First of all, I would clarify my stand that I am neither for the cancellation nor for the conclusion of the exam. There are several self interest groups within the protesting group of the APPSCCE 2018. In a court of law, except for the Commerce candidates their argument will last even less than a day because it’s just their own subjective feelings and nothing more. However, the case of the commerce candidates is just as cumbersome for the court to decide. Because the claim of “Out of syllabus” questions in the prelims paper itself is quite arguable and ambiguous. It is somewhat like the classic example of a glass half-filled with water. One group can say that it is half empty and the other can say that it is half-filled. The point I am trying to make is that it is a “grey” region. It’s not a complete black and white scenario. One can’t really say that it is not within the syllabus. The APPSC has made a lot of copy pasting in November 2017 prelims but it is wrong to assume on everybody’s part that it does not have an iota of credibility in conducting examinations. Let me show some examples.
In Prelims of sociology paper held in july 2018, a few questions were asked on ‘Books and authors’- both contemporary as well as foreign. But it is not anywhere explicitly mentioned in the syllabus. Similarly a whole lot of questions have been asked from ‘Indian sociologists’ section which is also not exclusively mentioned in the syllabus. And I believe the same situation holds true for most other optionals. Similarly in the mains GS paper 2, a question was asked on ‘Koppen’s scheme of (world) climate classification” which is not strictly a part of “Indian Geography”. But it is the very basis of understanding geography and climate. It is deeply interrelated and connected to Indian geography. It is not explicitly mentioned in the GS syllabus but it is a part of the Indian geography and the syllabus in practice and convention. To give an analogy, not everything has been written down exclusively even in the constitution of our country (which happens to be the lengthiest in the world). But by convention even the parliament, the legislatures, this country is governing itself without those well defined prescribed rules. Without those conventions, the country won’t function even for a day.
Therefore, I say that the claim of the so-called “out of syllabus questions” by some candidates is ill-founded. But I am not saying that they are completely wrong or they don’t have the rights to fight for their cause.
And in this regards, the task of the “Expert Committee” is equally difficult and dubious. Their job is to present the picture in a “Yes/No” format. But the nature of questions is such that you would be doing injustice by such rigid compartmentalization. For an example, “Write a short note on Green Revolution”. Every student knows that this question has been asked in sociology and it can be asked in Agriculture papers as well ( besides Economy and Geography papers). Analogically, the job of the Expert committee is to find out whether this question belongs from the field of Sociology or Agriculture. And they have to choose only one of the two. They have to present a completely black and white answer which does not correspond to the actual reality.
Lastly, I would say that the APPSCE’s repeated fiasco has needlessly harmed the lives of many poor souls and families who have spent their sweat, blood and tears as well as lakhs of money and a significant portion of their lifespan for this exam. I have the deepest sympathy for all of them. Even if the court decides for a fresh conduct of the exam there is no guarantee that the fiasco won’t be repeated in 2018-2020 either by the Commission itself or by the aspirant themselves. Therefore, as an Arunachalee I request the government a few reform measures to be introduced in the APPSC for the welfare of all:
1. The Chairman/Secretary- atleast one of the two appointed should be an officer of an IAS or similar rank.
2. Introduction of the UPSC pattern where the Optional subjects have been removed from the prelims to create a more equal field of competing.
3. Some states have even removed the optional from the Mains as well. Our state in particular needs this to be brought to avoid future controversies.
Many more reforms can be brought but I am quite optimistic even with these measures only. Lastly, I would clarify my stand again that I am neither for the cancellation nor for the conclusion of the exam.