The common written examination conducted by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) is an ‘eligibility’ exam, Mr M. Balachandran, Director, IBPS, said. The IBPS prescribes the minimum requirements, taking into account the least of the qualifying criteria stipulated by the participating banks, so that all aspirants can take a shot at the exam, he said.

He emphasised that in the advertisement issued by IBPS, it was clearly indicated that the examinations were only for qualifying to participate in the recruitment process. After qualifying, the candidates have to comply with individual bank’s requirements as and when they call for applications.

He was responding to a query voiced by many candidates who had taken the exam but found themselves ineligible after some banks prescribed higher qualification criteria.

While some banks fixed 55 per cent marks in graduation as minimum criteria, some prescribed a minimum age of 21 years — candidates who were 20 years would hence find that their score would not be valid a year later (validity of the score is one year).

Expressing anguish over the recruitment process, Mr Srivastava, an aspirant, wrote: “Many candidates who scored well in the common written exam are ineligible to apply for the interview. My question is: What was then the need to invite applications, which cost Rs 450, from everybody? We candidates feel cheated.”

Another candidate, Mr S. Kalyan, who scored 172 in the IBPS exam, has an MBA to boot and works in the clerical cadre in a top public sector bank, found himself ineligible because of the requirement to score 55 per cent marks in graduation.

He says his post-graduation marks, which is a higher qualification, should be considered for eligibility and feels the rules prescribed by some of the banks have robbed him of even the basic right to apply.
Minimum criteria

Mr Balachandran said banks could fix their minimum qualifying criteria based on their perception on the likelihood of getting candidates who fulfil their requirements and the vacancies available.

Clarifying with an example, Mr Balachandran said that just as many universities prescribe a higher cut-off for entrance to post-graduate courses even for their own graduate students, banks have the right to fix a higher minimum qualifying criteria.

In the common exam, a general candidate had to score 25 marks in each subject and the pass mark was 125/250.

Banks could fix a higher cut-off at their discretion while others may go with minimum cut-off.

Mr Balachandran said that IBPS had fixed the minimum criteria for its common exam because there were some banks that did not insist on any percentage in graduation.

He said that they did not want to deprive anybody of a chance by fixing a higher qualifying criteria. He said the process was transparent and that most competitive exams even for admissions do follow a similar approach.

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