N.J. Nair

Work on processing 50 lakh applications is now moving at a snail’s pace

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Staff shortage is feared to push the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) into a crisis. Requests to enhance the staff strength to handle the increasing work pressure have not yielded a positive response from the State government, and the commission has started feeling the pinch.

While the Union Public Service Commission with a staff strength of 4,800 conducted examinations for 11 lakh candidates for recruitment last year, 38 lakh candidates sat for examinations conducted by the PSC, which had only 1,515 employees, during the same period.

Sources in the commission told The Hindu that a request for 400 employees had been kept in cold storage. Recently, the commission placed another request for 90 employees to meet the immediate needs. The government is understood to have taken the stance that the staff strength would be enhanced only after a work study. Work on processing 50 lakh applications is now moving at a snail’s pace. The slackness is feared to affect the recruitment process.

Yielding to public demand, recruitments to more government agencies are being entrusted to the commission. The latest was the task of filling up 3 per cent vacancies reserved for the physically challenged. Though the government has asked the commission to implement the quota with retrospective effect from 2004, the latter has refused to take up the task and is reported to have informed the government that the reservation will come into force only from January 2008. Still, the groundwork for this recruitment cannot be taken up in full swing owing to staff shortage.

Other than issuing routine notifications and also repeating notifications as per the new reservation norms that came into force following the amendments to the Kerala State and Subordinate Services Rules, the commission is constantly engaged in the preparation of 1,500 rank lists at a time. In addition, it has to do the preparatory work, such as verification of certificates, sending communication to the candidates and making arrangements for holding interviews. All these works are now moving at a snail’s pace and can come to a halt soon. It will definitely have a bearing on the government service and spoil the job prospects of the educated unemployed.

The government’s silence is a matter of concern for the commission, sources said.

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