No compromise on transparency, merit: JKSSB chairman as protests continue over hiring of ‘blacklisted’ company
Jammu: Cautioning the job seekers against certain elements trying to malign the process of recruitment, Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) chairman Rajesh Sharma on Friday assured the youth that there will be no compromise on transparency and merit.
The remarks of Sharma came amid back-to-back protests by groups of job aspirants in the twin capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar for the past two days over the hiring of a previously blacklisted company, APTECH Limited, by the JKSSB for the conduct of computer-based written tests.
“The board is very much aware of your concerns and all efforts will be made to conduct exams in a fair, transparent and secure manner. Do not pay heed to rumour mongers and those with ulterior motives, who are only here to disrupt the processes,” Sharma told reporters here.
He said there would be no compromise on transparency and merit.
“Justice will be ensured. Youth’s ability and merit will be respected and strict action will be taken against all those elements who are trying to harm the future of meritorious aspirants,” the JKSSB chairman said.
Allaying apprehensions on the hiring of APTECH Limited, he said the agency is not blacklisted as on date, though it was blacklisted in Uttar Pradesh in May 2019 for a period of three years that expired in May 2022.
“I would like to clarify that blacklisting is a restrictive term valid for a period. It has to be distinguished from disbanding i.e. permanent blacklisting. The present protests seem to be motivated to derail the functioning of the board,” he said.
Sharma said the particular agency is already conducting exams across the country and at the Centre.
“It has been and is executing prime projects in NTA, CBSE (2023) and other government bodies and has successfully completed many CBT based examinations like UGC NET (2020, 2021), JNU Entrance Examination (JNUEE 2021), Delhi University Entrance Test (DUET 2019, 2020, 2021) wherein 52 lakh candidates have participated,” he said, adding the agency also conducted Income Tax (2022), RPF Jhansi (2022), Railway Vadodara (2022) exams.
“The agency has qualified the parameters prescribed for tendering and was the highest bidder on quality-cum-cost based selection (QCBS) mode. There are specific rules provided in General Financial Rules 2017 of GoI to deal with debarment/blacklisting,” he said.
The official said the tendering process has been undertaken strictly as per the rules on the subject.
“It is not that Mr A or Mr B will decide on blacklisting, let the court give judgement. It cannot be decided by a few on a road or in a rotary. These persons levelling unsubstantiated allegations have clear ulterior motives,” he claimed.
Without identifying anyone, he said there are certain elements spreading distortion and misinformation on the issue.
“As far as the allegation against the recruitment agency is concerned, the matter is sub-judice and the high court will take a decision in the matter. The issue will be settled by the law and not by sloganeering. The instant protests seem to be an attempt to influence the high court,” Sharma said.
He said before initiating the tendering process, the board held deliberations with the stakeholders and it was realised that continuous updation of systems is very vital for any agency during the conduct of exams.
“The board has not given the selection process to any single agency. Rather the board has engaged these agencies for rendering necessary assistance to conduct the exams,” he said.
He said the board is taking all safety measures like the appointment of observers by the General Administration Department, observers of district administration, magistrates, as well as additional frisking, third-party audits and installation of jammers to conduct free and fair exams.
“We are committed to conduct exams including those scheduled from March 16 with the highest degree of security. Our mission is to uphold the sanctity of the recruitment process,” he said.