Swapnil Lonkar, a 24-year-old aspirant for Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC), died by suicide in Pune after waiting for an interview call for more than two years since he had cleared the exams in 2019.
As all exams related to MPSCs have been getting delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Swapnil slipped into depression. He wrote in his suicide note, "Two years since I passed out but haven't get job. There is feeling that I am somehow not doing enough. This negative thought is storming inside me. I can't stand this now [sic]."
Swapnil's father Sunil Lonkar told Marathi news channels that his son was under pressure. "He told me get a loan for a new house. He was thinking that once he gets a job, he will be able to repay the loan. But he did not get the job and he got frustrated. He died by suicide out of this frustration," said Sunil Lonkar.
This incident has again brought the issue of MPSC recruitment to the fore. Swapnil was among more than 5,000 aspirants who have cleared the exams and are waiting for interviews. There are more than 1,000 who even cleared interviews, but have not yet received appointment letters. This masisve delay in recruitment is apparently happening due to the pandemic.
The data received by NewsClick shows that there are vacancies at multiple levels in nearly almost all departments of the state government. The vacancies till July 5 are as follows:
This delay in recruitment has taken place mainly after 2018-19. Besides, there are multiple reasons behind the delay. After the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis-led government declared Maratha reservation, many candidates and organisations have gone to court regarding the quota. Now, some of the cases are still pending in the high court and some in the Supreme Court.
"Does only MPSC have Covid-19 situation? We are seeing the UPSC tool exams and their process of recruitment is on. Then why is MPSC delaying it? This has made a huge negative impact on aspirant youths across the state," said Vidya Jadhav, another MPSC aspirant who is waiting for an interview over the phone.
Another student, Nikhil Kadam, who has cleared the MPSC Police Sub-Inspector (PSI) exam but waiting for an interview, told NewsClick that the aspirants do not have anymore patience left. "We study for three to five years minimum to crack these exams. After passing the exam, if MPSC is not calling us for interview, then how will we believe them? Many students like me are losing patience," said Nikhil.
After Swapnil's suicide, the Maharashtra government woke up to reality. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar assured in the state Assembly on Monday that all recruitments would be completed before July 31. "The incident is unfortunate. The delay is due to court matters. But now we are going to fill all the vacancies in MPSC before July 31st," announced Pawar.
Whether the state government succeeds in keeping its promise of the July 31 deadline remains to be seen.