HYDERABAD: When P Srinivas (name changed) got an interview call from AP Public Service Commission (APPSC) last week, it was for an exam he had appeared for 11 years ago, ie. in 1999. When he had cleared the exam, he was eligible for the post of a deputy tehsildar. Instead, for the last decade he has been working for a private firm, his current income just about Rs 15,000. And at 39, he will finally become a deputy tehsildar.

Srinivas was among many other aspirants for government jobs who were denied a seat in APPSC group II services in 2000 when the first phase of recruitment took place. The reason? The commission insisted that the vacancies had to be filled in a phased manner. As many as 200 candidates who had qualified in 1999 along with Srinivas were intimated of their interview calls just a week back.

Now that the interview call has finally reached him, in the third phase of selections that spanned over the past eleven years, Srinivas is still not a happy man as he is aware of what he has lost with time. While he would have reached the deputy collector's post had he been recruited in 2000, Srinivas will be joining as deputy tehsildar, two grades lower than the collector's post. He also lost ten years of government service which will affect his benefits including provident fund and pension after retirement, he says.

What Srinivas or other candidates like him are sore about is the fact that there were 1,500 vacant posts during the first phase of recruitment of candidates who appeared for the group II exam in 1999 but only one third of them were filled at that time. While the commission was supposed to fill all available posts in the state in 2000, APPSC filled only 200 executive posts then, 973 posts in 2002 and 79 posts in 2005. This is even after instructions from the state and central government to conduct, clear and appoint candidates on an annual basis much like the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

While the officials from the commission said that the recruitment drive had to be conducted in three stages due to several court cases challenging the decision taken by APPSC in selecting the candidates, the APPSC aspirants who were stranded midway through the selection for several years alleged that even after high court judgment, which came out in 2008 in favour of their recruitment, APPSC took two years to call them for the interview.

"We lost 10 years of service while waiting for the post. Had we been recruited in the 2000 drive we would have reached the rank of deputy collectors by now. APPSC denied us this opportunity and we will be lower in rank when compared to our peers who were recruited earlier," said a 1999 candidate who is currently working as sub registrar in a government office. He said that with APPSC recruitments finally happening, he would get a post higher in rank than what he has now. Incidentally the commission decided to hurry the recruitments only after AP High Court issued an order asking them to admit 79 candidates in executive posts and 32 candidates in non executive posts.

APPSC trainers from the city said that the delay in the process of recruitment is a common thing for the commission though it affects the candidates. "Lakhs of students appear for the APPSC examinations every year. If the examination gets conducted regularly with regular appointments, the state will be able to get interesting young people to occupy officer posts," said C Ganesh, director, competitive examination coaching centre, OU.

Meanwhile, APPSC officials said that the delay in the state services exam are caused due to the court cases which the candidates file against the commission. He added that the candidates who are now being called for selections themselves moved the court against the commission to stall the process.

The candidates, on their part, vow to cleanse the system of bureaucratic hurdles, once they are in power.

Source : The Times of India