First of all, I would like to wish you a very Happy Independence week. And, in doing so I would also like to express how far this country has come along and will keep propelling forward to a brighter and a more robust future. I hold the same sentiments towards our beautiful state i.e. Arunachal Pradesh. But, in fancying such an audacious dream, I believe, we have to take a look at our foundations first. The foundations that is built on the sweat and zeal of the young bloods in our state. The foundations that will hold the pillars of tomorrow. The very foundation that has been compromised on various levels during the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Combined Competitive Examination (APPSCCE-prelims).
The recently conducted APPSCCE-prelims has been enshrouded in countless controversies that have affected innumerous aspirants for the coveted opportunities of serving as civil servants. The Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission has been unjust in its treatment of aspirants, especially to the ones who had taken up Geography as their optional subject and have been suspiciously ambiguous in its damage control. Following are the highlights of the issues I would like to project:
1. Standards: A total of 68 questions were copied from UGC NET 2014, which accounts to as much as 55.5% of the marks. I could have mugged up the last 10 years of UGC NET question papers and have come out with flying colours, but that would reduce this selection process to ‘quantity over quality’. And the sloppiness in such a disregard to set the question paper would have likely led to leakage of the source of the questions. Out of those 68 questions two questions were from statistics, which were out of our syllabus. APPSC Secretary Taru Talo said,” To err is human” (More candidates qualify for APPSCCE mains after re-evaluation – Arunachal Times; 19/08/18). In the light of recent events, this quote surely seems satirical since they didn’t even bother to do a good job of copying because 5 out of those questions were embarrassingly incorrect.
2. Diligence: After the backlash from the aspirants who had taken up Geography, Mr. Taru Talo has very casually summed up the whole situation as “human error”. How can “human error” be associated with a sophisticated system such as an OMR machine? Granted that there were some human errors. My question is, why did that only affect the geography papers? Were the human errors only subjected to geography papers or the OMR machine had a personal prejudice against us? The errors that were cited by the commission could very well have resulted in selection and de-selection of candidates. In the highest level of civil services examination in the state to err isn’t human. It is incompetence.
3. Authoritarian: Maybe, the commission acknowledged that they were indeed incompetent in conducting the exam and hence resorted to hegemony. We were figuratively bared before entering the exam hall, where crucial tools like watches were barred from the hall. Their authoritarian conduct was felt all across the state when they completely shut down the internet. Just because they themselves couldn’t cope up with monitoring the exam, they decided to stoop as low as making others’ lives miserable. My brother owns a small freelance design studio, where he is often required to send emails and exchange ideas through the internet. An hour late in delivering the product could cost him thousands. Likewise, many might have been affected by the net ban. Resort to competence and not communism.
4. Structure: The proportion of candidates selected for mains to the number of posts should be 1:12, but thanks to this unreasonable decision to include 76 more candidates the ratio has now changed. This is not a Christmas party where we advocate “more the merrier”. The commission has blatantly made a mockery of the selection process in order to accommodate more candidates for some suspicious reasons.
5. Transparency: We can clearly smell the lies of the commission in how they are addressing the situation. Despite our hue and cries, the commission has been awfully reluctant in releasing the answer keys and the marks obtained by us. Instead, they have released another set of 76 additional candidates eligible for the mains without any citation on what criterion. The terms under which this has been materialized is the clause 11 of Schedule-II of APPSCCE Rules. The clause never indicates the inclusion of additional candidates to be qualified. It only states that the cut off mark is to be decided by the commission on its discretion. And having set the cut off mark, if the number of candidates belonging to APST doesn’t fulfill the desired seats reserved for them, the cut off mark would be relaxed by 10%. If that doesn’t suffice, additional relaxation would be offered to accommodate APST aspirants to fill up the reserved seats. Nowhere does it write that additional seats would be offered upon already declaring the results of the prelims exam. Furthermore, if the commission had already decided on the number of eligible candidates in its initial outgoing, which should clearly follow the aforementioned clause 11 of section II of the rules, why did they deem it required to add more candidates and throw a blanket statement like “it is in terms of clause 11”. The clause should be followed during the first selection itself and not to house additional candidates out of the blue.
I humbly request you look into a grave and twisted matter like this where young aspirants are blinded by the APPSC and downtrodden to their incompetence. The ball is still in their court and I hope they at the least fulfil the following demands:
a. Re-evaluation of answer sheets.
b. Provision for answer keys.
c. Transparent and honest conduct by APPSC.
d. Re-conduction of examinations.
Frustrated APPSCCE aspirant
An open letter to Chief Minister