MPs’ panel proposes legal status for SSC

Context:

  • A Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) has recommended that the Centre accord statutory status to the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), one of the largest recruitment agencies in the country.
  • The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and all State Public Service Commissions either have constitutional or legal status. The SSC is the only such organisation that performs similar functions on a much larger scale, but does not enjoy statutory status.

Rising workload

  • The SSC was created to ease the burden of the UPSC by taking over the recruitment for posts below the Group ‘A’ level. There has been a phenomenal increase in the workload of the SSC, from 9.94 lakh candidates in 2008-09 to over 2 crore in 2016-17.
  • While the workload and responsibilities of the SSC have increased exponentially over the years, it has remained an “attached body” under the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), and has to depend entirely on the government for all its needs, with no autonomy.
  • The Committee, headed by BJP lawmaker Bhupender Yadav, said that according statutory status to the SSC would contribute to greater functional autonomy, faster decision-making and efficiency in the overall performance and delivery of results by the SSC in the recruitment process.
  • An expert group constituted by the government in 2014, for reviewing the examination system in the SSC, had recommended according statutory status to the Commission.
  • At present, the SSC has a sanctioned staff strength of 481 officers but is functioning with 75% of its sanctioned strength.
  • The DoPT further stated that the SSC would be conducting the Common Eligibility Test at three levels — Matriculation, Higher Secondary and Graduation — and would attract around 5 crore candidates, making it the largest examination in the world. The SSC has submitted three proposals to the government for provision of additional manpower. The committee has said that it was imperative for the government to accede to the SSC proposals, taking into consideration the serious mismatch between tasks and resources.

Source:TH