Ex-servicemen run from pillar to post as departments delay paperwork

A delay in paperwork has left 65 ex-servicemen in limbo.

Technically qualified, the men have retired from the armed forces, and are eligible for jobs in State government offices. But though they have cleared the public service commission exams held in 2010, they have not been offered placements, as three different departments have not found the time to iron out the issue regarding their qualifications.

The Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) provides a five per cent quota for ex-servicemen. Under this quota, those who don’t have college degrees are also permitted to compete for jobs. Ex-servicemen, who have typically joined the armed forces after completing class X or XII, undergo rigorous training over a period of years that makes them proficient in their chosen trade. Such employees also receive a certificate stating that they have specialised in a trade and can be considered for employment in government offices when they opt to retire from the armed forces.

Earlier, the State government had, through an order, recognised their qualification in these trades as acceptable and considered it equivalent to civil trade. But this order was overturned and the TNPSC decided to limit government jobs to degree-holders. Following this, the affected candidates appealed to the then head of the Commission R. Nataraj. The matter was also taken up with the Department of Soldiers’ Board, which in turn forwarded the request to the Personnel and Administrative Reforms (P and AR) Department for approval.

“We have the relevant documents from each of these officials through RTI. Now we hear that the files are with the P and AR department. With new officials taking over at the TNPSC and the Soldiers’ Board, the appeal is pending,” says K.J. Sudakar, who retired from the Indian Air Force as a nursing assistant.

“Kerala, Orissa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Puducherry, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana have recognised the education we have received in the armed services. But we would like to settle in our native state and be of service here,” Mr. Sudakar added.

He said theSoldiers’ Board, which is responsible for the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen, is also awaiting clearance from the P and AR department. Principal secretary M. Kutralingam, who is in charge of the department however, said he had nothing to do with the issue.