‘Insufficiently’ recruited

State’s new job policy is breeding a sense of discontentment among the selected youth owing to the meagre remuneration it offers to them. Bilal Handoo details the dejected side which the policy has created

JobsJammu and Kashmir’s 54 per cent voters—age between 20 and 40, are brewing with ‘discontentment’. And the instant trigger is the vow by Omar Abdullah on January 5, 2013: 80,000 youth to be recruited in government service soon. But 14 months later, some 16,000 selected youth under the job policy are rueing that they are getting peanuts in the name of salary!

“I was selected under non-gazetted category for teacher’s post last year,” said Saleem Ali, 29, a resident of Budgam. “I was expected to get Rs 5,000 as basic pay, but, all I am getting is Rs 3,000.” But Ali isn’t alone who has been engaged through much touted job policy by incumbent state government. There are plenty others who are bearing the brunt of ‘insufficient’ pay.

In the last summer, Hamid Khan from Srinagar was selected as an accountant under the policy. But while his colleagues are getting five figures salary, Khan ends up getting Rs 3,000 per month. “It is very frustrating,” he said. “I think, I made a wrong choice to opt for the government job!” But regret of securing job under the policy isn’t confined to few; it has already swelled to scores.

It started in 2011, when Omar Abdullah led coalition government courted ‘trouble’ by introducing an amended recruitment policy. The ‘fixed salary mode of recruitment in the non-gazetted categories’ was introduced and was aimed at to cut down the costs in the state—reeling under, heavy financial burden. But the policy was unanimously opposed by youth of J&K.

The move was seen as a “wrong policy to further alienate the youth”. The affected youth believed that the policy was “unacceptable”—since, they were already hit by unemployment.

And the end result: the step triggered protests by the student community across the state.

As per the policy, a fresh recruit would get only 50 per cent of the basic pay for the first two years and 75 per cent for the next three years. No allowances are payable. The rules cover the Class III and IV posts in the state government. The allowances—such as DA, HRA, CCA and annual increments, shall start only after completion of five years of service.

“It is ironic,” said Sofi Ajaz, a social activist and Aam Aadmi Party’s worker from Batamaloo, “while the ministers draw close to Rs 100,000 per month from the government’s coffers; educated youth are made to suffer.”

While speaking at the rally organised to celebrate four years of his government, Omar Abdullah in the winter of 2013 announced fast track recruitment of 80,000 educated youth in government services within few months.

The move, however, made many political parties to react—that too, very sharply.

The patron of principal opposition party of the state PDP, Mufti Sayeed dubbed the job policy as “cruel joke” with the educated unemployed youth of the state.

Sofi Ajaz
Sofi Ajaz

“Job policy of the state government has failed to yield any result,” he said. “Only noticeable achievement of the government is auctioning government jobs in open market.”

But the fact of matter remains: more than 80,000 Rehbar-e-Talim (ReT) teachers were appointed during PDP-Congress coalition government in the state. And many say: even their plight is no different from the educated youth engaged by Omar Abdullah led coalition government.

Even BJP reacted; and its Parliamentary candidate for Udhampur-Doda seat, Jitendra Singh said that the 50 per cent salary rule under the job policy will alienate the youth. “It is an injustice,” he said, “to pay only Rs 2,800 to a new employee who is officially in the Rs 5,200-Rs 20,200 grade.”

The future of the youth, many believe, has been turned “totally bleak” with the job policy—which merely provides non-pensionable posts. As per official figures the number of unemployed youth in the state was recorded at 1.6 lakh about five years back. And half a decade later, the figure has now gone up to over 6 lakh! Besides, central package for these unemployed youth is yet to see the light.

But as the election wave is sweeping across the state, politicians continue to seek the votes by wooing youth and vowing for their welfare schemes. “This is utter hypocrisy,” Ajaz said. “These are the same politicians who first engaged youth in petty jobs and now, are asking for their support for clearing decks to enter into Indian Parliament. It is simply, pathetic!”

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