UPSC chairperson, members should be persons of impeccable integrity, rectitude: Par Panel
New Delhi: The chairperson and members of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) should be persons of impeccable integrity, rectitude, high calibre and impartiality, a parliamentary committee has said in its report.
The committee feels that the methodology followed for their selection should be fair, transparent and objective and also uphold the principles of social justice, diversity and gender equality, it said.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) may collate the details of selection procedure currently being followed while making appointments to the posts of chairperson and members of UPSC and may furnish them to the committee, 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 tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
The committee is of the view that the credibility of Public Service Commissions is founded upon the faith of the common man in its proper functioning, it said.
“Therefore, the committee feels that the chairperson and members of the Union Public Service Commission should be persons of impeccable integrity, rectitude, high calibre and impartiality,” the report said.
There were two vacant posts of members in the commission, according to the report. The UPSC can have a chairman and ten members.
Observing that the UPSC, the premier recruitment agency of the country, is functioning with two-thirds of the sanctioned strength, the committee recommended to the Ministry of Personnel to recruit requisite additional staff in the commission at the earliest.
The committee is fully conscious of the fact that recruitment is a continuous process and that some vacancies exist at any given point of time, it said.
“However, nothing can justify such large number of vacancies, that too in a recruiting body which itself is mandated to fill up vacancies,” the report said.
The committee is of the view that ‘perpetual vacancy’ should never be accepted as a norm as it can have a adverse impact on the productivity of the existing staff, it said.
In view of the above, the committee recommends the ministry to recruit requisite additional staff in the UPSC at the earliest and accordingly provide adequate budgetary allocation to the UPSC to meet its increased establishment-related expenditure, the report said.
There were 692 vacancies of administrative staff against the total strength of 1,824 in the UPSC, according to the report.
The DoPT may also apprise the committee about the methodology currently being followed for the recruitment of administrative staff of UPSC, it said.
The committee noted that 386 disciplinary cases requiring the advice of the UPSC are pending with it since last year.
“Secretary, UPSC, in her deposition before the committee, attributed the delay in giving advice on disciplinary matters by the UPSC to the shortage of qualified and competent officials,” the report said.
The committee is of the view that administrative lag should be avoided at all costs and that no official should be made to undergo mental agony and monetary loss due to administrative delays, it said.
“The committee recommends the UPSC to strengthen the mechanism so that inordinate delays could be avoided,” said the report.
The UPSC conducts civil services examination to select officers of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.
The committee recommended the UPSC to furnish a status note on the procedure of declaration of vacancies with respect to civil services examination.
“The UPSC may also apprise the committee whether vacancies determined at the stage of preliminary examination remain constant throughout the recruitment cycle or vary at a later stage,” it said.
The UPSC may also brief the committee how it maintains the constant ratio of candidates belonging to various categories throughout the recruitment cycle, in case, the number of vacancies varies at the preliminary and other stages, the report said.
The committee, in its 100th and 104th reports, had recommended that an expert committee must be constituted to assess the impact of the drastic changes brought about by the commission in the scheme of examination since 2010 on administration and candidates.
The UPSC has time and again informed the Committee that Baswan committee has been constituted for the purpose.
“The committee is well aware that Baswan committee was constituted to make recommendations on the eligibility, syllabus, scheme and pattern of examination. What the committee has been emphatic about in its recommendations is ‘Administrative Impact Assessment’, i.e. an assessment of the impact of administrative decisions,” it said.
The UPSC changed the pattern of civil services examination from time to time on the basis of recommendations made by various expert committees.
“However, no study has been commissioned to assess how such changes impacted the aspirants, nature of recruitment and administration at large. In light of the above, the committee emphatically reiterates its recommendation and hopes that the Ministry (of Personnel) will accomplish the task at the earliest,” the report said.