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UPSC Chairman Deepak Gupta has mooted a proposal for structural changes in the number of papers to be made part of the selection process, even as he favoured revolving a “foolproof online system of examinations. He was addressing a three-day conference of chairpersons of Public Service Commissions (PSC) in India that began in Shimla on Saturday.

 “There is a huge increase in applications, which is becoming a logistical challenge. Last year, the civil services preliminary applicants numbered 9.5 lakh, which is expected to rise to 12 lakh this year. Perhaps,it may need structural change in the manner and number of papers that are to be part of examinations,” said Gupta.

Gupta termed the system of online examinations and web-based examinations as efficient, credible and  helpful in handling increased workload. The computer-based examination system is more secure and transparent as a mode of conducting examinations/recruitment tests as it compresses the time between conduct of examinations and declaration of results, he said, while adding that some challenges such as security of data and related infrastructure constraints need to be addressed.

Gupta shared his experience of successfully conducting 22 online computer-based tests in nine cities.

 The UPSC chairman said that in the last three years the commission had introduced innovativeInformation Communication Technological initiatives such as online receipt of examination applications, generation of e-admit cards and interactive websites to cut down delays and reduce manual workload.

Gupta admitted that the tasks being handled by state commissions had become challenging when it came to maintaining transparency and accountability, besides the integrity of the selection process and the objectivity that will remain to be the test to measure the commission’s performance.

Quoting Dr B R Ambedkar, Gupta suggested the need for improvement in universityand technical education. “Our country requires upgradation of skills, knowledge and competency. Only then will we be able to reap the demographic dividends, else it may become a nightmare and time is of the essence.”

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