A day after announcing that the prestigious Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination are in for an overhaul, Professor DP Agrawal, the commission's chairman told HT that in about an year's time it would be possible for candidates to fill their exam forms online.
The present system of manual submission of applications too would continue in the interest of those students who are not net savvy as yet.
In Lucknow to attend the academic conclave organised by Lucknow Management Association (LMA), Prof Agrawal said, "It's natural that a 30 year old exam system be reviewed and made in sync with the present day requirements and in line with the recommendations made by the Administrative Reforms Commission. Along with this we also plan to tap Information Technology (IT) in a big way. The online system of filing applications would benefit candidates."
So could one also expect the UPSC which selects a few hundred civil servants out of more than 3 lakh aspirants to go online with its much sought after exam?
"I think that's only a logical deduction to make. But, it won't happen immediately. As and when we do it we would keep the interests of the candidates in mind," he said. Prof Agrawal said that the interest in the UPSC exam continues to be high.
"The number of candidates taking the test annually is increasing. Last year the number of candidates taking the test was around 4 lakh. So I don't think despite the increasing interest in pursuing an MBA course, becoming a civil servant is still the number one ambition of many," he said.
But is the commission worried that civil servants are increasingly being accused of corruption and doing everything to please their political masters? (On Thursday Agarwal had said that civil service aspirants might be tested on ethical and moral dimensions of decision-making). Agrawal said, "We do come across stray cases. But by and large our civil servants are idealistic."
He added for good measure, 'For the first 10 years the idealism is really high" and refused to comment when asked, "what afterwards?" Later at the LMA session, he said he wasn't happy with the fact that doctors were not taking their internships seriously.
The commission also selects general duty medical officers. "Internships are a must for learning work skills. At most places young MBBS doctors are told by their seniors to prepare for their post graduation. We have reports that in at least 20 per cent cases doctors have not been attendingto their internships at all."
Agrawal said they have discussed the issue informally with the Medical Council of India (MCI) and it was up to them to find a way to improve the situation.