On Nagaland recruitment policy

On Nagaland recruitment policy

Over the past few days, #NagalandDemandsStaffSelectionBoard has become a top trend among users of micro-blogging site Twitter from the state.
Give meritocracy its ‘due,’ down with corruption, manipulation, nepotism etc are some of the comments being tweeted by users, many attaching an info graphic image of Arunachal Pradesh Cabinet approving Draft Bill of for constitution of Staff Selection Board (SSB) in the state on June 29, 2018.

In a message in December, Chief Minister Pema Khandu stated that the ‘historic’ decision of the AP government to constitute has ‘taking its full shape’ with the launch of SSB’s website, adding that the move necessitated was by “rampant discrepancies and nepotism” effected during recruitment processes in various government departments.” The objective is to bring fairness in the recruitment process promoting meritocracy and provide equal opportunity to all eligible and deserving youth of the State “whose job has been taken by an underserved,” the State Chief Secretary, then noted. All the Group ‘C’ post in government consequently are routed through SSB and the latest updates on its website was an extension of “Online forms submission for “LDC Cum-Computer Operator, JSA, U.D.C and Personal Assistant (Steno-III).”

Nationally, there is Staff Selection Commission (SSC) to recruit staff for various posts in the various Ministries and Departments of the Government of India and in Subordinate Offices or “conducting examinations for recruitment to lower categories of posts.” The SSC’s Vision & Mission statement, among others, include the selection of suitable candidates in an objective and transparent manner at the group ‘B’ (Non-Gazetted) and group ‘C’ (Non-Technical) levels and to ensure total objectivity and impartiality in recruitment.

In Nagaland, there are departmental exams. Ideally and presumably, such exams are conducted to select best candidates suited for the department to improve governance and service delivery. However, it is often alleged that such processes are facades for ‘openly’ circumventing discrepancies – or regularising the obvious.

The issue of discrepancies in appointment and “Direct Recruitment without publically inviting applications” had been a recurring affliction in Nagaland with the government unfailingly issuing circulars and Office Memorandums (OMs) against such practices, going back as early as July 7, 1976. But no solution is in sight.

Ergo, an acute sense of déjà vu prevails whenever the government announces its intention to curb the anomalies, which seldom generate corrective action notwithstanding the lip-servicing to quell any iota of prevailing public indignation.

Notably, the Public Service Aspirants of Nagaland (PSAN), formed in 2016 by like-minded civil service aspirants, has been demanding, among others, ‘immediate termination of all backdoor/contractual appointments to posts which are under the purview of NPSC’ and ‘immediate requisition of all the posts with a Grade pay of Rs. 2800 and above’ to Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC). Last year, the forum also submitted a proposal State CM calling for an SSC/SSB in the state.

On the other end, a writ petition was filed in Gauhati High Court, Kohima Bench in February 2019 over the alleged ‘backdoor appointments’ in the Higher Education. The biggest fallout of the present of ‘irregular appointments’ in the higher education, The Morung Express had earlier commented, is making “villains out of several qualified educated job seekers” due to the perpetuation of a systematic decay while denying the basic fundamental rights of equal opportunity in employment guaranteed by the constitution. A similar concern was included in the ‘Charter of Demand’ by the All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU), accepted by Government. Follow verbal commitment with action, the Naga Students’ Federation has urged thereafter.

The first issue could be corrected either by bringing more categories of jobs under NPSC or constituting an SSB or similar entity for lower category of services. For the higher education, empanelment of eligible candidates, as followed in Delhi or other Universities, could be a way out, for contractual engagement, while taking the NPSC route for the permanent recruitment.

The present People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) has made lofty promises on issue of governance and transparency while the manifesto of its largest constituent declared to strive towards “achievement of meritocracy culture” including a transparent and simple procedure for filing all government vacancies as reward for hard work.

The simple procedure could be the constitution of the Staff Selection Board or other mechanism to curb anomalies, and thereby, rewarding hard work.