LAHORE - Chairman Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Lt Gen (r) Sajjad Akram HI (M) has said that PPSC has ensured a system which is fair, free, merit-based and expeditious with the sole aim to promote excellence and professionalism through right selection.

In an exclusive interview with the APP here on Sunday, he said the commission had recommended suitable and the best candidates for recruitment to different provincial departments maintaining merit, transparency and fairness which are hallmarks of the PPSC since its inception in 1937.

The Chairman PPSC said that many policies had been adopted to ensure speedy disposal of requisitions, recruitment process, new facilities for candidates and SoPs regarding efficiency and performance since he assumed charge in July 2014.

About the speedy disposal of requisitions, the Chairman PPSC said the time-span from requisition to recommendation for a post by the PPSC has been reduced to mere 91 days in the year 2015 under him while, previously, the minimum time period was 280 days.

Claiming the year 2015 as a record-breaking year in PPSC history, he said the year 2015 had been a record-breaking year vis-‘-vis number of requisitions, applications, interviews and selection of candidates in a 10-year comparison, adding that some 426 requisitions were processed for 12,275 vacancies, 7,91,216 applications were received, 34,452 candidates interviewed and 10,349 candidates recommended during the year 2015 despite shortage of staff as on average 10 members out of a total of 16 could be available uptil October 2015.

About the initiatives since 2014 under his regime, he said the PPSC had extended its outreach, adding Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan (DG Khan) were made regional centers from facilitation centers in 2015 and the candidates from the Southern Punjab do not have to travel long today as they take examination and interviews in these regional centers.

He said the awareness in the Southern Punjab was very high, adding that the topper in the Punjab Management Service (PMS) examination 2014 belonged to Muzaffargarh (Southern Punjab), while the percentage of attendance in various examination in the Southern Punjab had been very high as compared with the other parts of the province.

About new projects, PPSC Chairman said facilitation centers in Sargodha and Faisalabad will be established in next two years, adding that the PPSC Facilitation Center Sargodha will be operational by the end of this year.

Talking of cramped space at the PPSC head-office building, Lt Gen(r) Sajjad Akram said the government had agreed in principle to build a custom-made facility at the current site. He said the new building would accommodate more staff besides facilities for the candidates.

About curbing corruption, he said the PPSC had adopted zero-tolerance towards corruption, claiming that culprits in 7 reported cases of corruption were punished during 2015.

Regarding measures to bridle corruption, the Chairman said the candidate photo has been made compulsory on the MCQ sheet to ensure transparency. “We are in the process of building examination-halls at Johar Town Lahore to facilitate the candidates and ensure further transparency,” he responded.

About reliance on technology to ensure accuracy and efficiency, the PPSC Chief said use of technology is hallmark of operations at PPSC as interview-panels are now formed on the day interview through a computer software which enhances error-free system while a plan is being considered to assign invigilation staff duties at various examination centers across the province with the help of computer in the near future besides shuffling the duties hours before the examination.

To a question, he said correspondence with students is also ensured through SMS, e-mail and the web-site which has minimized the errors in correspondence.

About the standards, the Chairman PPSC stressed the need to enhance educational standards, adding that industry-driven PhDs are need of the hour as many degrees were irrelevant to what was needed in the country.

Lt Gen (r) Sajjad Akram said that the doors of his office were open to the candidates, adding that he had always lent a patient ear to the visiting candidates, saying no complaints were there pertaining to the system today.

The Chairman PPSC underlined the support of the government to achieve the highest standards in public service, adding all this would not have been possible in such a short time without government support.