Sparring between PSC and Government

The PSC and the government are at loggerheads over extension of ranked lists for appointments to various posts in government.  It was usual for the Cabinet to recommend extension of various rank lists for different reasons and PSC used to accept them routinely. This time the left- dominated Board of the PSC has refused to accept the recommendations of the government, leading to almost a show down between the autonomous PSC and the government. Obviously, politics is behind the decision of the PSC though there is some merit in PSC’s stand.

The government wants extension of the ranked lists because of its decision to discontinue unified retirement date introduced by the previous government and fix 56 years as the age of superannuation.  The extension will offset the disadvantage arising from the decision to those in the live ranked lists of PSC.  However, it is notable that for the youth seeking employment in government service and who are yet to be in a PSC list, the decision would offset their entry by about one year. This is partly the result of the previous government’s decision also as the decision by the previous and present governments effectively increased the retirement age by one year in two steps.

The consequence of this to new applicants would be that they would enter government service one year later, on an average, and retire a year later. So, the average age of government servants would shift upwards and the youth who have already passed their examinations would have a longer wait for job.

However, the general consequence of extension of ranked lists is that the quality of those entering into government service would come down. A PSC list is expected to be live for only one year. However, if new list is not published, a list will be valid up to three years. This is what is being extended to up to 4.5 years now. Over such a long period, the best candidates in the list would get other jobs. Finally, those getting advice in the fourth year would be those who would not have normally got into government service.

If the PSC struck to the one year norms, the government would be getting the best of the lot and at an early age. However, the PSC is so understaffed and so bureaucratic that this hardly ever happens. New lists are always delayed. And this is the best excuse for government to seek extension of rank lists when they come under pressure from those in the live lists.