KAS: Aspirants eager, but Pinarayi govt on the back foot

Anand Prince

Representational image

Kerala Administrative Service (KAS) or state’s own version of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) came into existence in 2018. The ambitious project of developing a special cadre of civil servants in the state was pushed by Pinarayi Vijayan government with much fervour. The first notification was issued in 2019. The exam happened in 2020 and the results came out in 2021. 105 toppers in the first batch are undergoing their 18-month-long training.

When KAS came into effect, it was stipulated that the new notification will be issued once in every two years. Three years have passed since the issuance of the first notification and yet the second notification has not been issued. Similarly, the government is also not seen very spirited in talking on the matter.

KAS is the highest level of examination conducted by the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) and its core objective is to shape a new generation of middle-level employees for state government administration. Interestingly, G.O.(P) No.12/2017/P&ARD clearly state that “the scheme of examination shall be decided by Kerala Public Service Commission in consultation with the Government and shall be on the pattern, rigour and standards adopted by the Union Public Service Commission in the examinations for recruitment to the Civil Services conducted in the year prior to year of conduct of the examination for recruitment to the Kerala Administrative Service.” But, the present situation of KAS suggests derailment from intentions.

Representational image | Photo: gettyimages.in

Why delay in issuing notification?

The 105 vacancies were brought under KAS from various departments. Though it was directed to find more vacancies, it remained as a direction only. On the other hand, some departments raised objections against vacancies that were brought under KAS and the exclusions. Apparently, employees unions pressurised the government over these contentions. As a result, determining cadre strength as per the special rules posed a challenge. A committee chaired by the Chief Secretary was formed to investigate, correct the errors and amend the rules. But the committee has not yet filed any reports. Once the report is filed, the supposed changes have to be brought as amendments to the rules. Then only new vacancies can be identified. The issuance of notification will prolong till then.

Meanwhile, a total of 533 candidates are in the existing rank list. Some of them allege that though the government is aware of the fact that more than 50 vacancies come under the purview of KAS, it has not pursued any follow up procedures. According to them, the state government is distancing itself from supposed actions even as the court took a favourable stand on those vacancies. They are planning to pursue a contempt of court lawsuit over the matter.

Authorities concerned maintained that departmental promotions and retirements too will determine the vacancies for KAS. On the other hand, the financial crunch will affect creation of new posts. In spite of all these roadblocks, many aspirants keep their fingers crossed and continue to pay hefty fees for pursuing KAS special coaching.

Representational image | Photo: gettyimages.in

What about the first batch?

The first batch has been undergoing training at Institute of Management in Government (IMG), Thiruvananthapuram. The candidates have been receiving training in different subject matters with special focus on Kerala. Both theoretical and practical sessions are there and they are being regularly evaluated on the basis of various criteria. They are getting the designated consolidated pay during the training period. The matters like their positions and respective departments will be decided later. The training will be completed by June 2023.

An insider's comment

A top bureaucrat who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that practically speaking there is no need to hurry to come up with a new notification.

"No where the government has said that it will recruit a set number of individuals for KAS. Policy wise also we are not equipped to notify vacancies like IAS. The scales are different," the bureaucrat said.

The person pointed out that only by 2026 a new batch will be required and for that we don't not have to be concerned at least till 2024.

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