LS Passes Landmark Examination Bill By Dr Jitendra; Seeks Safeguards For Youth, Children
NEW DELHI, Feb 6 : The Lok Sabha today passed ‘The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024’ moved by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh.
Replying to an extensive debate on the Bill in which around 25 MPs from different political parties spoke, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the legislation seeks safeguards for “our youth and children”.
The legislation aims at curbing leaks, malpractices as well as organised malpractices in recruitment examinations like UPSC, SSC etc and entrance tests such as NEET, JEE and CUET.
“Prevention of Unfair Means Bill, 2024” will also cover entrance examinations held by the Union Public Service Commission, the Staff Selection Commission, the Railways, banking recruitment examinations and all computer-based examinations conducted by the National Testing Agency.
Initiating discussion in the house on the Bill, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said, one after another we have witnessed incidents of malpractices, paper leak, impersonation etc from various parts of the country. In Rajasthan, there have been 12 incidents of malpractices since 2018 while the Sub-Inspector Recruitment scam surfaced in Jammu & Kashmir in March, 2022 and SSC Combined Graduate Exam in 2017, he said.
“There are several instances but prominently, in West Bengal, the Diploma in Elementary Education paper in November, 2022 was leaked, again in the same state in February, 2023 English paper leaked besides School Service Commission, West Bengal also leaked. In December, 2022 Teacher Recruitment Scam unravelled in Rajasthan while in February, 2022 the Rajasthan Eligibility Exam for Teachers was also plagued by malpractices and the exam had to re-conducted. In May, 2022 Rajasthan Police Constable Recruitment Exam was hit by a scam,” he said.
Cutting across party lines, Dr Jitendra Singh said the matter is above politics and that there is no difference of opinion among members of the House. The Bill is aimed at curbing corrupt practice by few unscrupulous elements that plays havoc with the future of our youth, destroying their careers and aspirations and occasionally resulting in fatal suicides, he said.
“The future of our youth up to 40 years of age, who comprise 70% of our population, is at stake, who are stakeholders in the Viksit Bharat of 2047,” he said.
Later, replying to the debate, Dr Jitendra Singh clarified that the students or the candidates appearing in these examinations have been kept out of the purview of Bill and assured that they will continue to be governed as per provisions of the agencies conducting the exams. Dr Jitendra Singh said, for the first time by this Government, all exams held by the UPSC and SSC are now being conducted in 13 regional languages and efforts are on to conduct exams in all regional 22 Scheduled Languages.
Stating that technology is being widely used by unscrupulous elements, the DoPT Minister said technological solutions will be used to tackle the menace and a surveillance committee will be constituted to address those concerns.
The rationale for bringing this Bill, Dr Jitendra Singh said, is that it specifically addresses issues related to unfair means in the conduct of exams that are not covered under the purview of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Act.
Earlier, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Modi Government has initiated youth-centric provisions and schemes in the last ten years, such as ensuring transparency and providing equal opportunity and level-playing field in recruitments and higher studies.
“Soon after swearing in as Prime Minister in May 2014, within a couple of months Shri Narendra Modi took a major initiative by scrapping the rule of attestation of documents by a Gazetted Officer, a dubious legacy of the British Empire. This rule should have been done away with immediately after Independence, but we had to wait for PM Modi to fulfil the aspirations of the youth and thus self-attestation was introduced,” he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, PM Modi, later in his Independence Day address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, had called for why not interviews be scrapped in Government recruitment and higher education to curb favouritism and corruption
“Acting promptly, the DoPT completed this exercise in three months, and w.e.f. 1st January 2016 Interviews were abolished across the country,” he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, examinations were made computer-based and online to ensure transparency and exams are now being conducted in a timebound manner to provide the youth equal opportunity. Recently, under the vision of PM Modi, a series of Rozgar Melas was initiated where 50-70 thousand appointment letters are being disbursed in bulk. Mass promotions have also been initiated, he said.
Reiterating that the Government led by PM Modi follows the principle, – “Suvidha, Suraksha aur Samman” (Convenience, Security and Respect), Dr Jitendra Singh said, this Government amended the PCA Act to hold the bribe giver equally culpable in acts of corruption.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill is dedicated to the strength and capabilities of the Youth. The Youth and the Women are representative of the two sections that are a priority of the Government headed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. PM Modi has said, we are aware of only four classes, – Youth, Women, Kisan or Annadaata and the Poor.
The Bill proposes a punishment of a minimum of three to five years of imprisonment to curb cheating and for those involved in organised crimes of cheating will face five to 10 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 1 crore.
The Bill is aimed at preventing organised gangs and institutions that are involved in unfair means for monetary gains, but it protects candidates from its provisions.