MPSC: Time for complete overhaul

As the Covid infested year is approaching its end, the State Government has appointed a new Chairman of the inglorious Manipur Public Service Commission (MPSC). It’s already late to clean up the MPSC, the highest recruitment body of the State and we hope the new Chairman can usher in a new era of competitive exams and recruitment tests free of controversies. Many distinguished personalities and men of dignity had had held the post of MPSC Chairman but none could pull out the commission from the mess in which it had been wallowing. We hope things will be different this time. If all the controversies surrounding the competitive examinations it conducted are any indication, something is very seriously wrong with the MPSC. Although only time can tell whether the new Chairman can right this wrong or not, a large number of people, particularly youth, would be expecting a lot from the new Chairman. Hardly any competitive examination conducted by MPSC in the past went off smoothly. It was a matter of utter shame not only for the MPSC executives but also for the whole State that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) even registered an FIR against the commission. The controversy surrounding the Manipur Civil Services Combined Competitive Exam (MCSCCE) 2016 has not been properly settled yet. In October 2019, the High Court, apart from quashing the particular civil services exam, directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the conduct of the MCSCC (Main) Exam 2016 by the MPSC within a period of three months and take appropriate action thereafter in accordance to law. Following the High Court’s order, 82 candidates selected through the particular recruitment examination and who were already serving in different capacity as Government servants were terminated. This was how MPSC wronged and insulted young civil service officers who burnt midnight oil to get through the exam.
Combined competitive civil services examination, as the name suggests, is not any ordinary recruitment exam. It is one of the most alluring yet challenging recruitment. The whole administrative machinery hinges on these exams. Socio-political and economic well being of a State depends much on how the civil services exams are conducted. Those who get selected through the competitive civil services exams ultimately take the helm of a State’s administrative machinery and rise to the upper echelon of the bureaucracy. In another word, these exams are the fountainhead of a State’s bureaucracy. The baseline of all competitive exams, civil services or otherwise is to select the best brains from amongst the smartest candidates. Herein lies the momentous responsibility of the Manipur Public Service Commission.  Amongst the three wings of a government – legislature, executive and judiciary, executive is responsible for governance/administration of a country. Executive consists of elected representatives of the people and bureaucracy. But elected representatives are not permanent. They come and go whereas bureaucrats are more or less permanent at least until retirement.  In fact, bureaucracy is an indispensable part of each and every political system be it democracy, monarchy or aristocracy. It can exist in any type of society, be it a dictatorial or a democratic society. Its role is crucial everywhere whether the political system where they operate is communism or socialism or capitalism. Given the crucial roles of bureaucracy in governing any state, all competitive examinations through which bureaucrats are selected should be conducted in a very fair and transparent manner. We don’t know what has happened to the FIR registered by CBI but we do hope that the new Chairman will overhaul and transform the commission into a transparent and trustworthy one, capable of holding competitive exams free of controversies.