Govt increases retirement age by 2 yrs; Decision taken after meeting with Qayoom Wani-led team
Ahead of the Assembly elections later this year, the State Government Tuesday approved enhancement in the retirement age of its employees from present 58 to 60 years. The Government also cleared increasing the upper age limit for applying for Government jobs by three years, from present 37 to 40 years.
The State Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah cleared the six-year-old demand of the employees to bring their service tenure at par with central government employees, soon after Omar formally announced the decision in a meeting with employees’ representatives at Civil Secretariat here. The JK employees’ leader Abdul Qayoom Wani was, among others, on the forefront of the fight for enhancement in the retirement age of government employees. “I will strongly advocate enhancement of retirement age in the Cabinet and make sure it is approved to the best satisfaction of the employees,” said Omar, in a bid to reach out to the employees, before chairing today’s Cabinet meet. Sources said the Cabinet comprising of ruling National Conference-Congress ministers later approved the employees’ demand on enhancing the retirement age with effect from June 1, 2014.
The prescribed upper age limit for entry into Government service against all posts, meant for direct recruitment—other than those filled through the Combined Competitive Examination conducted by the Public Service Commission—shall, with effect from 1st January, 2014, be: 40 years (open category), 43 years (reserved category) and 42 years (physically challenged).
The upper age limit shall, however, not apply to the posts already advertised, for which the last date, fixed by the recruitment agencies, has expired. “Recruitment against the posts, which have been advertised before 01.01.2014, shall continue to be governed by the age applicable at the relevant point of time,” the official spokesman said.
In another decision, the Cabinet with regard to demand for regularization of casual/temporary/need-based labourers, engaged after 31.01.1994, ordered that all the Departments shall submit the requisite details to the Finance Department by the end of June, 2014 to enable the Cabinet Sub-Committee, headed by Finance Minister, to prepare an appropriate policy in this regard.
Senior Congress Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din said the important outcome of today’s cabinet decisions was that youth who have already crossed upper age limit would get three more years to try for Government jobs.
“It will benefit thousands of youth who had crossed the upper age limit,” he said.
Today’s move was on the expected lines after the National Conference and Congress lost all six Parliamentary seats to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and BJP. Both Omar and his party had announced they would analyze the poll debacle.
Following the defeat, the Government last month revoked the 2011 recruitment policy under which the appointees were paid stipend instead of regular salary for first five years and lifted the four-year ban on SMS on prepaid mobiles.
In a bid to reach out to employees, which constitutes nearly four lakh workforce in J&K and with eyes set on the Assembly elections, Omar announced a slew of pro-employees initiatives. He set a deadline of one-month to the Finance Department for finalizing the regularization of all ad-hoc employees and to frame the recommendations on casual laborers. “On-spot directions were also issued by Omar for withdrawal of cases instituted against agitating employees under Essential Service Maintenance Ordinance (ESMO),” an official spokesman said.
The CM constituted a committee comprising Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and Secretary General Administration Department to study all other demands of the employees outside the ambit of Finance department. The committee has been asked to finalize its recommendations within one-month.
“I will personally monitor the functioning of this Committee and all other issues pertaining to the welfare of employees and talk to representatives of employees myself without any mediators,” the spokesman quoted Omar as saying.
The CM, the spokesman said, would be personally meeting employees’ representatives every month to “sort-out issues and cement the relations” between the Government and its employees. Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khandey; Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, BB Vyas and Secretary General Administration Department Muhammad Ashraf Bukhari attended the meeting from the government-side while employees were represented by Joint Consultative Committee members including Abdul Qayoom Wani, Rouf Ahmad, Mir Abdus Salam, Manzoor Ahmad Bhat and Abdul Hamid Zadoo, among others.