The disclosure by the Home minister that 2078 persons were directly appointed in his department in the years between 2014 and 2017 was indeed a big figure for a small state like Nagaland. It was also shocking because the appointments were all done without any open advertisement nor any selection process in some cases. Thereby the Home department which includes the police and the administration too, recruiting personnel with doubtful selection processes is altogether a more serious issue.
The former chief minister TR Zeliang after taking office in 2014 had been quite vocal about the excess appointment being made by the government departments. He had advocated the need to have a proper regulatory process to ensure that the correct number of posts vacant are identified and also to track the pensioners in the state. Lamenting on the financial position of the state, almost all collectively took the blame for steering the state into such huge deficits with a high cost of maintenance for salaried employees and pensioners.
Then in June 2016 an order from the government completely banned contract employments that were usually recruited directly by the department without going through the proper selection though there exists a public service commission for such purposes. It is the breeding ground of nepotism and other forms of employment related rackets in the state. The order also cited the very reported case of Uma Devi in the Supreme Court. Inspite of the humanitarian angle in its observation of persons being employed by the government for long duration without regularisation, the order was quite specific on how the recruitment process needs to be. The apex court observed that any recruitment without open advertisement deprives other more deserving candidates and so it goes against those person’s right to equality and the right to employment in public office as laid down by Article 14 and Article 16 of the constitution respectively.
However in spite of such tall claims by the government, direct recruitments without open advertisements or backdoor appointments continued behind the scene the last three years. The appointments made from 2014-17 in the departments as disclosed in the Assembly indicates one of the highest number of appointments in proportion in similar duration on other years. There were excessive talks and slogans on the negatives of excess employees in the government, probably prepared by scriptwriters with genuine concern, however for the lawmakers of the state, the excess appointments in the government departments continued behind the scenes.