UPSC : Striving for innovation and improvement

84th FOUNDATION DAY CELEBRATION OF UPSC
HON'BLE CHAIRMAN'S SPEECH DELIVERED ON 01.10.2010

My esteemed colleagues in the Commission, former Hon’ble Chairmen & Members, Secretary, Officers, members of staff, ladies and gentlemen. It gives me immense pleasure to address you all on the occasion of the 84th Foundation Day of the Union Public Service Commission. This is an occasion to reflect on our achievements, to acknowledge the good work done and to resolve to face the new challenges.

All over the world, the system of recruitment to public services has been a subject of reform and innovation. UPSC has also been constantly striving to innovate and improve our systems to recruit the best talents in a fair and just manner.

The present scheme of recruitment to Civil Service Examination has been in vogue for over 30 years now. Keeping in view the tremendous changes that have taken place after the liberalization of economy and the paradigm shift in the role of the Civil Servant, the Commission felt the need for reforms in the method of recruitment to the higher civil services. Accordingly, on our advice, the Govt. of India approved certain modifications in the Scheme of Civil Service Examination and asked us to develop syllabus. A Committee was, therefore, set be up by Commission. The Report of the Committee had been examined in detail by a sub-committee of the Commission. After due deliberations by the Commission, its recommendations have been sent to the Government and we are awaiting their decision.

We have started a System of Online Application Procedure (SOAP) for the competitive examinations from January, 2010. Nine examinations have so far been notified by the Commission with the option to the candidates to apply online. The percentage of candidates applying online is steadily increasing.

Online Recruitment Applications (ORA) for Direct Recruitment has also been launched w.e.f. 14th August, 2010 as a pilot project.

In a major initiative that will benefit the candidates to get information on the programme of examinations, status of their application, venue information and exam results we had introduced an Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) on 1st October, 2009 which is now being used extensively by the candidates.

The quality of selection in the recruitment heavily depends on the way the Recruitment Rules are framed. The procedures of framing of RRs which were archaic are thoroughly revamped so as to be in sync with the new technologies/subjects/disciplines that has emerged in various fields. Special attention is also being given to ensure that the educational qualifications are prescribed in such a way that it matches the duties and responsibilities of the post.
The Commission has started uploading the Detailed Application Form (DAF) on the UPSC website with the option to the candidates to download, print and fill up the DAF and send it to the Commission.

As a part of the IT initiatives, Leave Application software developed by NIC has been implemented in UPSC for Section Officer/Under Secretary/Deputy Secretary level officers.
In the Appointment and Services Branches, a new initiative of a Single Window System for receiving the proposals and its preliminary scrutiny across the table has been taken to cut down delay.

Zonal meetings with the officers of State Governments and Central Government were organized on preparation of proposals for convening Selection Committee Meetings for All India Services.
The Commission is committed to zealously safeguarding its mandate under Article 320 and 321 of the Constitution. Any attempt to take away any of our functions have been consistently opposed by us. Recently, we have sent our concerns on the Draft Civil Services Standards, Performance and Accountability Bill, 2010 which impinged upon the functions of the Commission.

Similarly, Commission has constituted a committee of two Honble Members to go into the issue of the increase in the number of departments/areas being brought under UPSC (Exemption from Consultation) Regulations, 1958.

The Government of India is considering the formation of All Indian Judicial service on the lines of other All India Services. Commission considered the views of the Department of Justice and responded that UPSC will undertake the recruitment to All India Judicial Service.

The 12th National Conference of Chairpersons of State PSCs was hosted by the Commission with a focus on "Meeting the public aspiration and image building" in February 2010 and the same was inaugurated by MoS(PP) Shri Prithiviraj Chavan. Hon’ble Prime Minister met the Conference participants and advised them to learn from each other and especially from the UPSC so that public faith is maintained in the working of the Commissions.

As we operate in a global world, in my opinion, it is the right time for us to share our experience and expertise in a global arena. Towards this end our Secretary visited Public Service Commission, Canada in April, 2010.

Recently, I participated in a Conference in Dublin where Chairmen and C.E.Os Public Service Commissions of nearly 15 countries covering Europe, Central Asia and Canada participated. I am happy to share with you that there was an all round admiration for the UPSC and many countries desired to have formal linkage with us. We have also received delegations from Afganisthan, Canada, Vietnam, Nepal and Myanmar.

To further the idea of promoting international cooperation, we are hosting the Conference of the Chiefs of Public Service Commissions of SAARC countries in November, 2010.
In an effort to outreach to the public, we have introduced Annual Foundation Lecture Series on "Governance and Public Service" from 2009 onwards. I am extremely glad to inform you that this has been received well by people from all walks of life. Last year the inaugural lecture was delivered by Hon’ble President of India on 12th November, 2009 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

This year, we have requested the Honble Prime Minister to deliver the 2010 Lecture.
Keeping themselves uptodate and enhancing professional knowledge and skills needed for better performance is a primary requirement for our employees. Training of staff therefore assumes paramount importance. We have organized several training programmes for our staff on the topics of Communication Skills and Motivation, office procedure, noting and drafting, RTI matters, TA and LTC Rules, etc. 208 Group `D’ employees were also imparted training to make them multi-skilled and to enable them to perform various jobs with greater efficiency. Induction Training is being imparted to all newly appointed Officers in the Grade of Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Joint Secretary, etc.

The history of an important institution like UPSC has to be showcased for the public. I am glad to mention that efforts of the Commission to set up a Museum are bearing fruits.
Proactive dissemination of information has been our constant endeavour. Despite the constraints attached with the sensitive nature of work handled by Commission, we been bringing as much transparency as possible in its working. With this in view, the website of the Commission is being enriched with more and more updated information both in English and in Hindi. Despite this, the number of RTI cases disposed of by the Commission has increased from 1806 to 2558 in the last one year.

The steep increase in the number of applications in Examination and Recruitment is a great challenge faced by the Commission. On the Examination side, the number of applications increased from 9.5 lakhs in 2008-09 to 15 lakhs in 2009-10 - an increase of 63%. Similarly, in Recruitment Branch, the number of applications increased from 46,648 to 85,186 in 2009-10 - an increase of almost 83%. While the work load increased substantially, there has been a general shortage of staff in almost all Branches.

The solution to this problem lies in more and more use of Technology. We are taking the help of technology in a big way to cut down delays and to cope up with problem of shortage of staff.
In spite of all these constraints, our disposal rate increased and pendency has come down to an all time low. These achievements have become possible only due to the relentless efforts made by the officers and staff members of the Commission. On this occasion, I would like to congratulate them for their valuable contribution.

Today, ours is one of the few Institutions in which people still have faith. We have a glorious past, but it should not lead us to complacency; rather it enhances our responsibility to strive for further betterment. It is my firm belief that in the years to come, you will all work with more dedication and commitment to ensure that the Commission rise up to the expectations of our country and maintain the best standards of professionalism.

JAI HIND

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