UPSC dilemma

Limiting further the prospect of meritorious youth of the state

Sheikh Sarvar
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 12 2018 11:40PM | Updated Date: Jul 12 2018 11:40PM
UPSC dilemma

The UPSC conducts Civil Service Exams every year across the country. It's a common exam for selection of IAS, IPS, IRS and IFS services. A prestigious examination, CSE remains one of the most daunting tasks for Indian aspirants, nevertheless a very popular and most sought after examination of the country, given the endless possibilities a selection provides. Despite very limited number of seats, a huge number of aspirants prepares and sits through the exam every year. Last year in 2016  nearly 11,35,943 aspirants sat in the exam of which 15445 went through to the mains and only 1209 were finally selected for the services. This statistics betrays the arduousness and the magnitude of competition an aspirant goes through, and also that a huge number of aspirants will have to spend years in the laborious preparations, and multiple attempts before being selected, or giving up or simply being rendered ineligible. It's an inescapable fact that such strenuous preparation requires not only will to work hard and mettle to succeed, but also a conducive atmosphere where such a Herculean task can be performed with focus, dedication and minimal undue distractions or disturbances. Given the turmoil and conflict ridden nature of Jammu and Kashmir,in 1995, the Department of Personal Training, Government of India had introduced a clause of relaxation of upper age limit by five years to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir born between 1st January, 1980 to 31st December 1989. This age relaxation, which also exists for other underprivileged classes, depending upon the category, was warmly welcomed by the people of J&K and in a region strewn with conflicts, strikes, curfews, limited opportunities of proper coaching and guidance, limited and occasionally severed connectivity to the internet for long weeks. This decision came a long way in building confidence in the youth of the state and encouraging them to pursue this daunting enterprise. Over the years, every year dozens of candidates from the state of J&K have qualified the exams with flying colors, and occasionally top ranks. But on Feb 7 2018, the Commission had issued a notice withdrawing the age relaxation of five years for J&K.  All of a sudden that practically shattered the dreams of thousands of Civil Service aspirants of the state. Concerns were raised by the Former Chief Minister of the sate, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah of NC about the withdrawal and its ill effects on aspirants who had already spent years preparing for CSE. Few days later, the Department of Personal Training, headed by Dr Jitender Singh amended the earlier notice and agreed for a 'one-time extension' in the age relaxation, which was a welcome step but nevertheless hurt the interests of thousands of aspirants from J&K. We must understand that the preparation for CSE takes years of toiling hard-work, both in effort and money. Many aspirants leave their full time jobs to be able to give sufficient time to preparing for CSE, which places them under a huge financial burden. Now the withdrawal of the age relaxation will render thousands of them ineligible, and jobless at the same time. It should be noted that the original clause of relaxation would have been terminated on its own on 31st Dec 2026 when the last child born in December 1989 would have grown beyond the relaxed age limit of 37 years. So why would the DoPT scrap it off all off a sudden, just a few years in advance. Citing the possibility of agitation from North Eastern states for a similar relaxation as a genuine cause for annulling the relaxation for J&K is not very plausible, as this clause has existed for nearly three decades, and no such demands from NE States was seen on a large scale in the past. Moreover, the relaxation was not for all categories of J&K, but only 'persons who had originally been domiciled in the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the period from 1st January,1980 to 31st December,1989.' It was a relaxation specifically aimed at a generation that were worst hit by the conflict and tumultuous times of the 90's decade. 

To take away such a benefit from this disadvantaged population, all of a sudden, is calamitous, not only to their dreams and goals, but also to the process of 'rehabilitation and integration' of the youth of the state, as the Centre has always claimed to be dedicated to. This scraping off of the relaxation is clearly alienating the committed and meritorious youth of the state, who must have spent years preparing and dreaming of getting into the esteemed Civil Services. Moreover, the timing of this decision could not be worse, given the increased incidents of violence and a disquieted atmosphere that has sprung up in the state of J&K for last few years. This decision has further disturbed and perturbed the ambitious youth of the state who have always dreamt of fixing the problems of their fellow people by getting into the positions where their efforts could make the difference. 




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