No one knows where the pandemic is going as the daily positive figures and number of deaths go up and down while the possibility of a third wave with more deadly strains looming in the horizon. But, the Manipur assembly elections are just round the corner and nobody seems to care, especially with the renewed effort being invested in the recruitment spree. A month ago, written tests were held in several locations in Imphal for recruitment of about 190 graduate teachers on contract with thousands of candidates participating, even as the curfew relaxations came. Interview for recruitment of several assistant professors in the various government colleges has begun. Many departments are also lining up recruitment for different jobs. In fact, it is like a job circus where the market rate has sky-rocketed. And this is happening when the state financial situation is in dire straits leading to a recruitment ban and when the government is citing the financial situation to wriggle out of the employees strike. The ban on recruitment for all categories of employees in the state government was already there, yet it was relaxed on piece-meal basis on the basis of ‘necessity’ and of course through the good graces of the Cabinet from time to time.
A memorandum issued by the chief secretary had stated, all the ongoing recruitment processes, including daily wages, contract employment, muster roll, direct recruitment being undertaken by all the departments including all agencies, societies, undertakings, boards, corporations, among others under them shall be put on hold with immediate effect. This also includes the written test examination and viva voce. However, the order stated that any proposal for a recruitment process which needs to be initiated has to be placed before the committee headed by the chief secretary to examine issues relating to rationalisation of posts in all government departments and autonomous bodies first. The same will be followed by specific permission from the department of personnel. Therein lies the catch and it will open the gateway for another series of piece-meal relaxations. And the chief minister is in charge of the powerful Department of Personnel (DP). Any minister who wishes to start a recruitment process in the departments under their charge has to have the blessings of the chief minister. Such relaxations were done in the past also in the case of Home Department recruitments and other time-bound recruitments related to Central government funding or schemes.
Well, there are several recruitment processes pending now at different stages in many departments including Home, Power and Education department. The recruitment process in these departments involves a sizeable number of posts which certainly means a huge financial commitment on a recurring basis. In the Home department, it is recruitment relating to establishment of two India Reserve Battalions which may be utilised as Highway Protection Force in the near future. The physical efficiency test and written test has already been completed. While the results are still pending another recruitment process for police constables has started. Recruitment for more than 500 posts in the two power companies had been pending for quite some time. In the Education department also, several posts for the newly established Dhanamanjuri (DM) University and some categories of teachers in the School department were recently notified. But, this is only about the bulk recruitments. Several other departments had also issued recruitment notices after obtaining clearances from DP and Cabinet. How is it related to the ensuing elections? Well, elections require funds, lots of it. That is why, the market rate has gone over the roof.