LAHORE: The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) has decided to introduce screening test ahead of the Provincial Management Service (PMS) written examination to ensure that only ‘serious’ candidates should appear for the exam.

It is reliably learnt that the PPSC had last year received some 31,000 applications for the PMS examinations and the commission made arrangements in seven regions of the province. However, only 7,000 candidates appeared for the examination as a result resources went down the drain.

Considering this situation and in view of the Federal Public Service Commission’s (FPSC) precedent of introducing screening test primarily for same reasons, the PPSC has moved a summary to the Punjab government for consideration, seeking changes to rules to declare screening test a mandatory exam prior to appearing for the PMS written examination.

It is learnt that the Punjab Regulations Department has endorsed the summary and moved it to the law department for vetting.

Seeks to filter ‘serious’ candidates to avoid elaborate arrangements

Sources say the PPSC was facing serious problems in making arrangements for a large number of applicants in terms of arranging examination halls, engaging invigilation staff, collection of papers and answer-sheets and most importantly arranging examiners to mark all the answer sheets ensuring quality.

A senior PPSC official laments that many a candidates just submit applications for the PMS examination primarily to tell their parents that they are appearing for the competitive exam but don’t turn up on the day [of the examination]. Last year alone, the official says, some 31,000 candidates had applied and only around 7,000 appeared for the examination for a few posts available. The commission also conduct psychological test and hold interviews of those candidates, who qualify the written examination.

If the commission will take one screening test and filter ‘serious’ candidates, the official says the PPSC will be able to hold the written examination in a better manner and engage examiners for quality marking of answer sheets.

Sources in the government say modalities will be finalised for holding of the screening test, including the objective type paper, and total marks of the test will either be 100 or 200.

After vetting the summary, it will be moved to the chief minister and he will send it to the Standing Committee of Cabinet on Legislative Business for final approval and recommendation before putting it up in the Punjab Cabinet meeting for approval.

PAY INCREASE: The PPSC has also moved a summary to the Punjab government requesting increasing the pay package of the commission chairman and members.

It is learnt that the PPSC had taken a plea that the pay package of the commission chairman and members was revised way back in 2012 and there was no revision till date.

The PPSC has sought that the chairman and members should be given pay package on the lines of the Punjab Services Tribunal so that they could stay in the commission.

Sources say that those appointed in the PPSC soon afterwards move to the Punjab Services Tribunal for better pay and perks. “It is necessary to revise the pay package so that members may not look for some other attractive job,” a source says. As per revised package, the chairman’s pay will increase from Rs0.7 million to Rs1.2m and members’ package from Rs350,000 to Rs700,000, the source says.

The summary, it is learnt, has reached the finance department for further action.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2022

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