New Delhi: A day after the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) recruited candidates through its elite Civil Service Examination (CSE), the hashtag “UPSC_Scam” trended on Twitter for several hours Wednesday.
The trend was over what was perceived as a discrepancy in the number of vacant posts in the civil services as against the candidates the UPSC selected.
While UPSC shortlisted 829 candidates, the number of vacancies flagged by the government, which the UPSC itself notified, stood at 927, according to its own official list.
This difference of 98 candidates has led to allegations that the UPSC was not publicly declaring the names of all selected candidates, to enable “backdoor entry” or “lateral entry”.
Among those tweeting about this was Abdur Rahman, a former IPS officer who had quit the services last year.
“Total vacancies = 927; Recommend for appointment= 829; Difference=98; Question is, why UPSC is not selecting all 927 candidates? It maintains a reserve list. But it is for candidates who decline to join or resign shortly or do not pass verification. This act creates suspicion. #UPSC_Scam,” he posted.
Total vacancies = 927
Rec for appointment= 829
Question is, why UPSC is not selecting all 927 candidates.
It maintains a reserve list. But it is for candidates who decline to join or resign shortly
or do not pass verification. This act creates suspicion. #UPSC_Scam https://t.co/AHypquMEea
— Abdur Rahman (@AbdurRahman_IPS) August 5, 2020
By 11 pm Wednesday, the hashtag had over 85,000 tweets.
Not a new phenomenon
The difference between the number of posts notified by the UPSC, and that of candidates finally selected is not a new phenomenon.
In fact, each year, UPSC selects fewer candidates than the positions it notifies.
In 2018, the commission notified 812 positions and selected 759 candidates. In 2017, it notified 1,058 positions, and picked 990 candidates. In 2016, it notified 1,209 positions, and selected 1,099 candidates.
Along with the first list that the commission declares, it maintains a ‘reserve’ list — a waiting list of sorts — of candidates, a senior UPSC official said, adding that the reason candidates are not picked for all notified positions is reservations.
For example, often a candidate belonging to a reserved category cracks the exam as a general category candidate, the official explained. However, if the candidate is not satisfied with the cadre or service allocated on the basis of general category rank, he or she can choose to use a reserved category seat, and get a cadre and service of preference, the official added.
In that case, the general category seat falls vacant. The commission then picks a general category candidate from its waiting list, and fills the seat. Similarly, if the SC candidate does not avail the reserved seat, an SC candidate from the waiting list is picked to fill that vacancy, the official explained.
‘Commission fills all vacancies’
The commission largely fills all the vacancies it notifies.
For example, for the 2018 batch of civil servants, the UPSC released a list of 53 candidates through its waiting list six months after declaring the first list.
“The results of the Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2018 were declared vide Press Note dated 05.04.2019 recommending 759 candidates in order of merit for appointment to IAS, IFS, IPS and Central Services Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ against 812 vacancies,” the commission said when it released the list of 53 more candidates.
“As sought by the Department of Personnel & Training, the Commission has now recommended 53 candidates which include 38 General, 14 OBC and 01 SC, to fill up the remaining posts based on the Civil Services Examination, 2018,” it added.
Therefore, ultimately, the commission recruited a total of 812 candidates — the same as the number of positions it initially notified.
Clarifying the commission’s stand, the official quoted above said, “Every year, the commission recruits exactly the same number of candidates as the number of positions it notifies.”
Even this year, he added, “we have a reserved (waiting) list, and we have an adequate number of candidates, but as is the practice, we have to leave scope for changing categories”.
According to UPSC rules, the number of candidates in the waiting list varies each year depending on the number of reserved category candidates who have cleared the exam in the general category. For example, while 50 SC/ST/OBC candidates can clear the exam in the general category in one year, this number could be 100 the next year.