A proposal for direct recruitment to certain officers' posts in Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) envisaged in the Travancore Devaswom Board Servants Service Recruitment Rules, 2011, has come in for criticism. The proposal has been mooted after entrusting recruitment to various posts with the Public Service Commission.

The draft rules have proposed to classify the board employees into three categories — administrative, maramath (civil works) and temple service. Direct recruitment by the board has been mooted for the posts of board secretary, finance manager, land or estate officer, special officers for educational institutions, printing press, plantation and assistant public relations officer and also for filling up 25 per cent vacancies of assistant commissioners.

In the temple service category, direct recruitment has been suggested to a number of posts, including the director and teachers of various disciplines of the Kshetra Kala Peedom. The Kshetra Kala Peedom run by the board trains students in temple arts such as music, ‘nadaswaram,' ‘thavil' and ‘panchavadyam.' Students passing out of the Kala Peedom are appointed in the temples under the board.

A postgraduate degree with 10 years administrative experience is the qualification prescribed for the secretary's post and a professional degree in accounting for the finance manager's post. The prescribed qualification for filling up 25 per cent vacancies in the post of assistant commissioner is degree in any discipline, five years administrative experience in a reputed institution and computer knowledge. It has been proposed to appoint retired deputy collectors and retired Education Department officers equivalent to the rank of a higher secondary school Principal as special officer for the schools and retired officers not below the rank of an administrative assistant of deputy registrar of the University of Kerala as special officer of the colleges being run by the board. Retired rangers of the Forest Department would be considered for the post of special officer for the forest wing under the board.

Official sources told The Hindu here that the direct recruitment proposal to select posts has been made on the premise of enhancing administrative efficiency of the board. Various commission reports had recommended imparting in-service training to the employees under the aegis of the Institute of Management in Government and the Centre for Management Development. The board has not yet explored such options for increasing the efficiency of the employees so far. Moreover, direct recruitment to senior positions would incur an additional annual financial burden of around Rs.2 crore and deny promotion chances to the deserving employees, sources said.

The draft rules have been approved by the board and have been forwarded for discussion at various levels.