by Tahir Bhat
SRINAGAR: As Jammu & Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) has issued admit cards for Combined Competitive Examination (CCE), Preliminary, 2022, aspirants waiting for age-related concerns have been left high and dry.
Aspirants, the number of whom may run in large numbers, find it difficult to see their dreams of serving Jammu and Kashmir in various capacities ending suddenly.
In April 2022, JKPSC released the notification of the CCE (Preliminary) examination 2022. The Commission has notified a total of 220 vacancies. However, the age for the Open Merit was restricted to 32, while for reserved categories it was kept to 32.
Later as aspirants urged the government to review the age clause given the norms followed in other states of India, LG Manoj Sinha, in May issued directions to relax the criteria.
Resultantly, after the intervention from the Raj Bhawan, the notification was issued on May 11, 2022, in which the upper age limit for Open Merit was taken to 35 years, and for reserved and in-service candidates, it was raised to 37 years. The physically challenged candidates were given an upper mark of 38 years.
Aspirants left out in the new notification urged the administration led by LG Manoj Sinha to reconsider the decision of keeping the upper age limit to only 35 years.
The aspirants appeal that the relaxation should have been given from 32 to 37 years, the age bar which was in vogue in previous examinations. “We request the government to allow youth of J&K who have crossed 35 years to compete in the competitive examination for one last time by keeping the upper age bar at 37 as was the case previously,” said Shahid Hamid, an aspirant preparing for the exam from last two years, adding, “given the welfare measures taken by LG Manoj Sinha, this door of opportunity should not be closed.
He further said that “this year there are better prevailing conditions given the pandemic and other situations around, so the administration should give this chance as grace for the aspirants falling beyond the bar.”
While reaching out to LG Sinha, more than 40 aspirants met him in person and they were assured of a resolution by a committee led by Chief Secretary, Arun Kumar Mehta. “Interacted with JKAS aspirants earlier today at Raj Bhawan. The young dreams of a good future are not limited to self but they also seek a good future for J&K and the nation. Have assured them that a committee under the supervision of the Chief Secretary will look into their concerns,” tweeted LG Sinha.
However, before the committee would have come out with a way out, JKPSC issued admit cards for the examination to be held on July 31, 2022. This decision has left a number of aspirants high and dry.
“As we talked to LG Sahab, he was kind and considerate in listening to our request and assured us of help and immediately issued direction to have a committee to look into our concerns, “said an aspirant wishing anonymity, adding that “by issuing admit cards, neither the word of Hon’ble LG was honored nor the committee was considered.”
Another aspirant, Murtaza Ali told Kashmir Life that “we seek relaxation to make J&K at par with other states of our country, and this is not something which is being done for the first time.”
Giving example, he said that recently Odhisa cabinet increased the upper age limit for state civil services from 32 years to 38 years. This is beyond the relaxations given in reserved categories.
Terming it as a contradiction, another aspirant Muhammad Hanief said that “at UT level we see attempts being made for relaxing age-related norms for J&K aspirants for appearing in UPSC, but here the same age is being curtailed.”
Falling in the bracket of having one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, Jammu and Kashmir as per the June data have 17.2% unemployment to its kitty. This coupled with a lack of opportunities makes it more severe.
The aspirants, citing various reasons, urge the government to give it a considerate thought so that a large number of youth don’t go disappointed.
Imran Assad, a candidate who has already qualified for the prelims last year and appeared in mains this year has also age concern. He told Kashmir Life that “the JKPSC has copied the style from UPSC without giving it a thought that they conduct examinations smoothly every year as per the calendar, but here we have a lot many disruptions.” He urged that “given the commitment of conducting examinations every year from now onwards, JKPSC should relax norms for the last time so that there won’t be regrets.”
Reminding LG Sinha of his promise during the meeting, the aspirants said they are “hopeful of a resolution from the man who is driven by the desire of helping J&K youth.”