The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is treading a steady path towards increased transparency, according to its chairman DP Agrawal. Addressing the probationers at city-based National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT) on Tuesday, Agrawal said the commission was continuously striving to put in place mechanisms that make it more interactive with all stakeholders.
“Over the years various steps have been taken to ensure you do not suffer because of the system. We will bring in more transparency so that everybody is treated at par,” said Agrawal.
His statements came in connection to part of his speech where he talked about civil servants suffering because of delays in bringing a closure to departmental inquiries. “It has taken seven to 13 years for cases of inquiry against officers to be brought to final stage. In these years you lose out on two or maybe three promotions.
Every year, I get 700 cases and these are all Class-I officers. We now make it a point the committee meets within a month of the official’s file being sent to us and try to reach a decision within six to seven months if all the paperwork is in order. Of course, we are trying to better that performance as well,” said Agrawal.
The UPSC also revamped its exam from this year and Agrawal added this was related to the transparency push. “The principle is that everyone must be tested on the same level.
The optional subjects were causing a bit of issue here as someone would choose the language Pali as it was high scoring. We want to test candidates on subjects that are relevant and not because it happens to an option in the exam. Hence we have changed the format and will try to make it a more even playing field for everybody,” he added.
Agrawal also said that thought had been given to standardizing the interview questions but its implementation seemed tough. “The idea is to have the same questions asked in the interview to make it fair for all candidates. But then the risk is that the first candidate steps out and informs his friends about the questions, which defeats the competitive purpose,” said Agrawal.
He added his counterparts in US were unable to understand and comprehend why any candidate would tell the questions to his friends. “In India, we are too honest and have been brought up that way,” said Agrawal with an intended, but not visible, sarcasm. “If you come out of the interview room and your friend asks you what the questions are, chances are you will tell it to them,” he told the NADT probationers.