Ground Reports

Gujarat Govt Job Crisis: A Hub Of Paper Leaks And Lag In Recruitment Process

By Team Mojo, 18 Sep 2022

Niraj, a 30-year-old man from Godhra, Gujarat, took six State Government exams and cleared every stage of each of them, yet he was still unable to land the jobs for which he is qualified. This happened either after the State decided to cancel the vacancy altogether, or because the files of thousands like Niraj lie pending in rusty cabinets and dusty corners of  govt departments.  

Thousands of unemployed boys and girls in Gujarat have time and again registered their protest against the State for either not completing the vacancies on time, or bringing in new measures just when the exams are around the corner. Gujarat, in the recent past, has also been seen as a ‘hub’ of paper leaks in terms of the government exams. In the past nine months, at least 4 govt exam papers were declared ‘leaked’ leading to a further delay in the recruitment process. The major problem with these recruitments is that there is no specific time period to complete the vacancy, and in every exam, there is a case pending in the Court pertaining to a plea of some student. 

The conditions of govt aided colleges in the State is such that most of them run on lecturers that are hired on a contractual basis. When in 2015, the State govt body GPSC(Gujarat Public Service Commission) declared 68 vacancies in the Electrical Dept and 111 vacancies in the Mechanical dept, students like Niraj who had completed their graduation and masters thought that their wait was finally over to land a govt job. However, fate had something else planned for them. 

By the year 2019, the entire selection criteria for these posts was over, and the State shortlisted the required number of candidates. But in the same year, when joining was supposed to happen, over 2/3rd of the total students selected were left in despair. The students were told that the govt did not need 68 lecturers for the Electrical dept, and did not need 111 for mechanical either. The required people were brought down to 36 and 24 respectively. A fresh merit list was released with the shortlisted candidates leaving the rest who had waited for 4 years as per the guidelines given by the State govt in despair. 

The specific reason given here was that “colleges do not need these many lecturers right now since there are already people on contracts.” Now the contractual people that the govt states are those who have been so for the past 11 years. The regular procedure for them is that the govt would renew these contracts every year, but since that did not happen, the ones on contract now demanded a permanent job and went to the Courts seeking their end of justice. 

Another interesting catch here, is also the difference in payments of the permanent staffers and the ones on contract. In a usual case, things would seem a bit simplified, but here, there is a huge pay disparity. In case of a permanent appointed lecturer, the govt would have to pay at least 70-75 thousand rupees to them, while for the one on contract, it is a mere sum of 25000 rupees. 

When the appointment of applicants was trimmed down, Niraj was a bit hesitant on what would happen to his job. However, he did make it to the 36 that were a part of the Electrical  department. Niraj for two years, had to work at a clerical level in the district court. Since he had a bachelors’ and masters degree, and was qualified for a Class 2 job, he did not have to struggle in terms of being unemployed. The young man had to run a family of 4, including his wife, a new born daughter and his mother. After his father passed away in 2016, he was the sole breadwinner and had to run the house. This job would have made things simpler, and life easier but again, the fate did not match with the plans he had made. Till date, joining to the ones who had qualified after rigorous scrutiny has not been given. 

The students even approached the Education Minister and the other officials seeking a reply on the incomplete vacancies. However, the reply was that the process  would be completed soon, and the reason behind this delay was the pending case of the contract based lecturers in the High Court. The candidates on the other hand alleged that this was just to misdirect them as the matter of the ones on the contract was entirely different from theirs. The lag in this particular exam is not the only one, and neither is the problem in the recruitment process. As much as the candidates in this job are educationally qualified and have higher chances of landing another job, the ones in other clerical and lower level exams are not as privileged. 

The exam for Non-Secretariat Clerical is yet another case of lag and a situation that has left the candidates helpless. Unlike the Lecturers’ post, this exam requires just a qualification of a 12th-grade pass, and a considerable number of students who apply for this job come from financially marginalized backgrounds. 

The post was introduced back in 2018, and the exams were declared to happen on 20th November 2019. Right, when the exams were around the corner, another notice was released on 11th November wherein, just nine days prior to the exams, the eligibility criteria was changed. The eligibility now changed to graduate from the 12th pass. This prevented many students from being a part of this exam, especially the ones who had been preparing for it for a long time. With 9 days left for the preliminary exam, the students were left with no choice but to protest. 

At this point, the chairman of the GPSSSC (Gujarat Public Subordinate Service Selection Commission) was Mr Asit Vohra. A highly regarded member of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, Vohra had been the chairman of this commission for 6 years straight. Not just this, but to give a background, he had formerly been a Mayor of Ahmedabad as well. When the students revolted and staged a protest making it difficult for the administration to hold their decision, the new amendment in the rule was rolled back and the eligibility for the 12th pass was restored. But little did the students know that the struggle would not end here. 

