Even during that period, when, on the recommendations of ‘Kothari Committee’ in 1979, the Preliminary Examination was introduced, some voices were raised and it was presumed that many non-serious candidates and those with repetitive attitude may play around with wild guesses, smart moves and some dependence on ‘Luck’ to crack Multiple Choice Questions in Preliminary Examination. It was apprehended that such candidates can always put serious and committed candidates to a disadvantage. However, such fears related to guessing etc were unfounded.
Recommendations to meet such demands
In 1988, the Satish Chandra Committee reviewed the entire scheme of Civil Services Examination and made significant recommendations to improve the recruitment process. Among many, one such recommendation was of 'Negative Marking’ (a 50% penalty for wrong answers) at the Preliminary Examination. The rationale - since the purpose of the Preliminary Examination is to pick up competent and serious-minded candidates, it was considered expedient to introduce negative marking for wrong answers. However, the UPSC deferred it then.
For so many years, a kind of situation was prevailing at Prelims level where sometimes, non-serious, average-prepared candidate simply applying random guesses were scoring marks unfairly which they never deserved.
Accepted & Implemented
This is a concrete step taken by UPSC in the right direction to select competent and serious minded candidates. Acting on these recommendations by realizing the need of sort of cleansing act to clear the froth, with 2006 examination, ‘Negative Marking’ was implemented but, with a reduced penalty i.e., 1/3rd of the marks (0.33) assigned to a question is deducted in case of wrong answer as a penalty. Same rule applies if you give more than one answer. However, if the question is left unanswered, there will be no penalty.
Preliminary Examination pattern changed in 2011; still, Negative marking stays
New-look Preliminary Examination had a completely new pattern from Civil Services Examination 2011; but, the negative marking remained applicable in the Preliminary Examination.
There will be Penalty (Negative Marking) for wrong answers marked by candidates except some of the questions where the Negative Marking will be inbuilt in the form of different marks being awarded to the most appropriate and not so appropriate answer for such questions.
On Sunday 17th February 2019