JPSC Mains exam begins two years after Prelims, protest continues

Updated on Jan 29, 2019 09:29 AM IST

JPSC claims 72% candidates turned up for the exam; hundreds stage silent protest outside JPSC office and Assembly

Candidates at the exam centre; Below: Protest by boycotting candidates.(Diwakar Prasad/ Ht Photos)
Candidates at the exam centre; Below: Protest by boycotting candidates.(Diwakar Prasad/ Ht Photos)
Hindustan Times, Ranchi | By

Amid tremendous controversy, the Jharkhand Public Service Commission’s sixth combined civil service Mains examination started at 57 centres in Ranchi on Monday. The examination was held to fill in 326 posts in various departments of the state administrative service, said JPSC officials.

The Mains are being conducted more than two years after the preliminary examination (Prelims), held on December 18, 2016. The first day of the Mains, which will end on February 1, was peaceful. But there was a silent protest by hundreds of candidates — these were people who had cleared the Prelims but decided not to write the Mains — outside the JPSC office and the Jharkhand assembly.

JPSC secretary Ranendra Kumar said, “The examination passed off peacefully across the centres. Around 72% candidates turned up.”

However, the candidates who appeared for the Mains expressed dissatisfaction with the way the examination was conducted. The protests against the Mains stemmed from the fact that though the exams were meant to fill only 326 posts, a total of 34,634 candidates had been cleared in the Prelims, and thus were eligible for the Mains. The protesters had pointed out that this candidates-to-jobs ratio (106:1) was far in excess of the permitted ratio (15:1).

“Ignoring all aspects of irregularities, the JPSC conducted the examination. Even though we have appeared for the examination, our protest against the examination will continue,” said Dharmendra Thakur, who wrote his exam at Ursline Convent School, Purulia Road.

Monday’s examination was held in two sittings. In the first sitting, candidates took the compulsory papers of general Hindi and English of 100 marks each. The second sitting saw the examination of language and literature paper of 150 marks. Papers of general studies would be held from Tuesday.

Another examinee, Anil Kumar from Hazaribag, said, “The examination paper seemed like it was set two years back. We found a question in the Hindi paper that told us to write an easy on ‘16 years of Jharkhand state’, while we celebrated 18 years of Jharkhand on November 15 last year.”

Kumar said, “I don’t have any hope from this examination, as it has been a controversy for the past two years. I don’t know if the Main results will be declared or if they would be cancelled.”

Among the silent protesters was Sangam Mishra, who had come all the way from Saharsa district in Bihar. “We have decided not to take the examination, as it is marked by irregularities and corruption,” he said. Mishra also emphasised on the discrepancy in the current candidates to jobs ratio and what it should be.

The protester had a question: “Out of the 74,000 students who appeared for the Prelims, [more than] 34,000 candidates were selected for the Mains. Interestingly, of the total passed candidates, only 27,000 candidates had applied for the Mains. But the JPSC issued admit cards to all 34,000 candidates. How did this miracle happen?”

Another boycotting candidate Santosh Kumar, who was staging a dharna outside the JPSC office, recalled the controversies over even the Prelims. He said, “The Prelims saw three revised results since February 2017. The first result was declared on February 23, 2017, in which merely 5,138 candidates had qualified for the Mains. However, the result was cancelled, as it had not followed the reservation rule for OBC candidates..

“The second revised result was declared on August 11, 2017, and 6,103 candidates qualified. However, due to protests from the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe students for their reservation rights being ignored, the results were cancelled again.

“The Jharkhand cabinet on February 7, 2018, fixed certain cut-off marks for general, SC/ ST and OBC candidates. Then, the re-revised results were declared on August 6, 2018. Putting aside all rules and procedures, the JPSC allowed [more than] 34,000 candidates to appear for the Mains examination.”

JPSC exam controversy

Notification for sixth combined civil service (Prelims) issued: Oct 4, 2016

Prelims examination held: December 18, 2016

Students appeared: 74,000 (approx)

First results announced: February 23, 2017

Students passed: 5,138

High Court sought reply from JPSC over results: July 18, 2017

Revised result announced: August 11, 2017

Students passed: 6,103

Jharkhand cabinet fixed cut-off marks for Prelims results: February 7, 2018

JPSC declared re-revised Prelims results: August 6, 2018

Students passed: 34,000 (approx)

Sixth JPSC Mains exam date: Jan 28 to Feb-1, 2019

Examination centres for Mains: 57


    Sanjoy Dey is principal correspondent in Jharkhand and writes on government, urban development, forest and environment, tourism, rural development and agriculture. He likes to write human interest stories.

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