OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 4: Unemployed youths in the State are keeping their fingers crossed to secure plum jobs purely on merit and not on any other extraneous criteria with Dispur asking the Assam Public Service Commission to conduct the next Combined Competitive examinations (CCE) to select candidates for 165 posts of Assam Civil Service (ACS) and Allied Services.
Such hope among youths can be attributed to several examination reform initiatives recently undertaken or currently being implemented by the APSC. The credibility of APSC was at an all-time low in recent years following alleged corruption and unfair practices that took place in the recruitment of ACS and Allied Services candidates. Reform initiatives were initiated in 2016 after APSC Chairman Rakesh Paul and a few other officials of the commission were arrested on charges of involvement in the cash-for-job scam. Several ACS officers who managed to secure jobs by fraudulent ways during Rakesh Paul's tenure have also been arrested. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has been reiterating his government's policy of zero tolerance against corruption and assuring that only merit will count for getting any job.
The Personal department of Assam Government has already written to the APSC to conduct the next CCE for 43 posts of ACS, 56 of Assam Land and Revenue Service, 8 of Assam Police Service, 10 of Superintendent of Taxes, 1 of Superintendent of Excise, 2 of Assistant Employment officer, 10 of Labour Inspector, 32 of Inspector of Taxes and 3 of Inspector of Excise.
Sources said the APSC is now trying to hold the CCE on the UPSC model and interviews will be conducted through lottery to ensure that there is no scope for favouritism. The commission is also planning to give more say to experts by abolishing the grade system and allowing the experts to award marks instead. It will divide viva voce marks equally among the board and experts.
Assam is currently having 958 ACS cadres out of which 768 are serving the State Government in different capacities and positions. Altogether 21 ACS officers are under suspension. Interviews are currently being conducted for posts of 95 ACS officers and 60 Assam Land and Revenue Service officers.