Srinagar, Oct 7: Questions are being raised on the engagement of senior stipendiary residents in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) at Soura Srinagar, with candidates claiming that neither merit nor entrance exam was used as a yardstick for the selection of candidates.
On 21/09/2023, under order number SIMS/ACAD/538, SKIMS put out a selection list for the engagement of 53 stipendiary senior resident doctors, and when the aspirants saw the list of selected candidates many raised this query that only blue-eyed candidates had been selected, especially in the department of surgery.
Among those selected in the surgery department, was the son of GMC principal Dr. Masood Tanvir Bhat and many other blue-eyed candidates.
According to both the aspirants and the senior official of SKIMS, neither the exams were conducted nor the merit was used for the selection of the candidates. The candidates were selected solely on the basis of performance in the interviews. However, the majority of the aspirants said that they were not asked more than three questions in the interview: 1. When did you complete your MS? 2. What was your thesis topic? 3. And who was your guide?
“We were not asked any questions, just three simple questions and then we were asked to go home. When the results came out, we were surprised that nepotism had played a major role in the selection. The selection should have been either on the basis of examination or merit, but they neither conducted the examination nor considered the merit as a basis for the selection. I am myself a third position holder in the MS in Surgery, but I was left out,” an aspirant lamented while speaking with The Watchdog on condition of anonymity.
Another candidate said that “the whole process was rigged,” and that they were already aware of who would feature in the list; it was the candidates who had connections. The process was not fair.”
“There was no transparency in the process. We are not sure what was the basis for selection. If the interview was a basis for the selection, then how come there were some candidates in the selection list who we did not even see during the interview?” another candidate asked.
One more candidate said that “some doctors who were already doing a registrar-ship at the SKIMS institute also featured in the list because their registrar-ship was about to end and they wanted to stay in the institute. If this keeps happening, how can new doctors get the opportunity to work in our prime institutes? It is unfair processes such as these that many of us are considering to start doing our practice outside Kashmir.”
Many candidates demanded a high level of inquiry into the matter and invoked the lieutenant governor to take stock of the workings at SKIMS.
“From cradle to grave, there is corruption everywhere, whether that is an appointment of a peon or an appointment of a senior doctor. Education and healthcare are the backbone of any country, and when such pious institutions are destroyed through corruption and nepotism, you can imagine what would be the future of a country,” Dr. Abdul Bari Naik, a social activist, commented while speaking with The WatchDog.
When The WatchDog reached the dean of academics SKIMS, Dr. Bashir Ahmad Laway, for comments, he said that the selection of the candidates was done on dynamic criteria.
“We could not take the merit as a yardstick in the selection because a candidate can have good grades, but he might not be so good at other things. Similarly, we did not go for the written test because then we had to worry about the secrecy and the paper leak issue. Therefore, we were satisfied to go for the selection at the discretion of the selection committee,” Dr. Laway added further.
The selection committee included the following officials from SKIMS: Director, Dean, Medical superintendent, Director of finance, and expert HOD for the concerned department. However, many candidates said that the concerned HODs were not present to assess their performance during the interview, raising questions whether the process for selecting 53 senior resident doctors at SKIMS was done fairly. (KNO)