Former finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday questioned the BJP government’s proposal to amend rules for allocation of services and cadres to civil servants by factoring in a 15-week foundation course. In a blog, Chidambaram said the proposed change appeared to be “unconstitutional” as it was violative of the Article 320 of the Constitution.
“The selection for ‘appointment’ to the service, now done solely by the UPSC, will be affected by the foundation course marks given by the executive government. I doubt if the proposed change can be implemented without amending Article 320,” he said.
Claiming that the proposed change would affect anonymity and objectivity, he said, “Preference of the executive government and subjectivity will play a role in the allotment of service and cadre. Neither factor is desirable. There is a clear and present danger. Is the central government planning another disruption? And if yes, why?” he asked.
At present, a probationer is allotted the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and other central services, based on their rank in the civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The new recruits are then sent to the academy for training.
The Prime Minister’s Office, however, has recently proposed to alter the process and allot services and cadres to candidates only after taking into account how they fare in the foundation course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA).
“Who conducts the foundation course? Who sets the question paper(s) for the examination at the end of the foundation course? Who marks the examination paper(s) of the candidates in the foundation course? It is officers appointed by the executive government and answerable to the executive government. The UPSC has absolutely no role to play,” Chidambaram said.
On Tuesday, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had attacked the Government on the issue alleging that Prime Minister’s plan was to “appoint officers of RSS’s choice into the Central Services, by manipulating the merit list using subjective criteria, instead of exam rankings.”