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EditorialIs relaxing CSS rules for rural candidates wise?

Is relaxing CSS rules for rural candidates wise?

Lucrative government jobs have always been the priority of citizens, irrespective of their backgrounds. The concept of a “Pakki Naukri (permanent job) has long existed among us, and as the majority believes, this was guaranteed only in government departments. To give equal representation to all provinces based on their population, the country’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, introduced the quota system. The system evolved over the years, setting further quotas for the rural and urban divide. This meant that in the end, for most candidates, what mattered was their domicile. Out of the total recruitment, only 7.5 percent were selected on merit. The rest qualified under the quota system fixed for their respective regions. Over the years, many well-to-do rural residents have set up bases in urban areas but have continued to retain their rural domiciles. As a result, the majority of them, despite having lived most of their lives in cities, use their rural domiciles to appear in competitive exams. And when it’s time for selection, many make it through the quota system.

However, most of those who are left out are actual residents of rural areas. But there is another issue. Most of the rural population is unable to fulfil the laid-down criteria. It does not have a base that is built through a proper education system. It has been seen that several seats reserved for the rural population have remained vacant due to the unavailability of candidates who meet the criteria required to qualify for the examination. On further pondering, it was found that the education system prevalent in the less-developed areas did not prepare students to compete in the Central Superior Services (CSS) Examinations or the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC).

Given this major impediment, the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat the other day stressed the need to revamp the education system to help residents of less-developed areas fulfil the criteria for the CSS exams, which are mandatory to pass to qualify for civil service. The Senate body was given a detailed briefing on the Special Central Superior Services Examination, 2023. It also discussed the education system in less-developed areas and called for revamping it to ensure that candidates who are capable join the civil service. The meeting regretted the “colossal quantum of failure” of the competitive examination in rural areas.

The committee members were told that 52 vacancies for non-Muslim candidates from Punjab remained unfilled. Therefore, the Senate body proposed relaxing rules for CSS exams for the rural populace. The members were informed that coaching would be provided for compulsory subjects and candidates who will clear a preliminary test of multiple-choice questions will likely be interviewed from June to August. The education system in rural areas needs to be revamped, but at the same time, the quota system should be revisited. It is time to redefine merit. Under the present system, some loopholes can be exploited. Do we have to see that those claiming a rural domicile are that area’s residents? The Senate body is suggesting relaxing rules for the rural candidates, but is that logical? Don’t forget, they are the ones who would ultimately be running the government machinery. Therefore, it should be kept in mind that people appearing in competitive exams need to be selected based on a competitive criterion. We need to plug loopholes, sort out the core education issue and provide the necessary training that a candidate lacks so that he or she can keep up with the competition.


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