KOCHI: Already facing allegations of malpractice in government appointments, the Kerala PSC has courted yet another controversy by appointing 21 employees to conduct manual valuation of OMR answer sheets allegedly pertaining to the Kerala Administrative Service (KAS) appointments. As per the PSC norms, only computer-based valuation is allowed for Optical Mark Reader (OMR) answer sheets. Only a few answer sheets may need manual valuation, if technical glitches had occurred during the examination.
The order issued by Lissiyamma K D, deputy secretary, PSC, on May 28 cited that the 21 employees have been appointed in the examination wing of the commission for the immediate completion of the OMR manual reading jobs. “As this job has a confidential nature, the employees should be present for duty until June 12 or until the completion of the job. The employees should not keep away from duty without prior permission of top officials of the examination wing. Further action will be initiated against those found violating these directions,” added the order.
According to the sources, this is for the first time these many employees have been deployed for manual valuation of answer sheets of an examination conducted under the OMR system. All 21 employees are attached to the PSC headquarters.
K S Radhakrishnan, former chairman of PSC, pointed out that, as per the norms, the PSC chairman, members of the commission and its employees should keep away from all stages of the recruiting process. “If such an incident happens, there would definitely be possibilities of corruption and irregularities,” he added.
Spokesperson of BJP Sandeep G Warrier who shared a copy of the order alleged that the government was attempting to fill top administrative posts with party members under the cover of Covid-19 pandemic. “These appointments are intended to recruit CPM cadre in KAS. The appointments come when the OMR valuation process of the KAS is already under way. With the appointment of these officers through a special order itself exposes the ruling CPM’s new efforts to sabotage PSC exams,” he added. The descriptive test of KAS is scheduled to be held in July, in the second phase of recruitment. As many as 4.01 lakh candidates had appeared for the OMR exam held in February 22 this year.