Employment aplenty, how Ladakh is fulfilling aspirations of its youth
Opinion

Employment aplenty, how Ladakh is fulfilling aspirations of its youth

Employment aplenty, how Ladakh is fulfilling aspirations of its youth

Government jobs have been a lucrative career in India, especially in the remote regions. After the declaration of Ladakh as a Union Territory, aspiration of Ladakhi youth suddenly spiked towards government jobs. However, there has been much misinformation floating around government recruitment. This article is an effort to clear the misinformation and to provide correct inputs to the job aspirants of Ladakh.

Recruitment in government is a long-drawn and complex exercise which needs to be done with meticulous planning without leaving any loophole to avoid any legal issues later. UT Admin of Ladakh had to start from scratch in this regard as all regulatory provisions were required o be made afresh.

Since its formation, the UT Administration has been working tirelessly to provide better services and built quality infrastructure. To this end, the filling of vacancies and employing human resources has remained a top priority of the administration right from the beginning. The Administration cannot function properly without the availability of human resources of the right quantity and quality. Thus, the UT administration is equally concerned with filling vacant government posts as the local youth.

Apportionment of Posts

Assessing the manpower requirements for the new UT was the immediate priority. The process started with the transfer of posts from J&K to Ladakh.  Each parent department of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir identified and transferred posts to Ladakh by way of issuing formal orders (SROs). Approximately, 2176 Gazetted and 17,702 Non-Gazetted posts were initially transferred from J&K to Ladakh in October 2019. Immediately, an exercise was also conducted to work out the additional requirement of posts in various departments as projected before the Advisory Committee on the apportionment of Assets and Liabilities. Based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee, additional posts (3000 non-Gazetted and 325 Gazetted) were apportioned to UT of Ladakh in the final apportionment order issued in October 2020. Thereafter, the UT of J&K started the listing of these additional posts. The listing of 1535 non-Gazetted and 211 Gazetted posts was completed by J&K in November 2021. Therefore, as of date approximately, the UT Administration has 21,624 posts (19237 non-gazetted and 2387 gazetted). 

Legal Framework

However, even before the completion of the exercise of transferring the posts from J&K, the Ladakh Administration started the work on establishing the requisite legal and administrative framework for filling up the vacant posts. The Reservation Rules for Ladakh were notified in April 2020 providing for 45% reservation to the Schedule Tribes of Ladakh. Thereafter, the Resident Certificate Order was issued in September 2021 which provides for the requirement of possessing a Resident Certificate for the purpose of appointment to all the non-gazetted posts borne on the establishment of any department or service of administration of Ladakh.

Recruitment Rules

A major task before the Administration was the framing of Recruitment Rules for the posts. The UT Administration was vested the powers to frame the Recruitment Rules for non-gazetted posts by GOI notification dated 21st January, 2020. To streamline and expedite the process, an Empowered Committee (E.C.) headed by Advisor Ladakh was constituted in March 2021. Framing of rules was a tedious job as the Committee had to consider the existing and proposed hierarchal structure, erstwhile rules followed in J&K, present incumbency position and rights of existing employees besides DOPT guidelines and directions in this regard. After regular meetings of the E.C., Recruitment Rules in respect of non-gazetted posts in most of the departments were notified by October 2021. The educational qualification for various posts has rationalised keeping in view the national standards and local scenario. . For e.g, the post of Teacher requires that a candidate must have qualified for the Central Teachers Eligibility Test as prescribed by the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) as per the provisions of the RTE Act. Similarly, for the post of Vocational Instructor in Industrial Training Institutes, the requisite qualification has been prescribed as per the norms of the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT). These measures will transform the quality of education in Ladakh.

Apportionment of Employees

Even after the apportionment of posts, notification of rules and putting in place the required legal and administrative structure, assessment of vacancy was not possible without ascertaining who all have been apportioned to UT of Ladakh in terms of the J&K Reorganisation Act. Only in November 2021, the first Order of apportionment of employees was issued by J&K apportioning 11,189 employees to UT Ladakh. Thereafter, immediately within one month, the /Divisional Cadre direct recruitment vacancies were worked out and 829 vacancies were referred to the Staff Selection Commission for recruitment in December 2021. This also required preparation of reservation rosters and working out the exact vacancy following the prescribed procedure. This extremely tedious job was also completed by UT Administration in record time.

The Exam

SSC was approached to conduct the exams for the referred posts in a time-bound manner to ensure transparency and to maintain professionalism. SSC so far has advertised 797 posts and also conducted Computer Based Examination (CBE) for the selection of candidates for these vacancies in August 2022. However, some applicants who were found ineligible by the SSC as per guidelines in vogue, filed applications before the Hon’ble CAT for allowing them in exams. A final decision on the candidature of these candidates is to be made by the CAT. The SSC is fully prepared to declare the results but constrained to declare the results of the CBE awaiting the final judgement of Hon’ble CAT. The subjudice cases are being vigorously followed up in the Hon’ble court both by the SSC and the UT Administration for early disposal. The UT Administration is hopeful and taking all possible steps for the settlement of these cases to enable early declaration of results.

