In India, officers of the central government are usually recruited through competitive examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (for senior officers) and Staff Selection Commission (for junior officers). For services in the state governments, recruitment is made through Public Service Commissions of the states.
These examinations typically have papers on the English language, general knowledge, arithmetic and papers on subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, history, economy, geography, medicine etc. However, knowledge in these subjects is not quite relevant to the requirements of the job these officers will handle. Furthermore, knowledge in these subjects has already been tested in the university examinations.
So what is the alternative? The examinations and interviews should simply test whether candidates have aptitude for the public service they are to be recruited for, whether they are willing to put in extra work, whether they are willing to learn, understand and take interest in the problems of the people, whether they have the positive attitude to solve these problems of the people and such similar things.
The present system of recruiting candidates with memory power and high marks, that too, in subjects unrelated to their future work has not helped the country in the 62 years since independence. One finds innumerable cases of top rankers winning promotions much later than their juniors and top rankers not getting important postings. This confirms the view that getting good marks in competitive examinations should not be the consideration for selecting candidates for government jobs.
A wholistic assessment of candidates’ attitude and aptitude for public service is required.