Over 1,300 Group-1 service aspirants from Andhra Pradesh are left in ambiguity and fear as the AP State Public Service Commission (APPSC) decided to conduct exams with a short notice of 45 days. A group of unemployed aspirants met with the APPSC Secretary, urging the state government to reschedule the exams, so candidates have at least three to four months time for preparation.
In May 2019, over 60,000 people appeared for the preliminary exam of Group 1 service, for around 170 positions, which include the posts of Deputy Collector, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP), Commercial Taxes Officer, Road Transport Officer and other state-level designations. The commission had released results of the exam in November 2019, declaring that more than 7000 people qualified for the mains, which consists of seven papers, and a syllabus similar to Union Public Services Commission's civil service.
Meanwhile, several aspirants, who alleged errors in a particular part of the preliminary exam answer keys, moved the High Court alleging discrepancies and injustice. Following the High Court intervention, the APPSC in October this year announced that another 1,378 candidates had qualified for the mains.
It is these aspirants, who are now protesting the short notice of 45 days, before the mains exam is being held. An aspirant, on condition of anonymity, said, "Our co-aspirants who were declared as qualified in the first list itself have got some more than 400 days to prepare. While we also qualified in the same test, it was declared late and we are getting only 45 days to prepare. This is shocking. Nobody is sure about when the fresh notification comes with such a number of posts."
Another aspirant, 28-year-old Sathish R from Srikakulam, speaking to TNM said, "The commission and the government should take our concerns into cognisance and give us time to prepare. It is a vast syllabus. They should explore alternatives such as conducting a poll on the rescheduling of the exams."
As per the existing schedule, APPSC is set to conduct mains exams from December 14 to December 20, while aspirants want them to be scheduled in February 2021 or in mid-March.
Lakshmi (name changed), a 28-year-old engineering graduate from East Godavari district, who qualified in the preliminary exam in the second list, said that the conducting mains by not considering the fate of the aspirants, will result in "gross injustice".
On a condition of anonymity, another aspirant informed that the APPSC wants to conduct mains as the delay and rescheduling will create inconvenience to the aspirants whose names were announced in the first list. She said, "The argument of inconvenience for those who qualified in the first list should not be accepted at the cost of injustice to us, who qualified in the second list, due to commissions' error."
The aspirant also alleged that the commission is not considering second list candidates as qualified aspirants, just because their names were announced in the second list. She said, "We have qualified like any other aspirant by our merit, and so, we should be given sufficient time like the others have been given."
The distressed aspirants, with the nearing of the mains exam dates, urged the government to reschedule the exams by conducting a poll, like the way it was done for Group 2 notification in 2016. Candidates also fear that many of them may not be eligible to apply for next notification due to the age factor.