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Parl panel for publicising CS exam marking process; UPSC differs

A parliamentary panel’s recommendation to make public details on moderation of marks of aspirants of civil services examination has not been accepted by both the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the government. The civil services (CS) examination is conducted by UPSC annually in three stages–preliminary, main and interview–to select officers for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.

The Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, in its report tabled in Parliament recently, has desired that the UPSC should examine whether details with respect to moderation of marks can be put in the public domain so that the fairness of the Commission is not questioned and also the desired level of transparency prevails.

In its reply, the UPSC said the marking system which includes moderation, is an integral component of the Commission’s evaluation process, to which it assigns a high degree of confidentiality.

“This modality of moderation has evolved over a period of time and is based on a rational criteria which has stood the test of time. The Commission makes merit-based recruitment and maintains the highest standards of integrity and fair play in the examinations and selection processes,” the report said mentioning the reply of the examination- conducting body.

“The Commission, therefore, does not support the proposal for placing such confidential information pertaining to its internal evaluation processes in the public domain, which could have a high litigation potential that may impinge on the confidentiality and integrity of the examination process,” it said. 

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), nodal authority for UPSC, has agreed with the response given by the Commission before the panel. The committee also took note of the initiative taken by UPSC to ensure smooth conduct of the civil services examination. The committee has, however, noticed that the time taken to evaluate the answer scripts of the civil services (main) examination has not reduced and there is often a lot of uncertainty surrounding the date of declaration of the results of the main examination.

“The Commission must make efforts to reduce the time taken for evaluation of answer books of main examination so that the recruitment process could be completed in a shorter time span,” it said.
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