What is the difference between SSC and UPSC exams?

SSC exams vs UPSC exams-a comparative analysis. See here the difference between SSC exams and UPSC exams.

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is a Constitutional body mandated to recruit the candidates for the Civil Services and Civil Posts. Government of India established UPSC in 1950. It succeeded the Federal Public Service Commission. The President of India can assign any work related to the disciplinary action against any Civil Servant and ask for its recommendations. It is the attached office to the Ministry of Personnel.

Staff Selection Commission (SSC) is relatively new in comparison to the UPSC. It was created by the executive resolution of the Government of India in 1975 as ‘Subordinate Services Commission’ to recruit the candidates for the Class III (Group C) and Class IV (Group D) services for the Union Government offices. Later in 1977, the office was renamed to Staff Selection Commission. SSC is also an attached office to the Ministry of Personnel, Government of India.

Exams Conducted

UPSC conducts the exam for the Civil Services and Civil posts. UPSC conducts various exams annually and fulfils the requisition sent to it by various departments of Government of India.

The UPSC issues an exam calendar every year and follows the same. It is a very rare proposition that the UPSC exam gets postponed or delayed. Though, it happened in 2020 because of coronavirus pandemic.

Besides the assigned exams, UPSC also conducts the recruitment for the specialised positions which do not fall in the ambit of any other recruitment agencies. It includes the recruitment of various officers like Scientific Officer, Medical Officer, information officer, Assistant Professor and the likes. These positions are sometimes filled through a direct interview.

The UPSC conducts the following exams

  • Civil Services Exam
  • Engineering Services Exam (IES)
  • Combined Armed Police Forces Exam (CAPF)
  • Combined Medical Services Exam (CMS)
  • Combined Defence Services Exam (CDS)
  • National Defence Academy & Naval Academy Exam (NDA & NA)
  • Indian Economic Services/Indian Statistical Services Exam (IES/ISS)
  • Combined Geo-Scientist Exam

Besides the above, the UPSC also conducts some departmental exams as well for promotion purposes.

SSC is mandated to conduct the exams for the Class III (Group C) non-technical and Class IV (Group D) positions. SSC conducts the recruitment of non-technical posts and the technical recruitment is carried out by other agencies(with some exceptions). The duties and functions of the office can be enlarged from time to time through the government orders.

Government of India provides such necessary staff to the SSC required to fulfil all its assigned duties and responsibilities.SSC conducts the following exams.

  • SSC Combined Graduate Level Examination (SSC CGL)
  • SSC Combined Higher Secondary Level Exam (SSC CHSL)
  • Junior Engineer
  • Junior Hindi Translator
  •  SSC GD Constable
  •  SSC Multitasking Staff
  • SI (Central Police Organization)
  • Stenographer C & D
  • Selection Post

Recruitment process

As per the latest announcement made by the Prime Minister of India in 2015, the interviews were scraped from the recruitment process for the Group C posts. So Majority of the SSC exam is conducted with no interviews. SSC conducts the recruitment for some Grade B (Gazetted, Non-Ministerial) posts such as Assistant Audit Officer and Assistant Section Officer where the interview is conducted.

UPSC conducts the recruitment for the Group A and Group B posts and hence in almost all the recruitments, the interview is taken by the UPSC Board.

The UPSC is a central authority and all the things in the UPSC exam are centralised from notification to issuing recommendation list all the things are notified by UPSC itself. In UPSC exams, the candidate can get posted anywhere in India. It depends upon the availability of position and the preference given by the candidate.

But in the case of SSC, there are various regional headquarters and every exam is conducted region-wise. The candidates apply to the exam for their respective region and the admit cards are also issued region-wise. After the selection, the candidates get the posting in the opted region.

Most of the SSC exams are conducted online in the Computer-Based Test(CBT) format, but the majority of the UPSC exams are conducted offline. Because of the number of applicants and CBT, SSC conducts one exam in multiple shifts. The SSC ask different question paper in each shift after the exam; it carries out the normalisation of marks based on the difficulty level of the question papers. In the case of UPSC, since the exam is offline, it is conducted on the same day across the nation with the same question paper and no normalisation of marks is carried out,

Pay Scale

The UPSC conducts the recruitment to the post where the basic pay scale (starting) is equal to or higher than Rs 9300. The UPSC is asked by the President from time to time about recommendations regarding the cases of Disciplinary actions in the professional conduct and discharge of duties.

The functions of the Staff Selection Commission are expanded from time to time by the executive directions and now it carries out the recruitment to all Group “B” posts in the pay scale of Rs 9300 to 34800 with grade pay of Rs 42000. The SSC is not consulted while taking disciplinary actions on any of the officer.

The UPSC has only one office located at New Delhi, but SSC operated through its various regional offices. UPSC conducts the exam by coordinating with the state administrative machinery but SSC has to do the majority of its work by itself.

Special Powers of UPSC

Every year, thirty-three per cent of the IAS vacancies are filled through promotion. The state civil services officers who have completed certain time in the state civil services are eligible to be promoted to the IAS. UPSC also conduct these exams and the state officers need to pass the written exam (some states) and UPSC interview conducted by the UPSC board. UPSC recommends the state civil service officers for promotion to IAS and the PCS officer become the IAS officer.

No such powers are delegated to the SSC. It only conducts the direct recruitment of the candidates.

Time Factor

The time factor is very important from the student’s point of view. The SSC exams are postponed most of the time and the recruitment process is stretched to more than two years (in some cases). But UPSC conducts the exams as per the exam calendar released one year in advance. UPSC exams are not postponed in normal circumstances.

Henesh Rawat
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