 batch officers seems remote possibility, these four candidates who are many years junior to them will be officers of their seniors. 
The officers say Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Service Rules suffer from inherent deficiencies, and the objective of providing equal opportunities to officers selected through Combined Competitive Examination is not being achieved. In some services, they say, the faulty system also helps candidates with lower merit to get an opportunity of induction before the candidates with higher merits where the vacancies have not become available for one or the other reason. 
They argue that the Combined Service Officers as a whole should be an exclusive group, who come through a common entrance test or a competitive examination conducted by the PSC. And logically, this group should be promoted to the next scales on the basis of their merit obtained in the competitive examinations notwithstanding their allocation of services, which can at best be treated as an administrative exigency, they said. 
Sources said the government had earlier constituted Establishment Committee headed by former Chief Secretary Vijay Bakaya to frame common seniority for KAS. The committee agreed that the common seniority should be framed for the KAS, sources said. But then proposal was never tabled before the cabinet. 
However, Chief Secretary C Phunsog described the promotions as ad hoc ones and said that the government was seriously thinking over common seniority. He said the government was examining common seniority proposal and wants that it should be on the pattern of the IAS and other competitive services. He said he could understand the resentment among the officials who were at higher position in merit list but under old rules they were not getting benefit. 
The Commissioner Secretary General Administrative Department, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai describes promotion of the four officials as interim measure. He said they have been promoted under replacement method following vacancies of some posts occupied by officers who were originally from Cooperative services. 
Ganai said the government was seriously considering combined seniority for combined services as per the merit list of the examination. He agreed that presently the merit list gets disturbed due to replacement method. 
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