New Delhi: The Parliamentary Committee has urged Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to enact some reforms as the 15-month-long recruitment process is affecting the prime years of candidates who are facing heavy mental and physical toll.
The Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, which referenced its latest report, stated that UPSC should examine the reasons behind the low turnout of candidates and highlighted that the average time taken for UPSC exams from the date of issue of notification to the date of declaration of the final result is nearly 15 months.
The examination, which is conducted annually by the UPSC in three stages -- preliminary, main, and interview, enables the selection of officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.
Low turnout among candidates irks panel
The report by the committee stated that the duration of any recruitment exam should not exceed six months, while also urging the body to reduce the time of the recruitment cycle without compromising on quality of the candidates.
On the low turnout, it said out of approximately, 32.39 lakh candidates who had applied for examinations conducted by UPSC in 2022-23, only 16.82 lakh candidates, (51.95 percent) actually appeared for examinations. For instance, 11.35 lakh candidates applied for the civil services examination in 2022 but only 5.73 lakh candidates (50.51 percent) actually appeared for the examination.
"The Commission may also provide the details of expenditure incurred by it on the conduct of the examinations for the same period. The Committee also recommends UPSC to examine the reasons behind low turnout of candidates and share the findings thereof with the Committee," the report added.
UPSC reforms' impact on urban, rural candidates
The Parliamentary panel has also suggested the formation of an expert committee to assess UPSC's current process's impact on English-medium urban candidates as well as non-English medium rural candidates. Though UPSC has seen various reforms being implemented from time to time, there has been no review of it to understand how the changes have impacted the aspirants.
The panel said an expert group or committee should be appointed to assess the impact of changes made in the scheme, pattern, and syllabus of civil services examination in the last ten years on the quality of recruitment and administration at large.
Parliamentary panel raises questions on answer key
With UPSC releasing the answer key of the preliminary test of the civil services examination only after the completion of the entire process, the panel highlighted that students are deprived of an opportunity to contest the answer key before moving to the next stage of the exam, according to the report.
"This practice not only demoralises the candidates but also compromises the validity and fairness of the examination process. Although recruiting agencies exercise utmost caution to ensure that the answer key is foolproof, the possibility of errors cannot be ruled out. The Committee, therefore, recommends that UPSC may take steps to publish the answer key right after the preliminary stage of the civil services examination and allow candidates to raise objections," the report said while adding that feedback from candidates will help in improving transparency, fairness and be more friendly to candidates.
With inputs from PTI
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)