Let’s face it, few people look forward to interacting with government officials even if they want to join the ranks of the sarkari workforce themselves.
An online recruitment plan in the works may soon relieve thousands of such aspirants of the need to queue up at offices multiple times, jostle to put in a word from somebody who seems to know somebody important and possibly offer a bribe to get their police verification fast tracked — all to join a coveted government job.
Soon candidates may be able to complete the entire recruitment process online, barring the exercise of appearing in a written test. That is, if an ambitious digital plan of the Narendra Modi government comes through and the states fall in line.
The Centre is planning a “faceless, paperless and cashless” experience for government recruitments. This follows a proposal of a group of secretaries to the prime minister, as per which the candidates will not have to come face-toface with any government official from applying till joining the job.
“The secretaries in the ministry of personnel are doing a weekly review of the recommendations of the group of secretaries to ensure the earliest possible implementation. This has been taken up with all secretaries at the Centre and chief secretaries of states,” a DoPT spokesperson told ET.
Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) Secretary Sanjay Kothari and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar were part of the 12-member group, which gave its recommendations in January.
As per the plan, all government vacancies will be put up on a common portal and applications will be invited online. Applicants will be allowed to certify their applications with eSign, an online electronic signature service which enables an Aadhaar card holder to digitally sign a document.
This will do away with the need of physically signing application forms and queuing up at offices to submit them. The new system will also allow payment of exam fee online through a universal payment interface. The candidates will be able to upload their certificates into a digital locker, which will allow the government access these documents online.
“Certificates uploaded on digital locker will do. There will be automated processing of the matter there on,” an official said.
The Centre has already allowed candidates to submit self-attested certificates, moving away from the earlier system that required attestation by gazetted officers. Since January 1, the Centre has also done away with personal interviews for all junior Group B and all Group C and D level posts that form the bulk of government recruitments.
The exemption applies to all central ministries, autonomous bodies and public sector undertakings. Now interviews are required only for senior level Group B posts and all Group A posts. Under the new system, the provisional appointment letters, again e-signed by government officials, will also be sent online to the selected candidates.
The last stage, of joining the job, has proved to be the most arduous in many cases, since police verification of the candidates takes three-six months. Many candidates have complained that they had to pay bribes to get the process fast-tracked.
This may soon be a thing of the past. The group of secretaries has proposed that the successful candidates be allowed to join the job immediately on submitting an esigned online self-declaration of having no criminal history.
The appointment will be provisional, until the results of a time-bound police verification exercise come in. The DoPT on March 31 notified rules for self-declaration based joining.