Performing well in UPSC may now not be good enough to get oneself an All India Service of his/her choice.
The proposed move by the PMO to bring about a change in the way cadres are allocated to individuals who have passed the exam has received a lot of backlash with the move being considered sinister.
Rather than jumping to conclusions, let us understand what exactly is the matter at hand-
The Intended Proposal
As of now, the candidates passing the UPSC exam are allocated the much-coveted posts like IAS, IFS and other numerous posts based on their rank. Marks secured in the exam decides the concerned post.
The PMO has now suggested that the performance in the compulsory three-month ‘Foundation Course’ conducted by Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) should also be taken into account while deciding the cadre of the individual.
What Is The Foundation Course?
The Foundation Course is a 100-day training program which is to be undertaken by all the candidates who have passed the exam.
It is to be noted that F.C. is compulsory only for IAS, IFS, IFoS, and IPS. It is optional for other services of Group A. Group B services are not made to attend it. (Source- ClearIAS)
The Foundation Course is an amalgamation of academic subjects like public administration, law and political science and also extensive and substantial number of extra-curricular activities such as trekking, village visits, etc. to ensure a wholesome development of the individual.
The Move Should Have A Positive Impact
As reported by The Print, one of the senior officials pointed out,
“Today the qualifying candidates are assigned cadres and services just on the basis of their ranks, without adequate knowledge about the individual. The foundation course can help assess their conduct, behavior and other such factors before they are assigned a premier service.”
It would be not unfair to say that passing UPSC exam is more of a test of theoretical knowledge and adding an extra layer wherein a candidate has to go through various ECA, leadership programmes, etc. to come to the conclusion of his/her calibre would be right to be a certain extent in deciding the post.
Currently, most of the candidates take the FC course to be just a formality and do not improve upon their copious qualities which are of utmost importance when they serve the people.
Former DoPT secretary Satyanand Mishra is of the opinion that the intended proposal is a much-needed step but the existing assessment needs to change.
“The evaluation system should eliminate subjectivity. It should be more quantitative,” he said.
More the control of the executive in handling the appointment of officers, weaker the institution.
UPSC exam is considered to be a fair exam due to its objectivity and with subjectivity bound to creep in because of the cadre allocation being dependent on FC course, the exam will lose it’s credibility to some extent.
These are some of the excerpts from top officials of the country,
“Are they not being given too much power? There has to be a deeper reason for fiddling with a system which is universally accepted as fair. Biases will play out in full measure now.”
“There are probationers who make a song and dance about their knowledge and always do well in the foundation course. The UPSC results are sealed, signed and un-manipulative.”
One cannot rule out the possibility of a desire by the current government to allot the significant and important cadres to only those who share the same ideology as theirs.
These are some genuine concerns regarding the proposed change by the PMO. If the doubts can be cleared and utmost transparency is taken care of without diluting the UPSC exam, the intended move should be a step in the right direction.