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9 May 2017

State cabinet approved recruitment of 5000 tells shrinking tale

TT, Calcutta, May 8: The state cabinet today approved recruitment of about 5,000 people into various departments, mostly in groups C and D, a number much lower than the chief minister's promise of creating employment for over 1.2 lakh people in the lowest rung of the administration.
"We have decided to recruit about 5,000 people for various posts in several departments, including those of health and fire," education minister Partha Chatterjee said after the cabinet meeting at Nabanna this afternoon.
On June 30, 2015, Mamata Banerjee had announced that the government would recruit 60,000 people each for groups C and D. The group C refers to clerks, while the group D consists of security guards, sweepers and peons.
The government has already started the process of recruiting about 6,000 people by conducting an exam, scheduled for May 20. If today's announcement is added, the total number of employees to be appointed by the state is 11,000, which is much lower than the target Mamata had set.
Although the chief minister had not spoken about any deadline for the proposed recruitment, sources at Nabanna had expected that the recruitment would precede panchayat polls.
A section of officers had also expressed apprehensions over the recruitment plan as state governments across the country and the Centre had moved towards contractual employment or outsourcing mode for various tasks performed by Group C and D staff.
A senior government official said the government had worked hard to recruit people for all vacant posts at the earliest, but two major issues - less number of reported vacancies and huge financial burden - prevented the state from initiating the drive.
Soon after Mamata had made the announcement, the personnel and administrative reforms department sought lists of vacancies from all departments and districts, particularly in the group D. But the departments reported only about 12,000 vacancies, which was much less than what the government had expected.
According to sources, majority of group D posts have become irrelevant with the introduction of computers and engagement of private agencies to carry out the work. "Now, you need less number of peons as sending letters or orders have become easy with the introduction of computers. Most of the vacancies in the group D posts are only on paper now," said an official.
Another problem was the cost of recruitment. As per a rough estimate by the finance department, recruitment of 1.2 lakh people would leave a burden of Rs 150 crore on the state exchequer a month. "It is a huge amount for the state. That is why the government could not recruit 12,000 group D people though the departments had sent requisition for the vacancies," said another official.

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