On the day of the exam, 20th November 2019, different areas observed the exams between 12 pm-2 pm. No sooner did the students come out of the exam hall and celebrate in joy, they found that the paper for the exam was ‘leaked’ an hour before the exam. Telegram and WhatsApp groups of these students flooded with messages as the candidates who had given years of preparation for the same were in deep anguish. 

Yuvraj Singh Jadeja, a vocal Youth leader, currently a member of the Aam Aadmi Party, who back then was a candidate, along with other students reached the GPSSSC office and informed the Secretary about the same suggesting there was not enough proof. As per Yuvraj, the officer paid no heed. Later, when there were demonstrations in Gandhi Nagar and other parts of Gujrat, in December, an SIT probe was directed. The investigation’s findings showed that the paper had been leaked from Danilimda Public School, where the principal, peon and others were involved in the paper leak. 

Protests by Lecturers after the Govt gave Notices for Cutting Down the Number of Seats

Post this incident, the students demanded resignation of the Chairman Vohra as the lag in recruitment process of several exams during his 6 year tenure had been the most. The students alleged that the administration had time and again failed to stop paper leaks and possibly were involved in it too. Although what happened with Vohra was contrary to what the students expected. His tenure was renewed and he remained the chairman. 

Although Vohra was made the chairman again, the tenure was short-lived this. Another vacancy, this time of Head Clerk was released, an exam was taken, and the paper got leaked again. This led to massive revolts in Ahmedabad and other regions post which the Chairman was forced to retire. 

A next date for the same Non-secretariat clerical exam was announced but Covid prevented that from happening. After that, in April 2022, the prelims were conducted and in July, the next stage of exams which is a Computer Based Test(CBT) was conducted. A few days back, on 31st August, a list for the final selection criteria which is the document verification was also released. The process finally took some pace and the recruitment will possibly complete in a month or two. When this reporter asked Archit, a student who has lived in Gandhi Nagar, spending years in preparation, he said,” I agree that the process has speeded up, and will possibly be completed this year as well. But two things have changed, the Chairman is different, and elections are underway.“ 

Youth leader Yuvraj Singh Jadeja says that the State govt has followed this pattern constantly. “The lag in exams continues until the elections come near. Unemployed Youth in the State is nothing but a bait to the govt. I am an accidental politician, I was supposed to do a govt job, but seeing the condition of all the education departments, I was compelled to enter the politics,”

The salary for the position of clerk is Rs19950. Hundreds of students who had applied for these exams were residing in Gandhi Nagar, a hub of govt exam applicants. The monthly expenses including the room rent, travel expense, fee for coaching institutes and other minor expenses amount to a minimum cost of Rs.10000  a month. With a burden of such expenses for nearly 3 years, even if a student lands this job, it would be difficult to cover the expenses incurred. 

At least 700 primary schools in Gujarat, have only one teacher who teaches all the subjects to students from classes 1 to 8. This data was found recently in the month of March this year. As much as the lecturers’ at a college level have been in a dilapidated State, so have those teachers who have been trying to get the job they deserve as per the posts that remain vacant in primary schools across Gujarat. Even after constant appeals, and plea’s submitted to the education minister, these qualified candidates allegedly have received nothing but false hopes. As per the government’s own data, at least 28000 vacancies in the schools of Gujarat lie pending. 

The condition of Gujarat’s schools has put a lot of lives at stake. 16318 posts for teachers and 1028 posts for principals remain vacant. Kinjal is a candidate for the primary school teacher, a position for which, in her native place, most of the schools have a single teacher who manages everything, right from being a principal to management and teaching up to class 8. Earlier this year, the government had declared Kinjal and other 3000 candidates qualified for the job. However, till now, the posts have not been filled. 

Since March, every Monday and Tuesday, Kinjal and thousands like her have been paying regular visits to the Education Minister who has done nothing but give them false hopes. ”This Tuesday, his reply was that we should start celebrating, as our vacancies would be filled soon. However, we have taken enough bait and now have decided to start protesting again from 5th Sept.” The teachers in the month of March had staged a 45 day long strike at Gandhi Nagar after which they were given a verbal assurance that their vacancy would be completed. However, to date, it has seen no progress.

Protesting Qualified Teachers at the Education Minister's office

In March this year, the paper for Forest Guard was leaked, and before that, a paper of class 10th Board exams. The point to note is that all the three mentioned vacancies come under different boards namely GPSC, GPSSSC and Gujarat Education Board, and are not the only exams that have seen a slow process. With the elections around the corner, candidates of these and several other jobs hope to land the job they are qualified for. 

Report by Hrishi Raj Anand