Expressing concern that the very existence of Public Service Commissions (PSC) are at risk at a time when the Union government is doing away with new recruitments and appointments, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said Kerala has put forward an alternative set of policies, making record recruitments even during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was speaking after inaugurating the closing ceremony of the 26th National Conference of PSC Chairpersons here on Saturday.
"There is an apprehension that there arises a threat to the very existence of PSCs as there is an increasing tendency to refrain from new recruitments. As the policy of liberalisation gets accelerated, the concept of lockouts and massive retrenchment has become the order of the day. People have started questioning the point in maintaining a colossal organisation for recruitments if the government is to do away with new recruitments. During the first wave of COVID-19, as per an Oxfam study, 1.7 lakh people lost their job every hour in the country. In such situations, responsible democratic governments should come to the rescue of employees. It is rather unfortunate that it did not happen in India on expected levels," he said.
Mr. Vijayan said that in contrast to the happenings at the national level, advice memos for appointments were given to 1.8 lakh youths between 2016 and 2022. Despite restrictions relating to the pandemic, 28,837 appointments were made in the sector of essential services alone, a record of sorts.
"We have been able to apprise the nation that there is an alternative. The Kerala PSC is recruiting qualified hands to 1,700 categories of posts ranging from last-grade servants to the Kerala Administrative Service. Every year, about 80 lakh candidates are attending the exams. No fee is levied from the candidates for registration or examination," he said.
Mr. Vijayan said there is a demand from the general public that recruitment to the large number of teaching and non-teaching staff working in government and aided educational institutions should also be made through the PSC so that social justice and merit would also remain. The demand shows the trust the public has reposed in the PSC.
He said the non-availability of enough online examination facilities is a major constraint at a time when the UPSC, PSCs and Railways are moving towards computer-based examinations. It is high time such facilities were established across all States, he said.
"If the PSC gets tainted, the blemish will no doubt affect the civil service in general and the morale of the workforce of the department in particular. So in matters relating to recruitment, PSC should remain doubly guarded and cautious against all sorts of malpractices. This aspect deserves a special mention as we have come across certain scandals such as Vyapam a few years ago. Such scandals and the aftermath of those aberrations gravely eroded the faith in PSC in a big way. The only way to ensure people's faith in PSC is to restore the truthful and transparent functioning of it," he said.