ZT Research Desk:
Students and research scholars of Agriculture and allied fields are aghast at the introduction of SRO-442, which envisages promotion-based engagement of staff in the Agriculture Department in J&K. On the other hand, departmental technocrats maintain that it is their experience and technical qualifications that befit fulfillment of technical vacancies in the department against the available vacancies. This is a debate that has a long list of arguments and counter-arguments.
SRO-442, introduced in 2017 by the then government, envisages that the posts of Junior Agriculture Extension Officers (JAEOs) will be filled 100 per cent on promotional basis which otherwise was on 60:40 per cent basis (60 percent by direct recruitment and 40 percent by promotion). Agriculture professionals without government jobs maintain that this policy leaves them with no job prospects, and that they have to look for jobs in the private sector, which, to most of them, are uncertain and less remunerative. They want the Government to amend SRO 442 to its original form (60:40 ratio) for JAEO posts and maintain the 50:50 ratio for AEO’s which was a rule prior to 2004.
This week Ziraat Times engaged with public policy makers, employee union leaders and unemployed professionals to understand their points of view. Is a middle ground possible to ensure that the interests of both the sides are accommodated? Here is what the two sides and public policymakers have to say on the matter.
Manzoor Ahmad Lone
We are already considering re-organizing the whole policies.
The nature for both the positions of Agriculture Extension Assistant and Junior Agriculture Extension Officer is almost the same.
We have 2600 positions for AEA and 1400 posts for JEAO, both are non-gazetted posts.
For now, there is 80% promotional recruitment and 20% direct recruitment for Agriculture Extension Officer, a gazetted post and the ratio seems irrelevant and we will revisit the policies again.
Prof Nazeer Ahmad
The recruitment for professional degree holders is supposed to be for gazetted positions as is the case for other professional degrees.
The number of graduates is increasing and they are to be accommodated.
If promotional recruitment ratio is more, there won’t be the latest technical know-how and it’s not justified if the promotional recruitment is more compared to direct recruitment. There should be a 50:50 ratio at least.
Director of Agriculture, Jammu
Rehbar-e-Ziraat is on the analogy of Rehbar-i-Taleem. Under the scheme, ReZ’s were appointed as contractual employees and after some time there was a demand for regularising those ReZs.
The position was created for those ReZ’s and was promoted to AEA’s.
The AEA position is at panchayat level and the eligibility criteria stand for B.Sc Agriculture as a minimum.
Abdul Hamid Shah
Agriculture Technocrats Welfare Association, Kashmir
The minimum eligibility criteria for Agriculture Extension Officer is B.Sc Agriculture and it is a gazetted post. It was up to 1988 under SRO 179, then there was an amendment in service rules.
Under this amendment, 50% was for direct recruitment for JAEO and 50% was for ReZ. In 2007, there was SRO 433 under which 80% was departmental promotion and 20% is for direct recruitment for AEO.
For now, there is a severe grievance for JAEO and there is a stay order on this position by the court.
For JAEO, 65% is departmental recruitment, 30% is for in-service field assistants and 5% is in service B.Sc Agriculture graduates.
With the SRO 442, ReZ get promoted to AEA and is 75% and for field assistants, it is 25%. Direct recruitment has been stopped and so is the case with Departmental promotion.
Baramulla Agriculture Technocrats Welfare Association)
There is an injustice when it comes to Departmental promotion.
The position of JAEO has been put on hold and there is no departmental promotion if we talk about the employees that haven’t been promoted in 1988.
There might be some litigations but that is not justified.
J&K Agriculture Technocrats Association at Deptt. of Agriculture
Whatever posts are available, the file is already at the secretariat level.
Under SRO 442, 75% is DPC of AEA’s to JAEO’s. 25% is for field assistants. Direct Recruitment is at JAEO’s position.
SKUAST Students’ Council stand: Review recruitment policies
“We the Students council SKUAST-K & SKUAST-J seek the intervention of Hon’ble Governor Shri Satyapal Malik towards the recruitment policies implemented in recent years in Agriculture production department that has closed all the doors for direct recruitment of qualified professional degree holders in Agriculture.
We request the Hon’ble Governor to kindly review and amend the SRO-442 as soon as possible, under which the entry level subordinate category post i.e., Junior Agriculture Extension Officer (JAEO) recognized by premier recruitment body (JKSSB) are being filled 100% on promotional basis is contrary to the earlier SRO-02, wherein these posts were filled on 60:40 basis (60% by direct recruitment and 40% by promotion) thereby, leaving the unemployed professionals high and dry.
Further, more than 500 posts of JAEO are lying vacant in JKAPD, but due to SRO-442, these posts are not being referred for direct recruitment, thereby violating our fundamental right to equal opportunity.
We also request the Hon’ble Governor to review and amend the SRO-433, under which the only entry-level post in gazetted cadre of JKAPD i.e., Agriculture Extension Officer (AEO) is to be filled on 20:80 basis (20% direct recruitment and 80% promotion basis) in contrary to the earlier SRO-179 wherein these posts were filled on 50:50 basis (50% by direct recruitment and 50% by promotion).
Moreover, the posts under direct quota are lying vacant and due to the negligence of higher authorities, these posts have not been referred to the competent authority from the last 15 years. Agriculture Production Department recently furnished the details of positions of Agriculture Extension Officers and Agriculture Extension Assistants which are lying vacant in hundreds but these posts have not been referred to JKPSC and JKSSB respectively till date.
So, we request the Hon’ble chair to please intervene in the matter of clarification in case of AEO’s and AEA’s which are lying vacant in JKAPD. Furthermore, we request His Excellency to kindly review and amend the draconian SRO-442 and SRO-433 in a way that will benefit both the unemployed agricultural youth and the lower employees of JKAPD.”