Bank, Ibps, Ssc, Rly Insurance

Following a trend of selecting less and fewer public officials each year, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) advertised 712 places for its coveted Civil Service Examination (CSE) last week, down from 796 last year, a decrease of more than 10%.

Despite a nationwide scarcity of IAS and IPS officers, the government has steadily reduced the number of officers recruited through UPSC each year.

Since 2014, when the UPSC declared 1,364 openings, the number of jobs advertised by the commission has decreased by 47.8% by 2020.

The commission has been soliciting fewer people in general, not just for the top civil service positions.

The number of candidates recruited by the UPSC in total declined from 6,103 in 2016-17 to 4,399 in 2019-2020, according to the government’s response in the Lok Sabha this year.

The UPSC also administers a number of other exams, including the Engineering Services Examination, the Combined Medical Services Examination, the Combined Defence Services Examination, the National Defence Academy Examination, and the Central Armed Police Forces Examination, among others.

According to Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) sources, cadre management is a crucial role in determining the number of recruitments and openings for any service.

“While there may appear to be broad shortages in government positions, the majority of these shortages are at the entry level,” according to a DOPT official. “The government must consider the career evolution of the people it hires and leave space for advancement.” As a result, there is a declining trend… It’s part of the government’s plan for managing cadres.”

While the UPSC is the most prestigious of the government’s recruitment authorities, other bodies such as the Selection Staff Commission (SSC), Railway Recruitment Board, and Department of Posts have taken fewer and fewer candidates for central government postings each year since 2016-17.

The Print reached out to a DoPT spokesman for comment by WhatsApp, phone, and email, but received no response until this report was published.

The shrinking Staff Selection Commission

According to government data, the Staff Selection Commission has experienced the biggest decline in recruitment.

While the SSC recruited 68,880 candidates for the central government in 2016-17, the number dropped to just 2,106 in 2020-21, a 96 percent drop.

This number was 14,691 in the fiscal year 2019-2020. The recruitment numbers for 2017-18 and 2018-19 were 45,391 and 16,748 respectively.

The SSC is the government of India’s recruitment organisation, and it is responsible for filling Group ‘B’ (non-gazetted) and Group ‘C’ (non-technical) positions in the government. The commission, which was established in 1975, is in charge of recruiting the majority of government employees in the Class III and Class IV categories.

Former DoPT Secretary Satyanand Mishra explained the drop by saying it was due to an administrative error.

“When the SSC was first established, it would only recruit individuals for lower and higher division clerk positions in the central government,” he explained. “However, over time, all central government entities outsourced their lower-level worker recruiting to SSC.” So, there was a period between 2010 and 2011 when the SSC was hiring lakhs of people per year.”

“However, SSC has subsequently halted recruiting for a number of government departments. That’s why their job openings and recruitment have plummeted,” Mishra explained.

Another reason for the steep reduction in SSC recruitment is the frequent cancellation of exams owing to leaks and ongoing legal issues, according to a second DoPT official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“Several judicial cases regarding the SSC are pending, which has hindered recruitment,” the official said. “However, with the establishment of the National Recruitment Agency in the future years, the recruitment process will be streamlined.”

A Rajya Sabha panel chastised the SSC last year in a damning report for cancelling tests due to leaks, which it claimed “is causing tremendous misery to examinees and squandering of resources besides prolonging the recruitment process.”

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice also stated that the number of petitions filed against SSC has increased in recent years, with up to 2,123 court cases in which SSC is involved.

Railways, banking — a dip across the board

While the Indian Railways is the country’s largest employer, it only hired 3,873 central government employees in FY 2020-21, down from 27,427 in FY 2016-17.

The fall of the Railways, on the other hand, has not been as gradual as that of other organizations. While the Railway Recruitment Board employed 25,564 and 7,325 individuals in 2017-18 and 2018-19, the number of candidates hired in 2019-2020 increased to 1,16,391.

A Railway Board representative explained, “Recruitment is a difficult process.” “We attracted a big number of candidates from last year to last year, but that number cannot be repeated every year.” There must be a necessity in the government for the government to maintain posting job openings.”

“One figure does not explain the overall storey,” Railway Ministry spokesman D.J. Narain added.

“Railways is always looking for people to fill open positions. Last year was a watershed moment for the entire world, and the railway industry was no exception. Railways, on the other hand, has started recruiting for NTPC (Non-Technical Popular Categories) and other positions,” he said. “All posted positions are being filled in stages. More than 40,000 ALP candidates received call letters for training schedules and other information this year. In the case of the NTPC recruitment, for which over 1.4 crore people applied, over 1 crore people have taken the exam in the last few months alone.”

However, a railway official who requested anonymity noted that, given the financial circumstances, the government is likewise attempting to tighten its purse strings.

“Even in the railways, many existing re-employed personnel have had their contracts cut short, and other austerity measures have been implemented… “It’s also a factor in fewer recruitments,” the official added.

The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS), which administers exams for probationary officers, clerks, office assistants, and other positions in nationalized and regional rural banks, is no exception.

Last year, the IBPS posted 1,167 jobs for probationary officers (POs) for 2020, a 67% decrease from the previous year’s 4,336 vacancies. While the drop may have been one of the most precipitous in previous years, the IBPS has been recruiting fewer POs each year since 2012, when the number of openings released was 22,000, when the number of vacancies released was 20,000.

Between 2013 through 2018, the number of openings released each year was 21,680, 16,721, 12,434, 8,822, 3,562, and 4,252 accordingly. Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Punjab National Bank, and Union Bank of India are among the banks covered by IBPS, which is an autonomous Government of India entity.

“Several banks have been amalgamated, and there is also large-scale digitisation and automation across banks, which has decreased the need for large-scale recruitment,” an Institute official said. Furthermore, the IBPS is required to fill openings requested by individual banks.”

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