Firstly, the online application form is now available on the official website of the Union Public Service Commission. Officers desirous of applying may do so within time and should start preparing as per the syllabi mentioned in the advertisement. It is wished and hoped that there would be no dearth of encouragement from Commanders at all levels for young officers willing to change the colour of their uniform.
Secondly, the MHA could have done with some more homework and clarity on the eligibility conditions. The advertisement makes DSPs with 5 years of service and Assistant Commandants of the Para-Military Forces (sic) eligible for the examination alongwith officers of the rank of Capt/Major from the defence services. Now it is not clear from the advertisement whether the 5 year service condition is applicable only to DSPs or to all categories of eligible officers. Also it would be wrong to equate and treat at par all three categories. DSPs in some States are Group B officers with Grade Pay 4800 (equivalent to Subedar Majors) while in other States they are Group A with GP 5400 (equivalent to Lieutenants). On the other hand, Assistant Commandants are Group A Officers with GP 5400 (equivalent to Lieutenants). Officers of the rank of Lieutenant in the Army with GP 5400 have been made ineligible while much senior officers of the rank of Capt (GP 6100) and Major (GP 6600) have only been made eligible for the examination while their civilian peers would be much junior. Such chaos could have simply been avoided if a plain eligibility stipulation of “05 years Group A / Commissioned Service” had been envisaged resulting not only in equal opportunity to all services but a uniformity in applications also. Perhaps the MHA did not consult the States, the defence services and the CAPFs before imposing a one-sided eligibility condition. It would be in the fitness of things if the Services HQ could point this out to the MHA and the UPSC. Also, all CAPFs have not been included and many of them have been left out, even the advertisement strangely refers to CAPFs by its now-defunct nomenclature of “Para-Military Forces”.
Thirdly, it would have been better if the finer aspects of the service conditions such as seniority and pay protection could have been clearly spelt out.
Though it seems that efficient homework is lacking, I’m sure things would get sorted out in the times to come.