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APSC trying to salvage lost image

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, June 14: The Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) is making a desperate attempt to salvage its lost reputation. The Commission is set to bring in at least three changes – in-house evaluation of answer scripts, change in the syllabus in keeping with the UPSC syllabus and double evaluation of answer scripts.

The APSC has no objection if the process of interview is videographed, a system which is not in APSC rules, if the State government so desires. In his recent address to the new State Assembly, Governor PB Acharjee laid stress on APSC reforms so as to build people’s confidence in the Commission.

APSC interviews are beginning tomorrow to select for the fil merit list 180 from 371 candidates who qualified in the written test. Talking to The Sentinel today on the eve of APSC interviews, APSC Chairman RK Paul said: “We’ve been improving gradually. Most of the processes have been made online. Of course, there remains more to do. For the past three years, we’ve been holding the APSC examition annually, which was not the case earlier.”

On the demand for withdrawal of interview, Paul said: “The demand for doing away with interviews in the selection process of candidates through the APSC is gaining ground. However, we can’t do that. In accordance with the standing order of the Supreme Court, interview in the selection process of any public service commission is a must. Interviews eble the selectors to gauge the persolity of candidates, which is why 15 per cent of the total marks in the APSC examition come from the interview. This year total marks for the APSC written examition is 1400, and that of the interview is 200.”

Giving details of the APSC selection currently under way, Paul said: “Around 70,000 candidates took the APSC written test this time, and 2,100 of them qualified. However, from these 2,100 candidates, we have called only 371 for the fil selection of 180 candidates. Since the number of vacancies is very limited, we need to be selective, based on merit, in issuing call letters to candidates for the interview. This is the reason why many meritorious students fail to make it to the fil APSC list. It is obvious that unsuccessful candidates will doubt manipulation. We’ve already requested the State police to crack down on rackets by middlemen or brokers, if there are any, to manipulate APSC results. We’ve published an advertisement in newspapers in this regard.”

On evaluation of answer scripts, Paul said: “If there is in-house evaluation of scripts, we can complete the process within the stipulated time, leading to early declaration of results. However, if there is out-house evaluation, sometimes the examiners delay the process.”

On double evaluation, Paul said: “Sometimes, bad mood on the part of an examiner may lead him/her to award less credit to a candidate. We can give justice to such victimized candidates through double evaluation by different teachers. In this method, a candidate will get the average of the credits given by the two examiners.”              

Paul further said: “With such an objective in view, the APSC has initiated various reforms over the years in its march towards excellence. Notable among these are – ICR-based examition automation system, launching of APSC’s website www.apse.nic.in, OMR-based screening test and introduction of online submission of application forms through its website www.apseonline.gov.in etc. I feel, transparency within the Commission alone would not perhaps be enough to achieve the desired goal. People in general should be made aware of the APSC so that the Commission not only looks fair and impartial, but is perceived as such in the eyes of the people.”      

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Ankur Kalita