rahul gandhi
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has said that the PM is not bigger than the country.ANI

What could have been passed off by the Modi government as a routine administrative reform sidelining the merit with favouritism or sycophancy has caught the attention of the Opposition recently as Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to alert the future UPSC aspirants.

Alleging saffronisation by the present government, Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move to overhaul the entire UPSC exam procedure to circumvent the unbiased merit-oriented Civil Services Exam with a tweak at the end.

The proposed amendment to the Civil Services recruitment rules seeks to bypass the merit and entail the 15-week Foundation Course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) to decide the service cadres like IAS or IPS among others. Essentially, the new rule may facilitate the like-minded new recruits in key cadres while those identified as trouble-makers or brilliant may be relegated to other services. 

As reported earlier, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension in the PMO has reportedly sought the opinion of major cadre-allocating ministries on making the Foundation Course the final filter to deny coveted services to those who fail to fall in line.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi quickly reacted to the move, sending out a tweet that said:"Rise up students, your future is at risk! RSS wants what's rightfully yours." Tagging the purported letter, he said on Twitter: "The letter below reveals the PM's plan to appoint officers of RSS's choice into the Central Services, by manipulating the merit list using subjective criteria, instead of exam rankings."

Originally reported by Indian Express, the report dated 21st May, said the government is considering an overhaul of the UPSC exam so that the IAS and other cadres are not given by the UPSC but they will be decided at the Academy after the 15-week Foundation Course.

It reportedly said: "Examine the feasibility of giving due weightage to the performance in the Foundation Course and making service allocation as well as cadre allocation to All India Service Officers," and was purportedly sent out by Vijoy Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, DoPT, reported Indian Express.

Pending clarification from the PMO, how is this Foundation Course performance measured? Purely subjective, though intertwined with occasional tests and observations. While city-based elites score better here, rural-educated students, though hard-working and sincere, may stand to lose out in the competition due to their lack of communication skills.

Secondly, those who toe the line of like-minded professors and pro-government elements will get into the IAS and other top services and vice versa. In a sense, most of them tend to resort to sycophancy, nepotism and appeasement.

Currently, these traits are missing to a greater extent in the UPSC selection now but no longer, if the new policy kicks off.  "If this idea goes through, there will be maara-maari (tussle). Probationers will compete for every mark so that they get the service of their choice. Sycophancy will reign supreme at the academy," said one senior bureaucrat.