MPPSC lifts questions off magazine

What does a state public service commission do when it has little time on its hands to set a general studies question paper for more than two lakh aspirants for government posts? The Madhya Pradesh State Public Service Commission lifted questions from a recent issue of a widely circulated magazine that prepares students for competitive examinations; it even went on to reproduce a wrong question as it was published.

As many as 40 out of 75 questions in the paper held on Sunday were straight out of the June issue of Pratiyogita Darpan, a widely read magazine published from Agra. One of the questions (question no 17 copied from question no 33) erroneously mentions FEMA as FERA.

That's not all. The remaining questions have been reproduced from an examination conducted by Chhattisgarh Public Service Commission in 2003 for filling the posts of civil judges. Incidentally, the neighbouring state had reproduced an entire paper from an examination conducted by the Madhya Pradesh body a couple of years ago.

The general studies examination was rescheduled from August 20 to Sunday because two bundles of the question paper had gone missing before they reached Shahdol. The bundles were being taken by road from the commission's headquarters in Indore. Five employees of the Shahdol collectorate had been suspended, pending inquiry; nine policemen who accompanied them faced action. The incident had come to light on August 18, forcing the commission to reschedule the examination.

State public service commission secretary Dr Madhu Khare told The Indian Express that the commission would probe the matter and blacklist the paper-setter if found guilty. "Questions have to be referred from somewhere," she said, adding that neither the chairman nor secretary played any role in setting the paper. As far as the wrong question is concerned, she said candidates who opted for it would get bonus marks.

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