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How an Instagram story showed cracks in SPSC recruitment examination

Applicants highlight SPSC discrepancies on social media; political outfits reacts

An Instagram story of one of the sitting candidates of the January 16  preliminary examinations for the post of Deputy Superintendent Police, Under Secretary, and Accounts Officer puts questions upon Sikkim Public Service Commission.

As per SPSC examination guidelines, candidates are not allowed to take mobile phones, Smartwatches, or any form of electronic device inside the examination hall. However, the said screenshot clearly mentions the roll number, moreover the OMR sheet in which the candidates have to fill in the answers.

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Similarly, a letter claimed to be written by a candidate who sat for the examination headed to the chairperson SPSC maintained the examination was conducted unfairly, in the first phase the letter stated that the security check outside the examination hall was not done properly, “The lack of security in terms of proper checking and frisking of examinees coupled with the sheer carelessness regarding mobile phones and other electronic gadgets have led to reports of rampant cheating by examinees at multiple centers” reads the letter

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Further, the letter  also alleged that the ‘invigilators should be indifference’, “There have also been reports of indifference shown by invigilators towards these discrepancies.”

The letter went on alleging the examination was not fair and the question book was circulated with broken seals, ” Examinees centered at Tadong Senior Secondary School, Room 49-50 received question booklets with seals already broken in. There have also been reports from the said centre about invigilators leaving the examination halls unattended leading to malpractices by examinees in these rooms.”

“Room 68, PNGSSS, Gangtok has seen the use of mobile phones by multiple students inside the examination hall throughout the entire duration of Paper I.”

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Following the allegations, the letter claimed that “The official answer key released by SPSC on 17-01-2023 contains multiple errors. The provision of challenging the answer key is supposed to be for a select few (or none) of the questions which are extremely doubtful in nature. Examinees are now being asked to pay the fee for challenging questions which were incorrect, to begin with. Examinees shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of inaccuracies in the question paper itself.”

“An examination as prestigious as this one, where candidates are vying for the coveted positions of Deputy Superintendent of Police, Accounts Officer and Under Secretary was never expected to be conducted so callously. Many serious aspirants have placed their future in line by devoting 2-3 years of their lives to preparing for the exam. Yours sincerely, “A thoroughly disappointed and dejected aspirant”.” Added the letter

A similar incident claiming SPSC examination to be unfair was brought to the media radar by one local digital media house. The post dated August 9, 2015, reads, “please do not disclose my name but I would like to share a complaint against SPSC. I am one of the candidates who could not clear the US and DSP Viva. However, I filed an RTi and came to know that in one of the main papers, the SPSC has scratched out the marks given by the examiner and gave marks themselves which were written in pencil.  I inquired about it, they said they will double-check it, when they double-checked it they forgot to add marks for two of my answers was completely shattered by this and asked for a re-evaluation of my marks considering the fact that people cleared by very less margin of marks and then I received a letter from SPSC  stating that there can be no re-evaluation of SPSC which shows the utter hypocrisy of this commission.”

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Image: The Voice of Sikkim Facebook

“if they follow the UPSC pattern to conduct this exam then they themselves should be 1st eligible and efficient to conduct the exam in this pattern. SPSC is playing with the lives of the youth and has destroyed the career of many” added the statement

A political party, Sikkim Democratic Front claimed the examination to be “unfair and biased”, addressing the media, Rikzing Bhutia Spokesperson SDF held SPSC and the government responsible, “SPSC must apologize and if the mistakes are intentional lawful process should follow.  We have been getting calls from candidates who claim the examination to be  unfair and biased.”

Norbu further added, “There have been various incidents of  unfair means in centers, such as electronic gadgets were allowed, extensive use of washroom during the examination, allowing candidates arriving late to enter the hall are some violations which directly violates examination guidelines issued by SPSC”

In the process, Norbu claimed 10-15 questions of the examination to be wrong, ” There was clear negligence from the department side, 10- 15 questions in the question book of the examination is wrong. Some questions are wrong while other questions don’t have the correct answers in the given options”

Furthermore, Norbu also demanded state government re-conduct the examination. “All the pieces of evidence we presented today suggest that examination should be reconducted”

Similarly, Ganesh Rai of Reform Call said, “The government should not be biased in the recruitment process of the state civil examination. Such incidents are an injustice to those who are working hard and preparing for the examination for months and years”

Chief Minister, Prem Singh Tamang in various public address have stressed that there won’t be any political interference in the recruitment process, the candidates will be selected on basis of merit.

As per the SPSC website, a total number of 17091 candidates were shortlisted for the examination. Of these, 8101 candidates applied for the post of Under Secretary, 3842 for the post of DSP, and 5148 for the post of Accounts Officer. Likewise, 533 candidatures were rejected on various grounds by SPSC. In which, 228 Under Secretary, 210 DSP, and 95 for AO included.

As calculated, Rs 500 per form was charged as a fee. Following to this a total of Rs 8812000 was collected in form of government revenue.

According to SPSC sources the department is likely to address the issue within two days.

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