Kerala PSC examination: Appointment of Office Assistants in Secretariat too under a cloud

Kerala Secretariat

Thiruvananthapuram: The appointment of Office Assistants (OA) in the Secretariat too is under a cloud soon after it had emerged that unfit candidates were recruited as legal assistants in the nerve centre of the Kerala government. The former appointment has been stopped now after the Vigilance apprised the issue with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The Vigilance wing of the Administrative Reforms section has submitted a report to the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) on the irregularities in the appointment of OAs. Bogus vacancies were likely created and the PSC made to conduct special exams so that those eyeing the posts could easily attain the minimum marks.

If such appointments flouting recruitment rules go on those in the open quota, who write the public exams, would be denied the job opportunity, the Vigilance noted.

Meanwhile, it has come to light that there were attempts to recruit more office attenders too in Secretariat even though those on the rolls now have fewer tasks at hand. The Secretariat already has 791 attenders, and any addition will add to financial liabilities.

The main task of attenders is to take files to the various departments and make copies. With computerisation, 90 per cent of such file transfer has moved on to the digital platform. Therefore, a majority of these employees are mainly jobless and are mostly engaged in the activities of labour unions. With union backing these 791 attenders now get the salary of a Lower Division Clerk. The CM has instructed to review this after the finance secretary flagged it.

The 'joblessness' of the last grade workers was discussed during a recent meet headed by the CM. However, no concrete decision was made.

A day earlier it was reported that candidates who had secured poor marks in a PSC test have been appointed as legal assistants in the Secretariat with likely blessings from the employee associations of the ruling left parties. The administrative department and the government likely turned a blind eye for the benefit of undeserving candidates. Interestingly, the appointments were for posts that are supposed to provide legal advice to the government for cases that go up to the Supreme Court. In the past too there were allegations that the government lost several cases in courts due to incompetent employees in the legal department.

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