UPSC score may no longer be enough to bag service; selection process to get tougher

UPSC or Union Public Service Commission as we know might be changed if a proposal to alter the format is accepted. In the proposed move, marks scored in the highly-competitive exams and cracking the interview might not be the only criteria to land the service candidates desire. The government is considering turning the 15-week long training course for new recruits at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) into an added criterion for allocating service and cadre.

The practice currently is to allot candidates who clear the UPSC exams the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and other services based on their ranks. Once that is done, the new recruits are sent to LBSNAA for training before they branch out into training programmes specific to their service.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the PMO now wants to change the process and allot services and cadres based on the performance in the Foundation Course. The report mentions that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) sent letters to various ministries seeking their views. A DoPT official said that the discussion came up at a meeting at the PMO after which ministries were asked to send in their views.
If this is implemented, the service recruitment rules would have to be altered to suit the new format.
Currently the Foundation Course counts for 400 marks but only assists in ensuring seniority within the batch. It is a mix of activities ranging from public administration and political science to extracurricular activities like visiting villages, trekking and interaction with colleagues.
While some experts think that this is a welcome move, some are far from okay. Padam Vir Singh, former director of LBSNAA believes that the interview is not enough to judge the candidates properly. Another senior bureaucrat believes that this will only intensify the competition and make it a rat race, where everyone will compete for every single point in order to get their preferred cadre.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted his displeasure at this proposal. “The letter below reveals the PM’s plan to appoint officers of RSS’s choice into the Central Services, by manipulating the merit list using subjective criteria, instead of exam rankings,” he tweeted. He also posted the letter that reads, “Examine the feasibility of giving due weightage to the performance in the Foundation Course and making service allocation as well as cadre allocation to All India Service Officers based on the combined score obtained in the Civil Services Examination as well as in the Foundation Course.”