It has not been only in J&K but in other Indian states too that in recent years an era of exploitation of educated / qualified unemployed youth living under socio-economic stresses and desperately looking for some employment for bread earning had started where even the governments started recruiting youth for performing jobs against regular vacancies @ wages / terms of services much inferior to otherwise prescribed for such like public service jobs like employment on contractual basis or by framing inferior recruitment rules like as were ordered by Omar Abdullah lead J&K Government under order No 257 F of 2011 on 27 Oct 2011 laying down ‘Modalities’ for fixed salary mode of Recruitment in Non-Gazetted categories for class-IV, III / other Non gazetted posts where under appointee was paid around 1/3rd of due wages for some years and after that through SRO 202 of 30-06-2015 PDP lead J&K Government ordered J&K Special Recruitment Rules, 2015 where under during first five years the employed had to not only remain on probation but were also paid lowest of the wage in grade without any allowances & increments till the period of probation was over. Even MBBS degree holders were appointed as medical officers against regular vacancies and post graduates had been forced to take appointments under such service conditions as primary school teachers/ junior clerks. Although it had been with continued representations but as soon as proper feedback could reach the LT Governor Manoj Sinha all the bads have been washed away with the issue of S.O. 425 on 06-09-2022 relieving thousands already employed and those seeking employment of unbearable stresses.
No doubt there are still ‘some categories of jobs’ which are ‘more’ demanding and are no less than regular jobs but the appointees are still not been paid wages as would be due for performing same job as regular appointee but wages paid are also too inadequate to meet minimal daily/ family needs. Only reason for such discrepancies could be that those heading the Government ( like LG in J&K) are not provided unbiased feedback for such types of inadequacies / unfair treatments as otherwise once convinced it should be hoped that atleast the present administration / Government in J&K and UT of Ladakh would surely remove such unfair policies as has been done by LG Manoj Sinha by getting issued S.O. 425 on 06-09-2022 undoing the bad policies/ rules like SRO -202 of 30-06-2015 and it shadows resting in SO 192 of 17-06-2020 which was a very cruel tool shaped by even “elected J&K government” to exploit the needy youth who were appointed even against regular substantive post ( even that of Assistant Surgeons/ Medical Officers in Health Department).
Such policies of employing the needy youth on reduced terms of employment not only affect the working of the employed but also damage the interests of the community to which they are supposed to serve like if a teacher is poorly paid surely since one is under socio- financial stresses the kids/ students too do not receive proper attention from him/her, number of heads employed for teaching do increase with those employed under schemes like Rahbar e Taleem but the number of “teachers” does not increase. Similar is the case of youth who are appointed as Special Police Officers in UT of J&K ( there numbers may be more than 30000 ) on a consolidated salary of just Rs.6000/pm ( before 2019 it was Rs.3000/pm and it has been only when Union Home Minister Amit Shah intervened to make it Rs.6000 per month for review after 3 years to make it Rs.9000/ pm ) who on ground are required to perform the same duty as is performed by regular police constables. No doubt with high degree of unemployment still many youth apply for SPO post hoping that may be one day they become regular. It was reported in media 01-12-2019 that over 77,000 candidates applied in response to SPO recruitment drive of the Jammu and Kashmir Police to fill about 5,200 posts of Special Police Officers (51,047 youths applied for the SPO recruitment in the Jammu region and 26,594 in Kashmir valley).This clearly shows under what economic stresses/ compulsions the youth is living.
The recruitment of SPOs is being regularly made over last 3 decades and hence it is no less than a regular recruitment of police force. It has been learnt that in August 2019 there were around 10821 SPOs with more than 15 yr service, 5132 SPOs with 10 yr completed services, 3436 SPOs with 5yr completed service ,1134 SPOs with 3 yrs completed service and 8590 SPOs with less than 3 yr service.
Firstly it is exploitation of the needy, secondly the appointee always remains under financial stresses & hence under social stresses also where as one has to perform a job that requires total involvement / high level of truthfulness & sincerity / preparedness worth even risking one’s life. It was reported on 28-09-2018 that J&K Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam was so much concerned for the cause of SPOs that he wrote to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba on September 24 opining that “given the risks that SPOs are likely to face in performing their duties and the threats to their lives, there is a need to pay ‘experienced’ SPOs a slightly higher rate that would also motivate them to work in difficult circumstances”.
Union Home Ministry had in 2019 considered the proposals passionately and ordered increases in consolidated wages with length of engagement/ service ( those with min 15 yrs of service Rs.18000/pm, with 10 yrs but less than 15 yrs of service Rs.15000/pm, with five yrs and less than 10 Yrs service Rs.12000/pm and with 3yrs but less than 5 years service Rs.9000/pm and with f less than 3 yrs service Rs.6000/pm). . Imagine the family needs of a person who serves for 15 years and then only gets Rs.18000/- per month having travelled through years of inflation.
Those affected have started looking in the person of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha ( who has already made some daring corrections ) with great hopes hoping that he would be also be proposing to Home Ministry for awarding a regular pay scale to the SPOs.
Similarly are unduly under-employed thousands of young women working in the Anganwadi Scheme of GOI (Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoW&CD) scheme now renamed as Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme implemented by States/UTs, had as on June 2021 13.89 lakh AWCs) who are in a way the life line for the success of the ICDS which is a missionary task taken up by GOI since 1975 for the care and support of under privileged rural/ semi urban masses particularly infants/mothers.
Undoing the practice of under employing the needy in government services will also check the private sector from exploiting the needs of educated unemployed.
(The author is a senior journalist and analyst of J&K Affairs, can be reached at email@example.com).