New Delhi: When the Narendra Modi government scrapped Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August last year, one of its marquee promises was 50,000 government jobs for Kashmiri youth within three months of the decision.
A year on, however, only 4,300 of those jobs have been given out, ThePrint has learnt.
Soon after the J&K’s special status was scrapped, then governor Satypal Malik announced 50,000 jobs in various government departments for Kashmiri locals, as part of the government’s development pitch for the region.
The Modi government had claimed even more vacancies in the new union territory. In reply to a parliamentary panel on 18 February this year, the Ministry of Home Affairs said there are over 84,000 vacancies in J&K, of which 22,078 are for Class IV employees, 54,375 for non-gazetted posts and 7,552 at the gazetted level.
The employment figures, a year on, don’t make for great reading as only 8 per cent of the 50,000 promised jobs have been filled. A source in the J&K administration told ThePrint that only 4,300 of these jobs have been filled so far.
According to the J&K administration, however, recruitments have been going on and “accelerated recruitment drives” launched, under which 10,000 posts would be filled in the first phase. Officials claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic has hindered the recruitment process.
“For a quick and transparent recruitment process for Class IV employees, we started special drives,” an official said. “Over 10,000 posts were also notified for an accelerated recruitment at all levels — doctors, vets, panchayat accounts assistants and Class IV employees. Around 7,052 posts were identified and the process had been smooth.”
He added, “It was all going well but the pandemic affected the process and slowed it down.”
Imran Dar, leader of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, however, said the administration was using the pandemic as an excuse.
“Covid-19 is a mere excuse. What was happening in the initial 6 months? Also, other bureaucratic offices are functional, everything else is happening, then why not recruitments?”
The domicile issue
Dar said the issue of the new domicile certificate, which is now mandatory for any government job in the union territory, was what was affecting recruitment.
“For any of these recruitment to be done, the candidates would now need this domicile certificate. For that they have to queue up outside government offices,” he said. “This is nothing but a way to make locals suffer. What was the need of this certificate when people already hold a permanent residency certificate?”
On 31 March, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020, by publishing a gazette notification.
Through the order, the MHA amended 109 laws and repealed 29 laws of the erstwhile J&K state. The MHA amended a 2010 legislation, the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment Act), by substituting the term “permanent residents” with “domiciles of UT [Union Territory] of J&K.”
This means an applicant would now need a domicile certificate to get any government job.
A second official from Srinagar, however, said the procedure and rules for the domicile certificate have been made very easy and accessible. Rules for domicile certificate had already been notified under The Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules, 2020, he added.
“The rules under the J&K Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rule, 2020, has prescribed a very simple and time-bound procedure for issuance of domicile certificates,” he said.
“PRC holders will be eligible for a domicile certificate on the basis of their PRCs alone and no other document shall be required in their case,” he added. “Kashmiri migrants too can get the domicile certificate on production of either a PRC or certificate of registration as a migrant.”
He said the authorities have been asked to issue these expeditiously. There shall be a timeline of 15 days for issuance of the certificate, after which, the applicant shall be free to approach an appellate authority, said the official.
‘Recruitment an ongoing process’
According to a senior official in the J&K administration, the 4,300 posts that were filled in the last one year are from across departments and not necessarily from the pool of these 10,000 jobs that were announced as part of the accelerated recruitment.
“These 10,000 jobs are a separate basket that is under the accelerated recruitment drives. In fact, 25,000 more vacancies will be added to this in the coming days,” the official said.
He added that recruitment is an ongoing process and has been happening.
“It will be wrong to say that enough recruitment hasn’t happened. It is an ongoing process. These recruitment are being done under several components,” he said.
According to the official, vacancies have been opened not only in government departments but also in the private sector.
“There is a lot of employment from ongoing projects that are being planned,” he said. “Projects worth Rs 50,000 crore are happening, which include building of tunnels, roads, water & electrical works, cables are being laid, grids being made. For all this, skilled and unskilled labour are also being employed.”
‘An easy process’
According to the official, the process for recruitment has been simplified in the UT to encourage more people to apply and fill the posts at the earliest.
“To simplify the process and cut down all delays, the departments concerned have been asked to make necessary modifications in their relevant Recruitment Rules,” the official said.
“A committee has been formed to identify the posts and expedite the process. For some, we do not even have interviews, only written tests. An online portal has been started to further smoothen the process,” he added.
Moreover, additional weightage to various marginalised categories has also been announced.
“In order to give benefit to the marginalised sections comprising widows, divorced, judicially separated women and orphan girls, an additional weightage of five marks shall be given to such candidates,” he said. “Similarly, an additional weightage of five marks shall be given to those candidates with no family member in government service.”