Staff Selection Commission: A gateway to Central Government posts

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While many job seekers dream of getting into IAS or the State Administrative Services, not everyone is aware of the recruitment to thousands of Government of India posts through the Staff Selection Commission. The Staff Selection Commission (SSC) recruitment to various Group’ B’ and Group ‘C’ posts in the ministries/ departments of the Government of India and its subordinate offices through competitive examination. Posts with graduation as qualification are filled up through Combined Graduate Level Examination, and posts with Higher Secondary level qualification are filled up through Combined Higher Secondary Level examination.

Combined Graduate Level Examination (SSC CGL)
That is a combined examination for filling up Group’B’ (including some gazetted posts) and Group’ C’ posts. Recruitment is done through SSC to the posts of Assistant Audit Officer and Assistant Accounts Officer in CAG (Gazetted), Sub Inspector in CBI, Sub Inspector in Narcotics Control Bureau, Inspector of Income Tax, Inspector of Central Excise and Customs, Assistant Enforcement Officer in the Directorate of Enforcement, Assistant Section Officers in different ministries/departments, Tax Assistant in Income Tax and Excise department, etc. These posts have promotional prospects too. For example, the hierarchy in the Income Tax department is Income Tax Inspector – Income Tax Officer – Assistant Commissioner of Income-tax – Deputy Commissioner of Income-tax.
This examination is held every year to fill up about 8000-12,000 vacancies. Any graduate within the age limit of 18-30 years is eligible to take this examination with a 10% reservation for Economically Weaker sections (EWS).

Scheme of examination for CGLE
The examination is conducted in four Tiers. Tier 1 and Tier 2 are computer-based examinations with General Intelligence, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude, English Comprehension, Statistics, and General Studies. Tier 3 is a pen and paper mode examination with a Descriptive paper in English or Hindi. Tier 4 is to test Computer proficiency or Skill test (if applicable for the post). The level of the examination is commensurate with the qualification prescribed for the post, and they test the candidate’s abilities at basic levels.

Why SSC?
The number of vacancies notified in the UPSC examination for recruitment to IAS and other services is around 800 every year. In contrast, the SSC notifies an average of 8000 posts every year, and therefore chances of succeeding (after putting in reasonable effort)are comparatively higher here. Since SSC CGL recruits even officer cadre posts, some candidates call it Mini IAS. Selected candidates have job security, social status, decent salary, promotions, and financial stability. If selected, those desirous of preparing for higher examinations like UPSC or State Civil Services can do so along with the job.

Combined Higher Secondary Level Examination (SSC CHSL)
That is an examination for filling up Group ‘C’ posts in various Ministries/ Departments/ Organizations under the Government of India. The examination consists of a Tier 1 computer-based examination with subjects such as English language, General Intelligence, Basic Arithmetic skill, and General awareness. In addition, there is a Tier 2 examination having a Descriptive paper. There will also be a Tier 3 examination of Typing/ Skill Test.
The posts to which recruitment is done through SSC CHSL are Lower Division Clerk, Junior Secretariat Assistant, Postal Assistant/Sorting Assistant in the Department of Posts, Data Entry Operator, etc. The age limit under this category is 18-27 years. About 5000-6000 vacancies are filled up every year through SSC CHSL. The language of the examination in either English or Hindi.

Other Recruitments
SSC conducts different examinations for recruitment to various posts such as SSC JE (Junior Engineer), SSC CPO (Central Police Organisation), SSC DEO (Data Entry Operator), SSC TA (Tax Assistant), etc. While the basic structure of the exam remains the same, some modifications depending on the nature of the post to which recruitment is being made. Even 10th standard passed candidates can get into permanent Central Government posts through SSC. The posts offered are Police Constables, Group’ D’ posts in Railways and Defense, etc.

Coaching Centres
Students would have put in years of hard work for obtaining a degree. They have just to put in six months of hard work to equip themselves for the SSC examination, which could land them a lucrative and secure job. These career-defining posts are not of the ‘hire and fire’ type of private jobs.
SSC Test is a complete departure from the School/College exam. The questions are framed differently and thus require preparation of a different kind. That is why guidance from an excellent professional coaching institute is needed to improve the chances of succeeding in the examination. Moreover, candidates will have the opportunity of interacting with Peer groups and share information in a Coaching Institute.
There are many commercial Coaching Institutes all over India. Those who can afford it may get enrolled in any good Institute providing good teaching. Online coaching and YouTube videos are also helpful for the students to prepare themselves for the SSC examinations.

Muslim organizations and NGO’s have a significant role to play
An Awareness programme on SSC examinations was conducted last year by the SSC30 Bangalore group in association with the Millat Management Society of India for the students of the BET Degree College for Women, Bismillahnagar Bangalore. The Millat Management Society of India, headed by Mr. Iqbal Ahmed Siddiqui, is planning to conduct many such awareness programmes about SSC in different State colleges after the pandemic ends. They are also planning to start a Residential coaching programme in Bangalore city. To my knowledge, the Bihar Anjuman’s RAHBAR Career Academy at Patna and the SSC30 at Okhla, New Delhi, are providing free coaching and residential accommodation for the chosen SSC aspirants.
Many candidates cannot afford to pay the fees demanded by Coaching Institutes. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the community to step in. Community organizations and NGOs may either pay the costs of the Coaching Institutes enabling the candidates to get professional help or else; they may start their own Coaching Centres and provide free training. Residential training will be ideal for delivering intensive coaching without distractions. However, non-residential coaching Centres for both boys and girls are the need of the hour. This, combined with awareness campaigns about the benefits of SSC examinations, will go a long way in alleviating the unemployment problem of Muslim youth and improving the representation of the Muslim community in Central Government posts. According to the Sachar Committee report (2006), the percentage of Muslims employed in different Government departments (excluding PSU’s) is only 5%, in contrast to their population percentage of 14.2%.