(News) Union Public Service Commission : Changing Face

Union Public Service Commission : Changing Face

The UPSC has made the Preliminary exam application-oriented, in tune with the new challenges before bureaucrats and their changing roles.

THERE is a lot of debate within the discipline of public administration whether the bureaucracy should be heavy or thin. According to the neoliberal school of thought, the state should withdraw itself from the responsibility of development and leave it to private forces. Welfare state advocates feel that the state should be actively involved in developing the country. However, both schools cannot deny the importance of the bureaucracy in executing legislative decisions. Civil servants, being the most important policymakers of the country, are given many privileges and accorded a high status in the Constitution.

They are selected through an exhaustive system of examinations so that the best brains are chosen to run the country efficiently. The examination is an annual affair conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). There has also been a lot of debate on the process of selecting the administrators of the country, with many commissions having recommended various methods.

Until now, the method has involved three stages. First, graduates from any discipline take a Preliminary examination. From this, candidates are selected for the Main examination. Those who qualify in the Main examination then appear for a personality test or an interview. The Main examination has a set of eight papers. This includes two papers each in two different optional subjects, two papers in General Studies, one paper of English, and one paper in a regional language.

Depending on the number of positions every year (determined by the government), the UPSC chooses candidates and allots them the services according to their rank. The most preferred is the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), followed by the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS). A decade ago, the IFS was considered the most elite of the services. But analysts feel that the number of candidates from rural areas and Other Backward Classes and the Scheduled Castes have now increased and they prefer the IAS over the IFS.

The UPSC is all set to replace the Preliminary examination with a common Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) next year. The present Preliminary examination is based on two objective-type papers, of which the candidates can choose one optional subject, while the other paper, General Studies, is common for all. The CSAT, on the other hand, will have two objective-type papers, common to all the candidates. The UPSC plans to include questions that test decision-making abilities, and knowledge of current affairs and public administration.

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Courtesy: Hinduonnet.com