Despite the uproar and controversy over the Professional Examination Board (PEB) scam, the state government has failed to implement its high-level panel’s recommendation to place the board under jurisdiction of the general administration department (GAD).
Rather, the GAD and the state department of technical education (DTE), under which the PEB still functions, are tossing the matter to each other, separate replies to a right to information application show.
The shifting was recommended by the high-level committee headed by former PEB chairman Devraj Virdi in January this year. The committee had been constituted at the initiative of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan right after he took the reins for his third tenure in December 2013.
The intention of the recommended shifting was to put the board under the watch of senior bureaucratic and legislative eyes, given the extent of controversy it was facing. The chief minister himself holds the GAD portfolio in the state.
The committee also made a number of other recommendations (see box) on required structural and exam-related changes in PEB, but the government failed to initiate action on any of them during the past ten months.
The board has itself, though, initiated action on some of the security and confidentiality-related recommendations.
Recently, to a RTI query filed by activist Ajay Dubey seeking the status of implementation of the recommendations, especially related to shifting of PEB jurisdiction, the GAD and DTE replied separately that the matter pertained to the other department. Both the departments asked the applicant to seek information from the other one.
The DTE went to the extent of saying that it had never received the Virdi committee report and thus had no information on it (copies of both replies are available with HT).
"It is strange that though the board continued to function under DTE, it did not get the important recommendations. On its part, the GAD is saying that the matter is related to the DTE and thus it should provide the information. This shows the utter apathetical manner in which government is handling the highly sensitive matter," activist Dubey said.
Principal secretary to chief minister Iqbal Singh Bains said that the matter had not come up for discussion at the CM’s office during the last two months (since he took charge).
The minister of state for GAD Lal Singh Arya, who had told HT three months ago that the matter of shifting the board under GAD was under consideration of the government, could not be contacted for fresh comments despite repeated attempts.
Recommendations of Virdi panel
. PEB should be placed under jurisdiction of the general administration department from the technical education department
· It should be renamed as MP junior services commission/board in view of the emphasis on recruitment exams
· Number of ex-officio and nominated members should be reduced to nine from existing 25
· Only an IAS officer with impeccable service record should be appointed as director of the board
· Postings of director and controller of exam should always be separate and controller should have at least ten years’ administrative experience
· Conducting all the exams in online format from January 2015
· Security features to be installed in entire system, which would generate SMS alert in case of any unauthorised action
· Process audit of all the process related to exam conduction. Report should be presented to chairman within a month of the exam
. Double password for every online system and double locking for store room.