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Dr Jitendra Singh Highlights Objectives of Public Examinations Bill in Lok Sabha

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The Lok Sabha today passed the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024. The Bill is intended to prevent unfair means in the public examinations. Public examinations refer to examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board, National Testing Agency, and Departments of the central government.

The Bill intended to prohibit collusion or conspiracy to facilitate indulgence in any unfair means. Unfair means include, unauthorised access or leakage of question paper or answer key, assisting a candidate during a public examination, tampering with computer networks, conducting fake examination, issuing fake admit cards and offer letters.

The objective of the Bill is to bring greater transparency, fairness and credibility to the public examination systems and to reassure the youth that their sincere and genuine efforts will be fairly rewarded and their future is safe.

Candidate as defined in the Bill will not be liable for action within the purview of the Bill and will continue to be covered under the extant administrative provisions of the concerned public examination authority. As per the provisions of the Bill, offence committed will be punishable with imprisonment between three to ten years, and a fine up from ten lakhs to one crore rupees. All offences under the Bill will be cognisable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable.

Replying to the debate on the Bill, Minister of State for Personnel Dr Jitendra Singh assured that the candidate does not fall under the purview of the legislation and will be protected from harassment. He said the Bill is for those who disrupt the examination process or try to cheat the system. The Minister stressed that government follows the spirit of cooperative federalism and the Bill is not an attempt to centralise the system. He added that the Bill will gradually push to conduct exams in more regional languages. Dr Singh said, meritorious students must not be sacrificed at the altar of organised crimes.

Earlier speaking on the Bill, the Minister said, the objective of the Bill is to bring greater transparency, fairness, credibility to the public examination systems and creating a level playing field for the aspirants. He said, the person involved in unfair means sabotage the future of aspirants. He highlighted several measures taken to bring transparency in the conduct of examination by the present government. He said, the government abolished the practice of interview for several posts, ensured time bound examinations and organized the Rojgar Mela.

Participating in the discussion, Kodikunnil Suresh of Congress supported the Bill saying that young people need justice in public examination. He said, this Bill will help the young people. Dr. Satya Pal Singh of BJP said, the government has taken several steps to end corruption prevalent during the UPA government. He said, focus has been laid on use of technologies. Supriya Sule of NCP raised questions over the outsourcing of examinations to private agencies. She also questioned the functioning of the coaching centres.

Malook Nagar of BSP said, a committee must be constituted in every State to look into the conduct of those who have allegedly entered into the government service with the use of unfair means. He said, this will create fear among those and curb the practice of entering into the government services with unfair means. BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy termed the Bill as revolutionary saying that honest aspirants will get justice. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, DM Kathir Anand of DMK, Chinta Anuradha of YSRCP, Achyutananda Samanta of BJP, Chandeshwar Prasad of JD(U), Pratap Chand Sarangi of BJP were among those who participated in the discussion. 

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