Monday, May 21, 2018

Centre weighs in options to combine UPSC score with LBSNAA foundation score to allot IAS, IFS, IPS etc.; 10 Takeaways

UPSC Building

IF THE government has its way, securing good marks in UPSC-conducted civil services examinations may not ensure a service of your choice: IAS, IFS, IPS or IRS! The government last week wrote to the cadre controlling authorities to weigh in the possibility of selecting services for officer-trainees only after looking at the candidate’s combined score in the UPSC examination and the performance in the 3-month-long foundation course in the academy. Here are the 10 key takeaways of what this new rule is and what the rule, if implemented, would mean:
1. The controversy revolves around a proposed change of allocation of services such as IAS, IPS, IRS etc. Presently, the allocation in services is done when the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) announces its results. 
2. The new proposal, initiated by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), says, a selected officer-trainee will know her service only after attending the three months long foundation course at the Mussoorie academy. 
3. In other words, securing the maximum marks in the mains and interview would not necessarily make someone an IAS or IFS -- two of the most sought-after services. The UPSC conducts civil services examination for selection of about 1,000 officers for 24 different Central services. 
4. The issue cropped up after the Centre sought suggestions from the cadre controlling ministries such as DoPT (for IAS), ministry of home affairs (for IPS), ministry of environment and forests (for IFoS) etc. on the proposed changes. The letter issued by the DoPT said, it was a PMO initiative.
5. The government has, however, clarified that it is only at the suggestion stage and by no means an order.
6. Critics say that the proposed changes would give immense power to the director and trainers of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) suggesting that the Centre may then indirectly influence in the selection process.  
7. If such a mechanism is adopted, the role of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in selection of the top officers in the country will be minimised. The UPSC, till today, has kept its reputation as an impartial agency, intact. Those who are supporting the change say, a short interview by the UPSC determine the potential of an individual for a particular service.
8. Till now, the performance of the foundation course is taken only to have the seniority of a service, that too only minor changes. For example, an IAS topper may slip her rank to second or third position in seniority within her batch, but there are no instances where the first-rank holder gets slipped to 20th or so, after the foundation course! 
9. The 15-week-long foundation course includes courses on public administration, law and political science in addition to a host of extra-curricular activities including visits to villages, trekking, interactions with fellow probationers etc. 
10. Meanwhile, the issue has turned political now. DMK working president MK Stalin, for example, has called this a move a ploy against the tribals, scheduled castes and backward classes. Similar views are also being aired by former deputy CM of Bihar and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.

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