KESS prelims agonises many

“Nowhere in India can you see preliminary examination being conducted for this kind of service. It disrobes the sinister motives of the PSC higher ups to favour a few,” Abdul Rashid Ahangar, an aspirant told Kashmir Life.
Like Kashmir Administrative Service, the state’s equivalent of IAS, KESS resembles IESS at state level. Ahanger said there is no reason to hold preliminary test for a technical post like KESS. “On one hand it takes PSC  years to complete the selection process of KAS and on the other the they introduce bizarre innovations in KESS defying norms and rules. They are making a mockery of the selection process,” Ahangar added.  
Ghulam Hassan Tantray, Secretary PSC, told Kashmir Life that the preliminary examination was introduced to tackle a “large number of applicants”.
“We had about 10,000 applicants this year. It was very difficult to conduct the examination directly, so we introduced a screening test  to reduce the number of candidates for the main examination,” Tantray said. He added that if candidates were not prepared, PSC could extend the examination date by 15 days.
Another problem, aspirants say, is that prescribed syllabus ignores general studies regarding various aspects of Jammu and Kashmir and instead has consigned 80 percent of the content to Indian history, economy, polity and geography.
“Usually in such examinations, the state holds sway over syllabus constituting 80 percent of it. It is the practice in vogue in all other states of India. However, here PSC brazenly tamper with the rules which mostly go against Kashmiris,” a PSC official wishing anonymity said.
PSC Secretary Tantray, however, said that rules were not static. “We can frame them according to our needs. The General Studies syllabus is in vogue throughout India, so it should not intimidate candidates here.”  
KESS is equivalent to KAS, but the eligibility is restricted to post graduates of five subjects – Commerce, Computer Applications, Economics, Mathematics or Statistics. For KAS a candidate has to be a graduate.
Like KAS, the number of selected candidates for KESS from Jammu region is several times that of their Kashmiri counterparts. Last time, among the 33 selected, a meagre seven belonged to Kashmir.
“A lot needs to be done to make Kashmiris aware of KESS which is no less than KAS. Although concerned sons of the soil have wooed a large number of candidates to apply for KAS, even some have volunteered to provide books and study material to the needy aspirants, yet for KESS indifference and ignorance prevail,” Mushtaq Ahmad, an aspirant said.
This time, PSC has notified 95 posts for KESS, but aspirants say that they don’t get the required help or guidance. Many hold college and university teachers responsible for the “dismal academic support”.
“Kashmir University has become a resting place for teachers who relish in the glory of individual research papers that can help them get fellowships outside the valley. Their contribution to the society is wavering around zero for so long now,” said Khursheed Teli, an agitated aspirant.
Echoing similar concerns another aspirant Bilal Maqbool said the environment at Jammu University gives an edge to candidates from Jammu. “In Jammu University teachers are cooperative, scholars are courteous and senior students are helpful. In contrast nobody from Kashmir University lends selfless help to the aspirants,” Maqbool said.

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