Candidates Protest Scrapping Of JK Bank Recruitment Process

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KO Photo: Abid Bhat

SRINAGAR – A day after the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory administration scrapped the J&K Bank recruitment process, scores of aspirants on Friday held a protest here in this capital city against the move.

Reports said that dozens of candidates, who had appeared in examination conducted for posts of banking associates and probationary officers in J&K bank, converged outside the bank’s corporate headquarters here and staged a protest against the Governor administration.

Chanting slogans, the protesters alleged that the administration was playing with the career of over 1.5 lakh youth, who have applied and appeared in the bank examinations.

However, the protestors said that they are not demonstrating against the bank but the J&K administration, which has ordered scrapping of the recruitment process that has been going on since 2018.

“This decision has come as a shock to us. Just a few days back, the bank authorities told us that the result will be out sooner. And today, we learnt about the government’s decision,” a protester said.

“In 2018, the notification for these posts came out. It has been over 10 months since we appeared in the examination. How can the government jeopardize our career with such a decision?” he added.

The protesters alleged that the UT administration was forcing the bank to scrap the recruitment process.

“If the earlier examination was conducted by IBPS and this fresh examination will also be done by them, what will change?,” they asked.

On Thursday, Governor administration scrapped the ongoing process of recruitment for 250 probationary officers and 1200 banking associates and asked the finance department to advise the J&K bank to initiate a fresh, fair, norm-based and transparent recruitment for these posts through the IBPS.

“The entire recruitment process will be completed by on a fast track basis within three months. The detailed modalities and announcements in this regard will be finalized by the bank in its next board meeting. As a result the ongoing process of recruitment for these posts by this bank shall stand scrapped,” Government’s spokesperson Rohit Kansal told reporters in Jammu on Thursday.

“The bank is being advised to ensure that all applicants eligible in the last recruitment which has been cancelled shall be eligible for the fresh recruitment also,” he had added.

‘Uninvited, Scandalous Bureaucratic Infiltration’, Says PDP

Expressing concern over scrapping of the recruitment process for 1,450 posts in Jammu and Kashmir Bank, The PDP on Friday targeted the administration for a “scandalous bureaucratic infiltration” into the financial institution to undermining its autonomy.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Thursday had scrapped the recruitment process of 250 probationary officers and 1,200 banking associates in J&K Bank due to various ‘legal infirmities’ and announced fresh recruitment on fast track basis through Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).

“The party expresses serious concern over the government’s recent action in which it nullified 1,200 posts of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank. Such an action is unwarranted and akin to plunge the youth, who qualified the exams, into distress and devastation,” a PDP spokesman said.

The party termed the decision as the “uninvited, scandalous bureaucratic infiltration into an otherwise J&K’s premier independent and autonomous financial institution” by the administration.

A meeting of the leaders was held at the party head office in Jammu in which the participants questioned the government’s action even when its probe was on and no findings have so far proved any partiality or favouritism in the recruitment process, the spokesman said.

The party alleged that the administration wants to” infiltrate into its (banks) ranks in order to grab its control, complicate its functioning and ruin it to the core with ruthless bureaucratisation”.

The government’s own claim about the youth empowerment is falling flat through the measures, it said.

The party demanded immediate rollback of the decision and warned the administration not to fiddle with the autonomy of the bank.

Bukhari Alleges ‘Sinister designs’

Former J&K minister Altaf Bukhari on Friday censured the ”sinister designs” for playing with the careers of lakhs of educated unemployed youth of Jammu and Kashmir.

Taking cognizance of the scrapping of the recruitment process for 250 probationary officers and 1,200 banking associates in J&K Bank, Bukhari said that the exercise had started and concluded under Governor’s rule and not under any political government in the erstwhile State.

“Two years after this three phase examination was conducted that too in Governor S.P Malik’s tenure, which drove lakhs of qualified aspirants from all the regions of Jammu and Kashmir, the present dispensation has shamelessly declared that process as null and void. It is simply disgusting that it took J&K administration two years to reveal what it has now termed as ”legal infirmities” found in that recruitment process,” Bukhari remarked.

He said that the latest government action is without any reason or rationale. “The latest move of the LG led administration has corroborated the prevailing perceptions among people of both divisions of Jammu and Kashmir that the careers and talent of our youth is being crushed under a well thought out and a planned manner,” he added.

The former finance minister demanded that the fresh recruitment in Jammu and Kashmir Bank be based on rationalization and district wise requirements of its business units. “Just allowing applicants who had appeared in cancelled recruitment process for the fresh recruitment is not enough. The government must give some weightage to these candidates and conclude the new recruitment process without any further delay,” he advocated.

Bukhari said that it is not the question of the scrapping of the recruitment process against 1700 odd posts in JK Bank without application of mind, but of how will the government compensate those candidates who lost two precious years of their career hoping that they may get absorbed in JK Bank and earn a dignified livelihood?

“It seems there are some vested interests with nefarious designs who want to ruin the careers of our educated youth. It is not the JK Bank alone but the government has made the Public Service Commission (PSC) defunct and put careers of thousands of candidates who are awaiting interviews for civil services examination in jeopardy,” the former finance minister averred.

He observed that deliberate attempts are being made to malign the image of Jammu and Kashmir Bank which is a reputed economic institution of the erstwhile State and has always acted as a reliable cushion for J&K’s economy.

“The nullification of recruitment process should not be viewed in isolation. Attempts are being made for the last over two years to malign the integrity of this institution by continuous raids and searches being conducted by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB). The J&K Bank’s corporate office has virtually turned into ACB office with the Bank’s executives being found assisting the investigating agency round the clock,” Bukhari added.

He appealed for the personal intervention of Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who had assured bankers across the country that prudent commercial decision making would be protected and there will not be any harassment from the investigating agencies.

“Contrary to these assurances of the country’s top leadership, in J&K we see the ACB not reaching to any conclusion for the last two years. If at all there are any serious allegations of favouritism and financial impropriety against JK Bank, the ACB must not stretch its investigations illogically and conclude it in a time bound manner,” Bukhari said, while recalling the assurances given by Prime Minister Modi that banking and corporate world should take decisions fearlessly, invest boldly and spend undauntedly.

Similarly, he said that the central laws are being applied in Jammu and Kashmir on a pick and choose basis.

“Applicability of those laws which are beneficial to the people of Jammu and Kashmir is being deferred for unknown reasons. Forest Tribal Rights Act and other such laws are case instances. The central government must come clean on the issue and take course correction measures at the earliest,” he stressed.

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