 Post UT Recruitments

There has been a dissemination of some misleading information among the youth that recruitment to government posts in Ladakh has been halted after it’s becoming a UT, which is completely false propaganda. The truth is that the recruitment process remained continue for the posts advertised before the formation of UT and also new opportunities were created in the shape of contractual employment. For recruiting against the fresh District Cadre vacancies, the recruitment boards constituted under the LAHDC Act continued recruitment even after establishment of UT. To fill in the immediate requirements, without waiting for regular recruitment to happen, 768 persons have been also engaged as JEs/Nurses/Office Assistants/ Law Officers/ lecturers, etc. through outsourcing on attractive remuneration. Recruitment of human resources under various GoI schemes such as the National Health Mission, Mahatma Gandhi NREGA, and the Integrated Child Development Scheme is also being done regularly.  1764 candidates have been recruited after the formation of UT (2019-22) in Ladakh which includes 996 regular posts and 768 on an outsourcing basis (excluding the hiring being done in CSSs). Besides, recruitment to 2082 posts are in process of completion as per the following details:

Employment aplenty, how Ladakh is fulfilling aspirations of its youth

It is pertinent to clarify the prevailing misconception that hiring on outsourcing basis has been done against regular posts blocking the regular vacancies. Rather its opposite is true, as these outsourced persons are over and above the sanctioned posts thus creating additional opportunities for the unemployed youth. Besides, considering the prevailing practice in the rest part of the country the candidates hired through outsourcing are offered handsome remuneration.

Comparing with the previous recruitments

If the government employment already created after the formation of UT is compared with the recruitment done by both DSSRB in the preceding 10 years the average annual employment provided after UT is much more than any previous 11 years. The details of vacancies filled during 2008-2018 by the two DSSRBs are given in the following table:

Employment aplenty, how Ladakh is fulfilling aspirations of its youth

As per the above table average annual recruitment made in 11 years i.e. from 2008-2018 in Ladakh was less than 258 whereas the average annual government employment provided from 2019-22 is 588 which is nearly doubled. This average will considerably improve once the results of SSC are declared and ongoing recruitment to 134 posts Ladakh Police (followers) and 1151 additional district cadre vacancies are completed which is expected to be done soon.

Further Vacancies

As stated earlier, this year 1151 additional district cadre vacancies (Leh-635 and Kargil-516) in civil departments have been referred to the respective LAHDC recruitment boards. Departmental Promotion Committees (DPC) in respect of non-gazetted posts have been constituted for most of the departments. The departments are in the process of finalizing the seniority lists for the convening of DPC meetings to promote the eligible incumbents to higher posts. This will remain a continuous process every year as direct recruitment vacancies will continue to accrue on filling up of vacancies under the promotion quota.

Gazetted Posts

After the delegation of powers by the Government of India on 1st November, 2022, the administration has also started the process to frame recruitment rules for gazetted posts in consultation with the Union Public Service Commission.  The draft recruitment rules in respect of engineering posts of the Public Works (R&B) Department and Public Health Engineering Department have been uploaded on the official website of the UT Administration for seeking comments from the stakeholders.  After the completion of one month of notice period as prescribed under norms, these recruitment rules will be submitted to the Union Public Service Commission for vetting. Soon the rules of all departments would be notified and UT Administration is targeting to refer the vacant gazetted posts to UPSC in the coming 4-5 months. Once escalation to higher posts through departmental promotion is regularised, more vacancies at the lower level will also accrue in due course.

The Hon’ble Prime Minister has started a campaign for filling all government vacancies in a Mission Mode. As envisioned by the Hon’ble PM, the UT Administration is taking all steps to fill the vacant positions. The campaign started by the Hon’ble PM will also bring in a lot of opportunities for educated youth to work in the Central Government too. The Ladakhi youth must also prepare to compete for these opportunities. A major portion of the vacancies falling under the Group B Non-Gazetted and Group C posts will be recruited by SSC.

Are these employments in government enough?

There has been misinformation circulating that UT Administration would advertise 5000-10000 posts for recruitment which has been held up. In this regard, it must be kept in mind that government employment always remains a minuscule percentage of total employment. On average government employment never goes more than 7-8% of total employment in any of the states in the country. On the other hand, considering 21624 regular posts in UT Administration this ratio goes above 15% of the working population of Ladakh. If we also take into account the government employment in the Army (Ladakh Scouts) and other paramilitary organisations more than 20% of the working population becomes employed in government jobs in Ladakh which is one of the highest in the country. In terms of population, geographical dispersion, scattered habitations etc, UT Ladakh in many ways, can be placed similarly to Andaman & Nicobar or Lakshadweep. Comparing the employee-to-population ratio with these UTs the Ladakh is at par with the said UTs as shown in the following table:

Employment aplenty, how Ladakh is fulfilling aspirations of its youth

Looking Beyond

Nowhere in the world, all employment is provided in the government sector. The major chunk of the working population gets employed in the private sector either as an employee or a self-employed person. The Ladakh Administration is taking all required steps for the economic development of the region by way of improving infrastructure which has generated and would be generating more and more employment opportunities in future.  Tourist arrival has doubled in 2022 than the year before UT. The Tourism sector generates the highest employment than any other sector against investment made. Besides, a lot of emphasis is being given to Agriculture/Horticulture, Food Processing, Handloom/Handicraft sector which has the potential to generate high income in Ladakh. Number of Ladakhi youth are shining example of increasing entrepreneurship environment in Ladakh. Ladakh Administration is also making efforts for skilling the youth to suit the new requirements. All these efforts would result in the generation of a lot of employment and the youth must look for earning employable skills to take benefit of various entrepreneurship and financing schemes of government.

The establishment of the Union territory of Ladakh has brought numerous opportunities for young and talented people to work in the Administration and contribute to the making of a prosperous and resilient Ladakh.

Ajeet Kumar Sahu is Commissioner/Secretary to Administration of Ladakh and Mohammad Taqi is an Under Secretary.

 

 

 

 

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Employment aplenty, how Ladakh is fulfilling aspirations of its youth