Srinagar: Strongly countering the news published in a section of media and some social media platforms regarding alleged ‘over-charging’ of application/examination fee from the applicants, J&K Services Selection Board (JKSSSB) has termed the attempt as unfair and out of context criticism aimed at to deflect attention from the widely hailed efforts of JKSSB in ensuring high standards of transparency in recently held examinations besides declaring time bound results amid all odds and difficulties caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
As per a communique received here today in this regard, the Board, being one of the largest and prime recruiting agency for the Government of Jammu & Kashmir for non-gazetted positions, has fixed Rs 350 as application/examination fee to be charged from the candidates for conduct of written test of all categories of posts in the year 2015 and pertinently, the same has not been revised for the past 6 years. The fee so charged is utilized for meeting the expenses for online application development, conduct of examination and other incidental charges like remuneration of invigilator staff/Magistrates/Observers, hiring of vehicles for Centre Magistrates/ Centre Observers/transportation of examination material to and fro the examination Centres, videography of examination Centres etc. Also, JKSSB keeps conducting examinations regularly and makes payments to various stakeholders as per the laid down norms and parameters.
The Board made it clear that the application/examination fee charged by it is one of the lowest as compared to sister recruiting and testing agencies of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Therefore, the alleged claim that the application/examination fee fixed by J&K SSB is punitive is misleading, out of context and gross exaggeration, having no connect with existing reality.
Further, the Board does not receive budgetary support/grant other than administrative expenses from the UT Government either for meeting shortfalls regarding conduct of examination or introduction of transparency related services. The comparison of JKSSB – a UT level recruiting agency with a national level recruiting body like Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is not only inapplicable but misleading, in as much as that varied factors including relative cost of examination, budgetary grant provided by the Government, etc govern the quantum of fee to be charged from candidates. It is also asserted that the application/examination fee charged by the JKSSB presently is realistic and reasonable and if the circumstances permit, the Board will not hesitate in reducing the application/examination fee in future in the interest of aspirants.
The Board, while taking cognizance of the fact that the ongoing pandemic has severely impacted the economy, has decided to charge only one time application fee for all such identical posts which have been advertised vide different advertisement notifications and for which Board intends to conduct a single examination as relaxation and relief to the unemployed youth of the Union Territory.
Moreover, the Board notifies tentative answer key of all the question paper(s) and gives reasonable opportunity to candidates for submitting representation before finalizing the answer key(s) free of cost.
The Board takes this opportunity to strongly refute motivated attempts of diverting attention from the good work being done by the JKSSB to provide employment to deserving and meritorious candidates in a time bound and transparent manner, despite recent changes in the legal framework and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.