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How UPSC proposal to induct IAS candidates for other central jobs could benefit thousands

The UPSC has proposed to the central government that the candidates who fail the civil service exam interview be recruited to other govt jobs.

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) building, New Delhi
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) building, New Delhi | Manisha Mondal | The Print

New Delhi: There might be good news in store for examinees who try for years but fail to crack the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) recruitment exercise for civil services such as Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

The UPSC has recommended to the central government that candidates who do not qualify beyond the interview stage of the exercise should be recruited into the government in other posts.

“We have proposed to the central government and the ministries to recruit people from the list of candidates who make it to the interview stage in civil services and other exams, but fail to get picked up,” UPSC chairperson Arvind Saxena said on the sidelines of the 21st national conference of chairpersons of state public commissions in Bhopal.

On average, about 10 lakh candidates appear for the civil service exam every year. About 10,000-12,000 make it past the preliminary examination, while around 3,000 make it past the mains examination to the interview stage. Eventually, 600 are recruited by the government into the civil services.

Since those who make it to the interview stage have already gone through the grind of two stages of elimination, they can be utilised by the government for posts outside of the civil services, Saxena added.

If approved, the move would go a long way in reducing stress among those trying to enter the civil services, which offer the most prestigious and coveted government jobs in India.

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A three-year-old proposal

A senior official of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the nodal ministry for the UPSC, said the commission’s suggestion was a “welcome recommendation”.

“Some recruitment agencies like the SSC (Staff Selection Commission) and the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) already have this provision,” the official added.

However, the proposal is not new, the official said. “The recommendation was made to us by the UPSC in 2016, and cleared by the Cabinet the same year… But, the UPSC is figuring out the modalities,” the official added.

“The idea is that the candidates can be considered by a number of government employers since they already have their UPSC marks and ranking,” the official said.

“It would take the load off other recruitment agencies, as well as ensure that those who reach the final stage, but do not make it to the civil service even after several attempts, are not left stranded.”

The official also sought to clarify that the proposal didn’t recommend mandatory employment for the highest scorers in the fray.

“The idea is that all employers will have access to those candidates, and can shortlist them,” he said.

“In fact, after the shortlisting, if the concerned employer wants to conduct another small exam or interview, they can do that as well,” the official added.

‘Good use of talent and UPSC resources’

IFS officer Parveen Kaswan described the proposal as a “good idea”, saying candidates were often eliminated in the interview round because of a point or two since competition is quite stiff at the final level of selection.

“It does not mean that they are not intelligent, since they have come to the final stage…” said Kaswan. “So, it is a good idea to use those candidates’ talent within the government since they would, by then, have adequate knowledge of governance,” he added.

“It is as though the government is giving eligible candidates another opportunity to get a secure job,” he said, adding that the initiative would also work to the benefit of government agencies.

“The UPSC is a reputed agency, so if they already have a database of eligible candidates, it is always a good idea to make use of it in some way.”

Also read: Second push for lateral entry into IAS sees applications fall by half

‘The only flipside’

Talking about the proposal, a civil service officer who did not wish to be named said there could be a possible snag if candidates took up the other job without giving up on the UPSC dream.

“There is only one flipside,” the officer said. “Those who appear for the civil service exam keep appearing for the exam till they get the service of their choice,” he added.

“In such a case, the concerned officer does not put their heart and soul in the job they have, but instead keep trying for something else,” he added.