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PSC may get Chairman, not Members for now

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Integrity check ‘mars’ prospect of some recommendees 

JAMMU: Decks seem to have been cleared for Financial Commissioner Industries Khursheed Ahmed Ganai to be formally appointed as Chairman Public Service Commission (PSC) while the recommendations with regard to Members is likely to be put in back-burner due to raging controversy about some of the recommendees till the new government takes over in January next.
Sources told STATE TIMES that many of the recommendees have redoubled their efforts to get the clearance of Governor N.N Vohra, who has reportedly sought several clarifications. The mounting opposition by the civil society and various political parties, especially the Bharatiya Janata Party has clouded the prospect of the recommended Members, primarily for the reason of sharing these slots by Congress and National Conference during Coalition Coordination Committee meeting on 27th August 2014 in Srinagar.
The BJP is averse to the proposition, saying the statutory positions cannot be decided in political forums. The reports about favour sought in lieu of alleged consideration from several political entities from both the coalition partners have also raised doubts about the choice of some Members. Sources added that antecedents of few recommendees are allegedly doubtful because of their leanings towards secessionists and communal forces.
The effort of some of the recommendees has been to get the appointments cleared  under the present dispensation though the Chief Minister is reported to be not very keen for pushing up the issue after the appointments became controversial. A strong lobby in Srinagar has got activated during the past few days to have the file cleared at appropriate level.
Sources told STATE TIMES that a section of bureaucracy is also against several names approved for appointment. “It is obligatory for the government to have the exercise with regard to integrity clearance of the prospective candidates ready before submitting the memo to Cabinet”, a senior officer told on the condition of anonymity, adding that it seems the matter was rushed because of impending announcement of elections by the Election Commission of India and the term of the Coalition Government coming to end.
He added that the government ought to have started the process much earlier knowing well that the Commission is going headless, apart from most of the Members excluding K.B Jandial completing their term on specific dates. Jandial is also completing his tenure.
The delay in taking timely call on this important issue is rooted to the fact that several lobbies were pushing for their own favourites thus making it difficult for the political bosses to arrive at some conclusion. There is no mechanism of selection process by independent select committee for the coveted PSC appointments.
The sources attribute to ‘wait and watch’ policy at the designated highest level to wait for the new government to take call on the issue. While there seems to be no issue with regard to Khursheed Ahmed Ganai being appointed as Chairman, no urgency is being felt for rushing to fill up the vacancies of Members as the process of appointments can’t be initiated in next two months because of Model Code of Conduct.
Sources in the BJP said that the issue is being taken up with the Governor for ensuring transparency in the key appointments to the Commission, as it involves future of young generation. They said that strong doubts have been raised over some recommendees allegedly having affiliation with undesired elements and political considerations been the sole criteria for selections.
Sources further said the slots have been shared by Congress and the National Conference notwithstanding the government having lost its credibility as a cohesive coalition. The partners have been openly trading charges of corruption and nepotism against each other.
The National Spokesperson of the Congress had recently sought monitoring of transfers by the Election Commission of India purportedly smelling rat from the senior coalition partner. Similarly, senior National Conference leader took serious exception to Class IV appointments made in the Education Department. With this baggage, the government is in no way competent to make the recommendations, especially after the list except the Chairman PSC was finalised at a Coalition Coordination Committee meeting.
On 11th October, the State Cabinet approved the names of Khurshid Ahmad Ganaie, IAS, Financial Commissioner, Industries & Commerce Department, J&K, as Chairman besides Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmad, IAS, Secretary to the Government, Higher Education Department, Mukherjeet Sharma, IFS (retd), B. R Lachotra, Director General, Economics & Statistics (std), Wali Mohammad Bhat, Director General, Accounts & Treasuries (retd), Dr Tejit Singh, Prof Ophthalmology (retd) and Dr Farooq Ahmad Kaloo, Director, Animal Husbandry (retd) as Members of the Commission.


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