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Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, May 22 accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to manipulate the UPSC merit list to accommodate officers of RSS’ choice in the central services.

This followed news reports about PMO direction to allot services and cadres only after the completion of the foundation course rather than based on the marks secured in the Union Public service Commission (UPSC ) examination, a move that would introduce a heavy element of subjectivity in rankings.

The PMO wants this implemented from the current year itself.

Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday urged students to “rise” against the move, alleging their future was at risk as the PM wanted to appoint officers chosen by the RSS by “manipulating” the merit list in civil service examinations.

“Rise up students, your future is at risk! RSS wants what’s rightfully yours. The letter below reveals the PM’s plan to appoint officers of RSS’s choice into the Central Services, by manipulating the merit list using subjective criteria, instead of exam rankings,” tweeted Gandhi using the hashtag ‘ByeByeUPSC’ along with a letter from the PMO.

“The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has desired to consider the following suggestion and necessary action on it for its implementation from the current year itself:-

“… to examine if service allocation/cadre allocation to probationers selected on the basis of Civil Services Examination be made after Foundation Course. Examine the feasibility of giving due weightage to the performance in the Foundation Course and making service allocation as well as cadre allocation to All India Service Officers based on the combined score obtained in the Civil Services Examination as well as in the Foundation Course,” reads the letter dated May 17 from Vijoy Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, DoPT, to various departments.

According a report in news portal TheWire, the move has upset many former and serving bureaucrats and has become a major topic of discussion among them.

They feel this will remove whatever objectivity the UPSC examination provides and expose probationers to pressure of  subjective assessments of their examiners.

The hurry to implement the proposed new system from this year itself also raises suspicions.

Above all, the fear is that pliant academies with extraordinary powers will open the doors of sought-after services to people whose ideological outlook suits the current government, creating a loyal or ‘committed’ bureaucracy.

A serving officer said Samkalp Coaching Centres with close connections to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have sprung up all over India and many serving bureaucrats and retired bureaucrats give lectures there regularly, reported TheWire.

According to a retired secretary, the results of the foundation course at LBSNAA are subjective, said TheWire report. “There are probationers who make a song and dance about their knowledge and always do well in the foundation course. The UPSC results are sealed, signed and un-manipulative,” she was quoted as saying. The former top bureaucrat, who was in one of the large ministries that has a good number of serving IAS officers, also feels this move of deciding service after the foundation course would lead to large-scale litigation by bureaucrats right at the beginning of their careers.

Already, the intra-service rank of a probationer is decided on the basis of performance in the foundation course. A serving joint secretary level officer says the assessment at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) and other academies is full of biases. He gives the instance of how one probationer who was in the top 10 all India rank moved much below in ranking after the foundation course at Mussoorie. The reason: he asked too many questions and did not always agree with the faculty and director. “Imagine now even the choice of service will be in the hands of the faculty in these civil service academies for a whole range of All India services.”

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