26 September 2023

INDIA: PS recruitment exam to be postponed

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A source close to India’s Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has revealed that the decision to postpone the annual examination for entry into the Public Service because of the COVID-19 pandemic has already been made.

An official announcement is expected in the next few days.

According to a senior Indian Government official there was no clarity on a new date, but suggestions for an online test would be “highly unlikely or next to impossible” as the USPC simply did not have the bandwidth to accommodate the tens of thousands of candidates.

“There is no capacity for that scale of an online exam at present,” the official said.

“For that, you need dedicated IT centres, etc. which would be hard to arrange at such a short notice.”

The official said the only way the examination could be conducted online would be in multiple sessions, which would pose its own set of problems.

“Multiple session exams typically are conducted in batches wherein the total number of candidates taking the exam is divided into groups who take the exam in different time slots,” they said.

Given that the USPC examination was easily the most competitive of all Public Service tests “candidates can argue that a particular paper was easier than the other, and hence contest the results”.

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Conducting the examination in its traditional paper format on 31 May would be a logistical nightmare with no certainty that public transport would be available for students to get to the various centres throughout the country.

New Delhi, 29 April, 2020

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