‘Fixed salary mode’ recruitment policy.
In 1984 a novel recruitment approach was adopted to adjust an increased number of qualified agriculture technocrats in Jammu and Kashmir and the nomenclature of Rehbar Ziraat got added to the lexicon of Jammu and Kashmir public service sector. This was a politically motivated move to appease a visibly agitated section of the society—almost an act of throwing crumbs in front of prospective scientists, capable enough to grow more food for the nation. Who offered this unique idea, is a mystery? This conception of ‘Rehbar’ (literary meaning leader) not only brought disaster to the basic formation of agriculture consultancy sector in Jammu and Kashmir but blemished the conception of public service in the state. Taking cue from 1984 Rehbar Ziraat model of exploitation the future dispensations resorted to Rehbar misuse, freely, almost in every crucial department of the state and thus Rehbar-e- Taleem, Rehber-e-Sehat, Rehber-e- Khel and many other Rehbars were born. This ad-hoc and indifferent approach in public service is catching well with present political dispensation; who find it suitable for securing their vote bank politics and strengthening their political constituencies.
The recent ‘fixed salary mode’ recruitment policy of the government seems to be the manifestation of this more than two decade old novel idea of ‘Rehbar’ recruitment policy. The present ‘FSM’ employment policy is discriminatory in the first instance, as only subordinate (non-gazetted) public service sector is covered under this inequitable plan. This policy will lead to ‘Baraan coolie, taraan mate’, as only the superior class of the state service will flourish under this policy and with every passing day the subordinates will suffer more and more. They will not only go through financial grind and hardship but will have to face discriminatory working atmosphere, ultimately leading to inefficiency in overall public delivery system. In the present scenario of financial inflation and rising prices any dishonest reduction in legitimate salary will amount to violation of basic right of dignified survival. And no government, particularly the elected ones are authorized to make any stealthy shift from age old practice of paying genuinely. Equality—equality of all types is the essence of democracy, and we claim to be a democracy! How can government justify this discriminatory policy in an egalitarian society? Getting such inequitable act under the ambit of discipline, quality of service and financial regulation will lead to deep divisions in the society, which is already heading towards confusion on many other fronts.
After 1947 the literacy rate of our state has increased many folds; people have become more aware of their rights and duties and want to excel both qualitatively and quantitatively in every field of life. Any move to thwart the genuine aspirations of excellence will always prove counterproductive and will invite public anger. Let us assume this move of ‘fixed salary mode’ is to bring change in the corrupt and lethargic system of public service with an eye on excellence, discipline and improvement. But, such attributes and virtues cannot be achieved by financial penalty, instead, reforms and strictness in civil service and service conduct rules can bring desired changes. Nepotism and corruption which are already prevalent in our system will get a boost by this half hearted and unwise attempt of reforms in the state service sector. Making the non-gazetted service sector less remunerative and attractive very few people will opt for it and ultimately state will be short of subordinate service class. On all accounts such move will be arbitrary and in no way considerate in character. In recent past lawmakers and other functionaries of the government genuinely enhanced their salaries, but under any shoddy procedures of curtailment in remunerations of poor employees without any justification these enhancements can be challenged and categorized as mala fide.
Instead of punishing poor aspiring employees in the name of reforms the state political system should go for introspection and find its own liabilities. No elected dispensation should resort to coercive tactic of reforms to hide its own follies and that of its bureaucratic cronies. It will be in the best interest of the nation to rollback such imprudent policies and act honestly and sincerely in choosing its subordinate class on merits—only merits nothing more, nothing less.