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Sat, 18 Jan 2020

Northeast Today

APSC and ‘controversy’: A perennial ally

APSC and ‘controversy’: A perennial ally
May 09
11:02 2019

|Kaushik Deori|

The enfant terrible of the state, Assam Public Service Commission is at it again! The BJP government when assumed power in 2016 promised zero-corruption and absolute transparency of the body. But it seems ‘controversy’ and APSC has taken an oath to not part ways. The infamous cash-for-job scam which transpired under the purview of former Chairman Rakesh Pal was not lesson enough for the commission, one would reckon. The Combined Competitive Examination 2018 result which was declared on March 13 has once again brought the commission under the scanner for the wrong reasons and have raised probing questions regarding the competency of the commission, or rather the lack of it.


The gaffe in CCE (Prelims) 2018 results

It is reported that as many as 94 mistakes were committed in the ‘Answer Keys’ of 21 subjects in the Combined Competitive Examination (Prelims), 2018. The APSC had declared the names of 3,361 candidates who qualified for the Mains despite the fact that they were evaluated on the basis of wrong Answer Keys (inaccurate answers). The irregularities in the exam results of the APSC came to light after the Answer Keys were acquired through RTI.

Of the 94 errors in answer keys which were detected, Political Science topped the list with 14 wrong answers, followed by History, Sociology, Mechanical Engineering and Geology with 11, 9, 8, and 7 respectively.


Valiant attempt of damage control by APSC

The Assam Public Service Commission tried to do a damage control by announcing a list of another 406 candidates who were initially left out, but the Commission is yet to come up with a convincing reply on the issue of its goof-up in the evaluation. The opacity of the entire process is even more unsettling because of the dubious records of the past.

Speaking to reporters, the Acting Chairman of APSC, Deepak Kumar Sarma stated that the Commission is not going to fiddle with the 3,361 candidates who had already made it to the Mains examination as per the first list. He, however, assured to take appropriate action against the 22 experts/examiners who had committed the errors while preparing the answer keys. Majority of the experts are reported to be teachers at Government Colleges and their services were summoned by the APSC based on their eligibility.


WhatsApp Image 2019-05-08 at 4.53.16 PM


Issues faced by students and candidates

Several candidates who could not qualify for the Mains of the Combined Competitive Examination have accused the Assam Public Service Commission of complacency and condemned their inability to fix the pertaining issues. Observing their lacklustre attitude and their attempts at hiding the loopholes, a candidate who sat for the prelims exam said, “Many deserving candidates will be deprived. Nothing has changed in the functioning of the APSC even after the cash-for-job scam. Unless drastic reform measures are initiated in the Assam Public Service Commission, the meritorious candidates will continue to suffer. We demand a high-level probe into the recent irregularities in APSC.”

Another infuriated candidate exclaimed, “Why should the candidates suffer due to the mistakes committed by the APSC? And if the Commission had admitted to the mistakes, there is no doubt that many candidates got through even by giving wrong answers and vice versa.”

A serious aspect that needs to be addressed is that, for a number of candidates the 2018 CCE was the last attempt due to the restriction with respect to age limit. Because of the irregularities in the answer keys it will be unfair to deprive potential candidates from appearing in the examination next time.


Current Situation

A large number of candidates are asking for the scrapping of the exam and are demanding a clean and systematic re-examination. The Commission’s decision to ignore the urges has been met with univocal criticism from the common masses, intellectual fraternity and various student bodies. Many are of the opinion that if the organization which is bestowed with the responsibility of recruiting the bureaucrats of the state go rogue, implementation of government policies and overall development will take a severe beating.


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