Non-negotiable needs

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In recent week after the government itself has pointed to certain loopholes (like the use of undue considerations including money and political influence) in the way recruitments to various government jobs are done here, it is expected that there will be a thorough relook in the recruitment rules and policy on the whole. One in a while repackaging exercises that are done in it is in terms of vocabulary and verbiage won’t work. The entire recruitment policy framework has to be reworked and redone so that it is cleansed of all those ills which prejudice the chances of the politically-unconnected and economically disadvantaged people of landing a decent job.

Another important discrimination which needs to be addressed is the violation of the ‘equal work equal wage (pay)’ tenet of law. Indeed it is a travesty of justice that the governments here have for years been violating this basic principle and yet no harm has come to it in terms of legal hassles. Nor has anybody bothered to challenge this violation in the courts, neither have the courts deemed it fit for taking suo moto cognizance or admonishing the government that it cannot violate laws with such ease and impunity. How could two people appointed on identical posts and actually chipping in same kind and amount of work not be paid similar remuneration? But this is exactly what is happening.

Here is an example. Take the case of lecturers in Education department. The only difference that differentiates one set from the other is the terms like ‘adhoc’ or ‘contractual’ prefixed to it which automatically makes it stand out as inferior lot in terms of the rewards it earns for its contributions. This discrimination has been going on for years together in more or less every government department – wherein the permanent employees are drawing far better wages and other perks than the non-permanent ones – the adhoc, need-based and the contractuals. While the government should have been sensitive to this discriminatory policy and should actually have put an end to it, it has only perpetuated it by continuing with the practice.

In this God-forsaken land of unlimited unaccountability, week politicians have always remained at the mercy of powerful bureaucracy. And bureaucracy has over the years appropriated all-powerful roles for itself. They are accountable to none. Despite facing huge disconnect with the ordinary people living miserable lives in the Valley’s hill and dale, these ‘babus’ are supposed to frame policies for their well-being. No doubt they do, but their lack of appreciation of the actual ground realities is always explicitly visible in their policies and programmes.

Hundreds of thousands of jobless people in Jammu and Kashmir need jobs. Though no government can provide jobs to all these people in government departments, but it is also the responsibility of the government to create conditions which would create ample opportunities of profitable and meaningful employment for the jobless. Jobs are their right and their need; and needs are non-negotiable. Period. So government cannot run away from this responsibility. It has to do whatever it could to fulfill this need of the ordinary – and perhaps with similar urgency as is shown when someone with political or bureaucratic connections accommodated!

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