New Delhi: The government has relaxed eligibility criteria for the common written examination for probationary officers and management trainees at state-run banks, a populist move that will allow many more candidates to apply.
The relaxations include removing the 60% limit on marks received at graduation, scrapping the computer literacy requirement and raising the maximum age to 30 from 28, the finance ministry said in a release on Monday. All graduates can apply, irrespective of the marks they get.
The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) conducts the common written test for 20 state-owned banks (excluding State bank of India and associate banks) and Export Credit Guarantee Corp. of India Ltd for recruitment of probationary officers and clerks. Candidates are assigned a score that is valid for one year from the date of the examination.
The candidates then have to appear for an interview if they meet the cut-offs prescribed by the banks.
The finance ministry modified the earlier notification by IBPS that had prescribed stricter eligibility criteria for the examination to be conducted in October this year. With these changes, the government has ensured that the eligibility requirements for the third round of common written examinations are similar to the earlier two rounds.
“The decision was taken at a high-level committee comprising finance ministry officials, IBPS and banks,” said one of the bankers familiar with the development. “It was relaxed with the aim of enabling more candidates to sit for the examination.” In the last round conducted in June last year, more than 1 million applications were received for around 22,400 posts.
IBPS is yet to finalize the number of posts that will be filled this time.
“We have not yet received the final requirement for bank personnel from public sector banks. But with this relaxation, we could see around 12 lakh (1.2 million) candidates applying for the posts,” said A.S. Bhattacharya, director, IBPS.
The 8 July notification by IBPS had contained the stipulations about computer knowledge and other conditions.
Given that most young people have some basic knowledge of computers, it was felt that there was no need to insist on a formal degree, Bhattacharya said.
Ravi Ranjan, a 27-year-old aspirant, said increasing the age limit was a welcome move.
“They had earlier said that they will conduct the exams twice in a year. But that is not happening,” he said. Raising the age limit “will help candidates who want to again attempt to take the entrance”.
There was no reason for lowering standards, particularly when the number of applications to vacancy ratio is so high, said Manish Sabharwal, chief executive officer of staffing firm TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd.
“The productivity and quality of public sector banks’ workforce is already lagging those of private sector banks. The move to lower the hiring standards in the name of inclusion will come at the expense of quality and productivity in state-run banks,” he said.
“Technology-wise, public and private sector banks are almost on par, with human capital being the only differentiator,” he added.