Govt Flouted Rules To Appoint Ashim Khurana As SSC Chairman, Reveals RTI
A reply to an RTI query has revealed Modi government flouted rules in the appointment of Ashim Khurana, a 1983 batch Gujarat cadre officer, as the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) chairman. Staff Selection Commission is among the biggest recruiting agencies of India, through which annually 20 million young people dream of getting a job and bright future. The RTI query was filed by the youth movement “Yuva Halla Bol”, an initiative for employment & fairness in the recruitment process.
On the basis of documents accessed through RTI, the movement’s leader and the Chief Spokesperson, Anupam has alleged that Khurana had not even applied for the post, to begin with. Apart from this, there has been serious controversy around his ‘illegal’ service-extension given to him in 2018, which is said to be in violation of rules.
Khurana was appointed in 2015. In a press release, Yuva Halla Bol reveals that the first advertisement for the post of the chairman was floated by the Department of Personnel and Training on May 14, 2015. This advertisement said that only the candidates applying through proper channel would be considered. Further, the advertisement mentioned the upper age limit to be 59 years.
About 35 applications were received, out of which four were then shortlisted for the interview. Two cleared this round and were recommended for the Cabinet Committee on Appointments. The shortlisting was done by a four-member selection committee, before sending the recommended candidates’ names to the cabinet committee comprising of PM Modi and Rajnath Singh. However, taking a completely different stance, the selection committee recommended filling the post through the Civil Services Board route as a “measure keeping recruitment rules in abeyance”. The final list so prepared and sent for approval by the Cabinet Committee now had Khurana’s name.
Anupam from the Yuva Halla Bol said that Khurana’s appointment is suspicious since he hadn’t even applied for the role, in addition to being well over 59 years of age.
Khurana’s tenure marred with controversies
Khurana has been at the eye of the storm for reasons more than one. After assuming office on December 22, 2015, one of the first decisions taken by him was to grant the contract of conducting the exam to Sify Technologies. The group has alleged that large-scale mismanagement and corruption in the SSC exam are a result of the “collusion between SSC officials and Sify employees”.
Khurana presently is facing a CBI probe after the question papers were allegedly leaked on social media in February 2018.
The press release from Yuva Halla Bol says, “ The experience of the last five years has made it clear that not only is the Modi government anti-youth but also incompetent and insensitive when it comes to addressing unemployment in the country. Noted lawyer and anti-corruption crusader Prashant Bhushan has filed a PIL in Delhi High Court for quashing Ashim Khurana’s appointment as SSC Chairman.”