Prof. A. Ayyasamy
Ever since Narendra Modi started ruling the country, he is creating crisis after crisis, keeping everyone on tenterhooks. Perhaps he wants people to feel helpless and lose all the initiative so that they may be brought to the level of accepting anything without protest.
The latest of his moves is the proposal made by the Prime Minister’s office to bring about a pivotal change in the ranking procedure of the Civil Services recruits.
There are twenty four civil services in all, including the most coveted IAS and IPS They are selected from among the cream of the youngsters through a rigorous all India examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission which can be tackled only by the most brilliant lot.
The tens of thousands of aspirants who appear every year, have got to appear for two written examinations, preliminary and Main. Those who successfully clear both of them are then made to appear for an interview that is known as Personality Test. As the nomenclature indicates, this is conducted by a team of experts belonging to various fields and is meant bring out the personality traits of the candidates concerned which helps in gauging their suitability for the positions they aspire for, which form the major part of the machinery which ensures smooth running of the government. Those whose ranks are higher are selected for IAS IPS and IFS while the others are to be satisfied with one or the other of the services.
No one says that this is a fool proof machinery; this is the best that could be available. Even in the existing system subjectivity of the examiners in the personality test does play a role in the final ranking of the candidates.
Candidates from the ‘upper’ castes who were not able to score well in the written examination were allotted high scores in the interview so that their ranks were pushed up, since the panel most often consists of people from the upper castes of the society.
Probably this has to be taken as inevitable, though grossly unfair in a caste ridden society like ours, as long as there is some semblance of Social Justice as enshrined in the Constitution being maintained. But all that is going to be past, if the new proposal is put into practice.
According to it, there will be no ranking after the examination, written as well as oral, is over. All the candidates will be sent together to the Lal Bahadhur Sastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie and undergo the stipulated 100 day training after which marks will be allotted to them by the staff in charge of the training. These marks also will be added to the marks scored in the examination including oral test and their ranking, position and allotment of services will be decided accordingly.
You see the danger inherent in the system? The training staff will be handpicked by the government. We have already seen by appointments and nominations being made on the basis of their ideological leaning to the RSS agenda rather than any other merit. If the training academy is packed with such staff, how will the scoring be?
A good number of people have expressed their misgiving that this scheme will toll the death knell for social justice.
Already BJP has openly expressed its impatience with Social Justice in a number of contexts. When Prime Minister V.P.Singh implemented the reservation policy as recommended by the Mandal Commission, L.K.Advani shamelessly betrayed the trust reposed him and proceeded with his rath yatra and brought the government down.
Asiriyar K.Veeramani has pointed out how Prime Minister Indira Gandhi conducted the Parliament session till midnight to make sure that the policy of Social Justice was made non-justiceable and no one could go against it under whatever pretext. He has also pointed out how, when appointments were made for the Civil Services after the UPSC examination, the abbreviation OC (which stands for open competition) was interpreted as ‘Other Community’ and all the seats were filled with upper class candidates, mostly Brahmins. This blatant violation of the implication of the act went on for years together.
All this will show how vested interests are trying every trick in the book to thwart all attempts at bringing about social justice in this caste ridden society. Now, that BJP has come to power with a sizeable majority they are unabashedly carrying on their saffron agenda without any qualms.
Understandably there is all round opposition, nay, condemnation, to the pernicious move. It is only in recent years, after 1990’s that the first and second generation learners are finding their way to civil services, and we have been hearing the heartening stories of children of farm labourers, vegetable vendors and other such lowly professions are of entering IAS and IPS and such services. SC / ST candidates, though they cannot fill all the 22.5 per cent vacancies, are able to come somewhere near the mark. Though BC’s comprise of 65 to 70 per cent of the population, they have been given only 27 per cent reservation. Even that they are denied and they have to be satisfied with just 11 to 12 per cent of allotments. Even this is gross social injustice, as pointed out by Asiriyar K.Veeramani.
‘Yet another factor is pointed out by keen observers. In recent years we see many youngsters from the South dominate in these examination and capture prestigious positions. Even this has been unacceptable to the Northerners.
All this can be nullified with a stroke. Allot the decision making power to a few officials who have no commitment other than thwarting social justice and fair play. They can allot marks as per their whims and pleasure and allot the ranking accordingly. The candidates who are to their liking, those who subscribe to the RSS ideology can be placed in sensitive positions and can shape the country as per their agenda – it was no more a hidden agenda is it is all in the open.
This scheme, which is only one among many which have been recently smuggled into the field of education, is meant to keep the depressed and backward people subjugated forever. This will eventually lead to ‘Brahminocracy’ as Thanthai Periyar put it. The danger is very much near us, approaching us like a juggernaut. Asiriyar K.Veeramani has rightly cautioned that this trend will lead to a great revolution, which will not be free from violence.
What more tricks does the saffron brigade have up in its sleeves?