GPSC: Goa Public Service Commission was set up when statehood was conferred on Goa in 1987. The first chairman JC Almeida set an example by giving the public the answer papers of the girls who had applied for the post of office secretary.

By Rajan Narayan

The Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court has blasted the government and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for an absurd seniority list of junior civil service officers which included 31 ad hoc appointments, two retired officials and one official who is in the grave.

IT IS bad enough that there is a desperate shortage of jobs. This is dramatized by the fact that there are almost 100 applications for even the job of a lower division clerk for which the qualification is 12th standard. Never mind that graduates and even engineers apply for these lowly jobs which can be so precious. What is scandalous is the racket in drawing of seniority list for promotions. Ironically, they are talking about the seniority list of the Goa Public Service Commission which is supposed to be an autonomous body independent of the government.
According to a shocking report in one of the dailies, the Goa Bench of the Bombay high court has told that in the seniority list of junior scale officers of the Goa Public Service Commission, one was dead and two had already retired. Moreover 31 of the list of 49 comprising the merit seniority list 31 were ad hoc appointees. Which means that they were not appointed with a concurrence of the Goa Public Service Commission. The high court was responding to the petition challenging the seniority list of junior scale officers who in theory are appointed by the GPSC. The so called seniority list remained static so that many of the officers continue to remain on the seniority list of junior scale officer even when some of them have become grandparents.
The table here indicates that of the 49 officers on the seniority list one is dead, two are retired, four are directly promoted, 11 are direct recruits and the maximum of 31 are ad hoc promotions.

WHAT is most worrying is those promoted on an ad hoc basis, who are government servants recruited without government rules on the recommendation of the ministers or one of the agents. There are cases pending against Health Minister Vishwajit Rane for appointing a 1,000 multi-utility workers on an ad hoc basis without having to undergo any written test. The ad hoc appointees are also regularly promoted to become ad hoc promotions.
At least in theory all recruitment for government jobs is supposed to be on merit. The Goa Public Service Commission was started when Goa became a state. Before statehood the officers both in junior scale and the senior scale were recruited by the central government. Which is why a large number of particularly technical employees and school teachers are from various parts of the country and especially from neighboring Karnataka and Maharashtra. Even as on date the state has not been able to find a qualified candidate for the post of chief electrical engineer.
In view of the serious shortage of electrical engineers even diploma holders mostly from other states in the country, have been promoted to the rank of executive engineers. Unfortunately, for the power minister he cannot bend the rules to appoint anyone he chooses as the chief electrical engineer.
The first chairman of the Goa Public Service Commission was former chief secretary, the late JC Almeida. Dr Almeida wanted to establish that all recruitment would be totally transparent and there would be no scope for any influence and shortcuts. Merit would be the only criteria for appointment to all government posts. Dr Almeida went to the extent of distributing the answer papers of those who had applied for jobs as a secretary, so that the candidates would know that only the best candidate have been chosen. Dr Almeida’s insistent that only merit would be the criteria for appointment by the GPSC became a problem for the mantri and MLAs.
Before the GPSC came into force and Almeida became its first chairman, they used to appoint their friends and relatives or more often auction the post. The then chief minister, Pratap Singh Rane, limited the power of the Goa Public Service Commission to only grade one officers. Class three which included LDC and UDC, and class four which cover peons and ward boys in the GMC, were kept out of the jurisdiction of the GPSC.

PART of the problem is that when the GPSC strictly follows the rules it is found that the majority of the candidates for the post of grade one officers of the government of Goa are not able to answer the written exam. It is the grade one officers who occupy the crucial post of mamlatdars who control the life of the ordinary citizens. All the requirements of the citizens from ration cards to domicile certificate to residence certificate are issued by the mamlatdar. It is in the light of the unavailability of Goan applicants to clear the GPSC exams that candidates are appointed on an ad hoc basis by the concerned minister.
The business of appointing unfit candidates on an ad hoc basis works only till the elevation of a government servant to the level of junior officer of the government. This post are still under the Goa Public Service Commission. The present medal of dead and retired persons in the list of junior servant officer is because the GPSC does not give permission for the promotion of unfit candidates for the post of junior civil service officers. The benami government servants keep going up the ladder till somebody approaches the courts. The present scam of dead and retired officer and ad hoc appointees had come up only because one of the candidates approached the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court.
It is not just the nature of the exams but also content of the qualifications needed that needs to be examined. It is unlikely that those who have passed their 12th standard will be able to handle the job of LDC who get promoted to UDC. In the digital era there are no tests to check the computer literacy of candidates for appointment or promotion.
On the one hand, the government has digitalized everything. The regional transport office has made the registration of vehicles online. The register of lands has stipulated that you can register sale deeds online. The passport office was among the first to do away with the queues and required that applicants for passports should apply online. Even in the case of civil marriages the couple do not have to make the first visit to the marriage registrar office. Under the circumstances computer literacy is the necessary qualification for any government jobs.

IN the light of the latest scam the government must do an audit of all appointments. It must find out how many of employees are drawing salaries even though they may have died may years ago or retired. To give us a full example the carelessness of the government the official telephone directory has not been updated and the numbers shown are of officers who have retired or died long ago. The government must first understand the challenges of digital management and change the entire procedure for recruitment. We wish that minimum qualifications should be fixed for selections of MLAs and Ministers also. Is a chaiwallah competent to be the prime minister of a country?

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