Spare no efforts to ensure integrity of examination process at all costs: Par panel to SSC

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New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) A parliamentary committee has asked the Staff Selection Commission to spare no efforts to ensure the integrity of its examination process at all costs.

It said the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), which has made a shift to computer-based examination, may get an independent audit of hardware and software done periodically to ensure that the systems are robust, tamper proof and immune to cyber attacks.

In its report tabled in the Parliament recently, the committee said it is of the view that there is a proportionate relationship between the integrity of the examination process and litigation.

“The more fair, transparent and objective the examination process, the less the litigation,” the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice said in its 106th report on Demands for Grants (2021-22) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

The Commission apprised the Committee that a total of 2,390 litigations are pending before the Supreme Court/high courts/central administrative tribunals, where SSC is a party. These includes 15 Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court.

The Staff Selection Commission is mandated to make recruitment to Group ‘B’ (non-Gazetted) and Group ‘C’ (non-technical) posts in various ministries/departments of the Government of India and their attached and subordinate offices.

The Commission, which conducts the largest number of selection for government jobs, has apprised the Committee that 225 posts are lying vacant against its total authorised strength of 541.

To ensure that the sanctity and confidentiality of the examinations of the Commission is maintained, the SSC has shifted to Computer Based Mode of examination from the traditional Optical Marks Reader (OMR) mode of examination since June, 2016 as the traditional mode of examination was vulnerable to malpractices, the report said.

“The Committee recommends SSC to spare no efforts to ensure the integrity of the examination process at all costs. Now that SSC has made a shift to Computer Based Examination, it may get an independent audit of hardware and software done periodically to ensure that the systems are robust, tamper proof and immune to cyber attacks,” it said in the report tabled in Parliament on March 16.

On being asked if the Commission has noted any reduction in the incidence of malpractices ever since it has shifted to the computer-based mode of examination, the Commission said in the period preceding four years from the adoption of CBE mode of the examination, certain examinations conducted in the OMR mode were cancelled on account of leakage/cheating.

'These exams were Combined Graduate Level (Tier-I) Examination, 2012 held in shift-I on 01.07.2012 at Jalpaiguri; Combined Graduate Level (Tier-I) Examination, 2013; Combined Graduate Level (Tier-II) Examination, 2013; Sub Inspectors in Delhi Police and CAPFs and ASIs in CISF Examination (Paper-I), 2016; and Multi Tasking (Non-Technical) Staff Examination (Paper-I), 2016,' the report said.

Thereafter, the Commission made a transition to the Computer Based Examination (CBE) Mode and has conducted 52 examinations for about 6.17 crore candidates, till date, the report said.

The Commission further submitted that out of 52 examinations in the computer based mode, not a single complete examination has been cancelled due to malpractices/allegations of malpractices till date, it said.

'However, during this period, two shifts of the examinations, namely, the Combined Graduate Level (Tier-I) Examination, 2016 held in shift-II on 27.08.2016 and Combined Graduate Level (Tier-II) Examination, 2017 (Paper-I) held in shift-I on 21.02.2018, have been cancelled on apprehensions/allegations of malpractices,' the statement said.

'The shift-II of 27.08.2016 of CGLE (Tier-I), 2016 was re-conducted successfully on 27.10.2016,' it said.

'Similarly, the Paper-I of shift-I of 21.02.2018 of CGLE (Tier-II), 2017 was successfully re-conducted on 09.03.2018,' the report said.

The Commission also submitted that it has conducted eight examinations for about 84.92 lakh candidates in the computer based mode during COVID-19 pandemic and declared the final results of seven examinations recommending 59,861 candidates for appointment to various ministries/departments/ organisations of Government of India, it added.

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