Limited Departmental Competitive Exam conducted by UPSC for promotion from Assistant to Section Officer should be continued .There are a number of advantages of this exam for CSS. Before exploring the advantages, following points may be seen:-
Ø LDCE for promotion from Assistant to S.O. is being conducted for so many years but nobody demanded its abolition. This demand is being raised just after circulation of a ‘Draft representation’ prepared by some Mr. Naidu. A number of persons have started raising their voice against LDCE. How this exam suddenly became ‘unlawful’, ‘Unconstitutional’, “Unfair”etc.etc. just after circulation of that representation? Are there some vested interests that are circulating such representations just for dividing CSS particularly the Assistants? Interestingly, it has created division among Assistants who were always having common interests. Is it an attempt to divert focus of CSS from their demand for progression like higher PB/GP from starting to SO, re-designation of Assistant and Section Officer and many more? OR whether Assistants of CSS were not having enough intelligence to understand pros and cons of LDCE for so many years and have been tremendously enlightened just by this representation.
Ø Even in the circulated representation, first demand is ‘Time Bound Promotion’ then ‘stop LDCE’. Instead of advocating /demanding ‘time bound promotion’, focus of the people is completely on ‘Stop LDCE’, thus taking the whole issue in a wrong direction.
Ø A number of points given in the representation referring article 14, 19 of the constitution and many more are just exaggeration and have been used to give an impressive look only. They are not applicable in the service matters.
Ø It has been projected in the representation that if the LDCE is stopped, stagnation would be completely removed and promotions would be extremely fast. No figures or facts have been given to substantiate this projection. Figures of select lists of previous years are available and the projection should have been established on the basis of figures of year 1990 onwards.
Now let us see why LDCE should be continued:-
v Time bound promotion is the best but not practical. If time bound promotions are allowed then nobody would have a problem and LDCE would be stopped automatically. Normally, Time bound promotions are given in Military services (Directly commissioned officers), IAS/IPS/IFS and in some other technical and specialized posts. It is a very difficult task to get time bound promotion for CSS as there is no comparison of CSS with these services. Even in Organised Group A services like C.E.S.Gr.A, IES, ISS etc. time bound promotions are not available so how can CSS expect it being recruited as Non Gazetted and having 50% seniority quota. Possibility of Time bound promotion is, therefore, almost Nil. In this situation stopping of LDCE would further worsen the situation of cadre.
v Generally, whenever there are two elements -Direct and seniority quota for a post and particularly in 50:50 ratio, departmental exam is prescribed for promotion to some extent. This situation is not unique in CSS. In LDC post, there is a direct recruitment and promotion for Peon, Departmental exam is thus prescribed for promotion to UDC. Nobody has advocated for stopping exam for promotion from LDC to UDC. Same is the situation in the post of Assistant. There is 50:50 element of DR and SQ, so there is a need of exam for promotion to some extent. In many other departments /cadres e.g. CPWD, NIC etc.etc. including Accounts and Audit, departmental exams exist for promotion but there is no hue and cry in those cadres. Does it mean CSS Assistants have lost their sharpness and want to achieve promotions easily while just doing their routine official work simultaneously with their personal side business, other part time professions etc.
v There are a number of posts in Combined Graduate Level Exam like Income tax Inspector, Central Excise/Customs Inspector, Inspector of Posts, Assistant Enforcement Officer, Assistant of CSS/AFHQ/RBSS/IFS(B) etc. . A candidate gives priority to the post of Assistant over other posts (which have a lot of benefits and recognition, powers, facilities attached with them) because of LDCE to S.O. grade which gives an opportunity to be promoted to Gazetted post within a period of 6 years and reach upto the leval of Director. In other posts like I.T./Customs Inspectors, one has to wait for 10-12 years to be promoted to Gazetted post and can reach to the level of Deputy Commissioner at the most. There are a number of cases where candidates already selected in Gr.B Gazetted posts of State Administrative Services and even Gr.A officers have chosen to join as Assistant of CSS just because of opportunity available through LDCE. Thus LDCE attracts meritorious candidates in Combined Graduate Level Exam. If the LDCE is abolished in CSS, candidates would opt Assistant (CSS) as their last choice and even after some attractive Gr.C posts like Divisional Accountant, Excise Inspector etc. .
v LDCE, whether at the level of LDC or Asstt. , Provides an opportunity for fast promotion to those who have talent. A person recruited as LDC (though more talented but couldn’t qualify higher exams) may become UDC early through LDCE and he may also become Section Officer through LDCE. This opportunity minimizes the frustration in the persons who couldn’t be selected finally in higher exams even after qualifying in various stages of those exams.
v LDCE keeps the Assistants updated, interested in their work, enthusiastic, motivated for learning and acquiring skill. Once LDCE is stopped, Assistants, specially DRs, shall be Idle, frustrated, dull and disinterested. LDCE is ,therefore, absolutely necessary to maintain quality and enthusiasm .Otherwise nobody would care for acquiring fresh knowledge, skill and shall be buisy doing only other part time activities like business, property dealing, share business etc..
v U.P.S.C. exams have their own importance and image. An exam conducted by any other agency may be as rigorous as of UPSC but exams conducted by UPSC have their own image in eyes of general public and also in Govt. machinery. Services which have exams through UPSC have their own Brand Value. One setback to CSS was discontinuing DR Section Officer exam. It is a matter of fact that Section Officers got NFSG of 8000-13500 and GP4800 (7500 scale pre revised) as they were compared with DANICS/DANIPS due to element of DR Section Officer in CSS. Now discontinuation of S.O. grade LDCE would further be detrimental to value and image of officers of CSS. Similarly Asstt. Grade exam by UPSC before 1989 was having its special value and only Assistants were given Group B Non-Gazetted status. When SSC started conducting exam, though more tough, it has lost its special status and one can easily find that other cadres have got better pay scales before Assistants and also all subordinate cadres have got GrB, Non-Gazetted status. Earlier other cadres were demanding parity with Assistants of CSS but now Assistants have to demand parity with others.
v LDCE gives better promotional opportunity .Due to LDCE at LDC and Asstt. Level, a talented DR LDC can even become under Secretary and a DR Asstt. Can be Director or even Joint Secretary in the present scenario. If the LDCE is abolished, it is sure that no DR Assistant would reach to Director and would retire at the Dy.secretary level. Abolition of LDCE will certainly curtail the promotional avenues of CSS and will be restricted to Dy.Secy post at the most. The logic that due to time bound promotions,DR Asstt. Shall reach to Director is totally based on daydreaming. In no case Govt. would allow time bound promotions in the present scenario of 3 financial upgradations under MACP Scheme. Time bound promotions are not given even in organized Gr.A services selected through UPSC, how can they be given to Assistants (Gr.B, Non-Gazetted). It would be better if Assistant Grade exam could be started through UPSC again for its better future and to differentiate this post from other subordinate service posts.
v It may be concluded that LDCE is a must for giving better promotional opportunities for comparatively more talented persons and keep the Assistants (who are young and have capability to learn) active, updated, keen and motivated. LDCE by UPSC gives a Brand Value and image to CSS officers which further leads to better pay scales, status as compared to other cadres. LDCE makes the post of Section Officer and CSS special and incomparable with other similar posts of subordinate services/cadres.