The wait for a government job may prolong as the COVID-19 pandemic has torpedoed the schedule of public examinations and subsequent appointment process. There is no certainty several key examinations to be held by the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) would be held on time even as the results, interview and issue of rank lists of finished tests are delayed.
PSC Chairman M K Sakeer responds to concerns about exams, the validity of rank lists and the recruitment procedure.
Excerpts from an interview
Will the LDC and Last-Grade Servant exams be conducted this year?
We have decided to conduct the LDC and Last-Grade exams by this year-end. There are 17 lakh applicants for the former and 7 lakh for the last grade. However, some people have raised concerns over conducting exams for this many candidates amid the rampant spread of COVID-19. But the PSC is completely prepared and if all the circumstances are favourable, the exams will be conducted this year itself. Or else, these will be held next year. LDC rank list has validity till April 1 and last grade till June 29. Efforts will be made to publish a new rank list within this time.
When will the PSC resume holding of tests?
As I said, the PSC is fully prepared to conduct the exams. However, we need the help of other departments to make the arrangements. Also, schools need to reopen. And public transport services too have to be fully functional. The number of containment zones in various parts of Kerala is increasing every day. Special arrangements have to be made for candidates from these centres to write the exam. Though another date can be set for an interview, the same cannot be done for exams. These factors have to be considered before resuming the exam.
Do you plan to first conduct the postponed exams and then the rest?
We have not taken any such decision. We plan to resume the exams on a priority basis. First preference will be given for posts in emergency services and posts for which the rank lists have expired. For instance, the rank list of the health department's assistant surgeon post has been cancelled. Though the exam for this post was scheduled for May 5, it had to be postponed. Several rank lists, including civil police officer, have been expired. These exams will be given priority.
When will the shortlist of the Kerala Administrative Service (KAS) test be published? How many will make the cut?
The evaluation of the KAS test has been completed. We are trying to publish the list in August. However, we are yet to take a final decision on how many candidates should be included in the list.
But the number of candidates in the PSC shortlists are being cut down. Fewer people were included in the VEO (Village Extension Officer) main list compared to last year.
Every list will have the required number of candidates. There is no rule that the same number of people in the previous list should be included in the new list as well. Candidates are included in the list based on several factors. Sometimes, more number of candidates are included in the new list compared to the previous list. The PSC cannot prepare the list based on random estimates.
Recruitments are still moving at a snail's pace. Will the validity of rank lists be extended?
The PSC decides to extend the rank list based on the government's recommendation. The PSC cannot make a call on its own. Vacancies reported even until the last date of the rank list can be filled based on that list. We are trying to carry out recruitments for such vacancies even during the COVID-19 crisis.