‘Government’s work is God’s work’: these words stand out even in the grandiose Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru. But getting an opportunity to do the same is rather difficult and inordinately delayed for Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) aspirants, thanks to lack of clarity on the date of interviews and recruitment for those who cleared the exam.
KPSC, the civil services entrance exam through which Karnataka Administrative Service (KAS) officers are recruited, is modeled around the Union Public Service Commission which recruits IAS officers.
In the last decade, there has been only one round of recruitment that has for about 400 positions despite more than 2,000 posts being vacant. And for the latest batch – the ones who cleared the exam in December 2017 – the interview dates are yet to be announced. Meanwhile, the recruitment of the 2011 batch has also been stayed by the Karnataka High Court due to irregularities.
While hundreds of people’s futures hang in the balance, the KPSC, an independent body, has been delaying the recruitment process without any clarification.
Raghavendra is one of those people who took the last KPSC examination in 2017. The test was notified in 2015, but wasn’t conducted for two years. The 30-year-old Bengaluru resident is an M Tech degree holder. He rues that his future is continues to be uncertain though he spent years focusing on government job exams. “KPSC have been delaying the interview process for almost two years now. More than 2,000 students have qualified for the interview process. From January 2018 till now, only document verification has taken place and they do not have any clue when in actuality the recruitment will take place,” Raghavendra tells TNM, disappointment apparent in his voice.
He adds, “The delay is not only an issue of immediate employment or income. Many of us will lose our eligibility. 35 is the age limit for general category, 37 for OBCs and 44 for SC/ ST category candidates.”
Kavya K, another aspirant, said, “We are frustrated at this point. Administration is something which we like and that is why we invested our time preparing for these examinations. But unlike UPSC we do not find any pattern for KPSC exams. We are being kept in the dark about our future.” Under these circumstances, Kavya has started to work part time as an online educator.
Poorna Chandra, Raghavendra’s contemporary, tells, “It is not that we are asking for a job. But we are looking for an answer for closure. Is that a lot to ask? In UPSC, across the nation, the results are declared within three months or so. But here the KPSC is so inefficient that it doesn’t happen even in one year.”
He adds, “Everybody has financial commitments. It is not possible for everybody to pursue this process without any steady income for years.”
Unlike other issues, neither the state government nor the Opposition has made any effort to elevate the woes of these 2,000 aspirants who appeared for the KPSC examinations. Only BJP MLA from Rajajinagar Suresh Kumar, has lent support to the cause of these aspirants and even participated in protests outside the KPSC office. “SS Jannu, the secretary of the KSPC has even lied to him saying that the interview will be held in next days and letters will soon be dispatched,” Raghavendra alleges.
When confronted with the issue, an official from the Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s office, said, “The matter does not pertain to the state government or the CMO. But we will look into it to help the students.”
While the KPSC is an independent body, aspirants feel that the state government must try to keep a check on it. Former Karnataka Chief Secretary Ratna Prabha K agrees. She says, "I can understand the plight of the aspirants, they must be getting worried. KPSC recruits officers for the state so the government has the right to ask them reasons for the delay. I, as CS constantly took up grievances of the candidates I am not able to understand why there is this long a delay."
A comment from current Chief Secretary Vijay Bhaskar is awaited.