The government’s decision to have a dedicated website that will have the marks and ranks of candidates appearing in various tests for government jobs is remarkable for its openness. The decision is reminiscent of the days of the Indian Civil Service (ICS), when one’s performance in an examination was treated as a public document. However, subsequently the government of independent India chose to keep each person’s performance a secret and the results of all candidates, including those who were unsuccessful, went sent by post. And this too was not done in all cases. The new decision will do two things at the same time: First, it will enable candidates to compare themselves to the others paper by paper and, if required, prepare better at the next attempt; second, it will give other employers such as those in the private sector and parastatals to tap into this data base to make appointments in accordance with their own priorities. Doing well in the test for one job may land a candidate a cushy job in another organisation. Third, there will be no scope for any candidate to make false claims regarding his performance because results can be cross-checked.
But despite all its positives, there are some limitations in this new system. For example, if there are malpractices in the written tests, it is difficult to remove them just by publicising the results in the written test. For example, how would one ascertain that a person who can peddle influence did not arm-twist an examiner to be biased in favour of a candidate? And it has been a constant grudge of candidates of some regions that they do not get a fair deal in all-India exams. Second, doing away with interviews for junior posts might preclude possibilities of manipulation but there should be some personality test also. And having the results of personality tests handy would be of immense help to private sector organisations who are on the lookout for someone like, say, a security officer. It wouldn’t matter so much how well the person concerned had performed in the written test. Third, the system gives the candidates the option to stay out of this. Presumably many would opt for that.
Once such a system has been put into motion, it would be useful to take it further. So far the Union Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission and Railway Recruitment Boards are being sought to be covered by this. The next step should be to bring under it the equivalents of the erstwhile Banking Service Recruitment Boards, and the Public Enterprise Selection Board. The rule could also extend to public sector organisations, particularly those in the infrastructure sector. This way a dialogue may evolve between various recruitment agencies, both public and private, as regards the appointment process and synergies may develop.