"Two lakh candidates are appearing for today's test being conducted by us. On September 21, another one lakh candidates would be sitting for another recruitment test being held for filling up post of teachers, laboratory assistants, forest guards and accounts assistants," Shagufta Parveen, chairperson of the state service selection board (SSB) said in Srinagar.

Parveen also said extensive arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the recruitment test and she was personally supervising the entire exercise. On why the SSB doesn't allow candidates to take away question papers or carbon copies of their answer sheets at the end of the test, the chairperson said: "Any candidate can approach the SSB later with an RTI application to get a copy of his answer sheet to satisfy him or herself about the fairness of the evaluation process".

For all professional entrance tests in the state, the candidates are allowed to carry home their question papers as well as the carbon copies of their answer sheets to match their answers with the final answer keys published by the test conducting authority. When asked about many candidates who are to write the test September 21 complaining about not receiving their roll number slips, the SSB chairperson said these had already been dispatched to their addresses and those who haven't received them so far can download it from the SSB website.

Under its new recruitment policy, those employed in state government's non-gazetted service would draw only half the basic pay for the first two years and 75 percent of the basic pay for another three years. Also, the selected candidates would draw an average of just Rs 3,000 for the first two years and Rs 5,250 for the next three years.

After completion of five years, the selected candidates would be put in the regular pay bands. No pension benefits are now available to people selected for state government service under the new recruitment policy. Candidates who pass Tuesday's test would appear in an interview where final selections would be made.

Parveen said for the posts of teachers 65 points have been allotted to the written test while 15 points have been allotted to higher qualifications and 20 points to the  interview. "For all other posts, 80 points for the written test and 20 points for the interview have been allotted out of a total of 100 points," she said.

"Three hundred thousand candidates writing a recruitment test to get meager Rs 3,000 per month when onions are selling at Rs 70 a kg proves the desperation of swelling unemployment in Kashmir," said Shamim Meraj, editor of  'Kashmir  Monitor', a local daily newspaper in Srinagar.


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