A 'technical glitch' in the Tata Consultancy Services data centre server caused a two-hour delay in start of the online recruitment examination for talathis (revenue department officials) on Monday in Maharashtra, a senior bureaucrat said, prompting the state government to order a probe.
Anand Rayate, senior IAS officer and state coordinator for the Talathi Recruitment Exam-2023, said the statewide test conducted with the help of IT major TCS started at 11 am, instead of 9 am scheduled originally, after the fault was rectified.
In a statement in Mumbai, he said, “The TCS company informed the government today (Monday) that there has been some technical problem in its data centre server. Due to it, the morning session for the talathi recruitment exam could not start at 9 am. After the problem was fixed, the first session started at 11 am across the state.”
The exam was conducted with the help of TCS at 115 centres in 30 districts. Candidates were informed about the delay via resident collectors in the districts where the test was scheduled, Rayate said.
The IAS officer expressed regret over inconvenience caused to the candidates who appeared for the exam.
TCS, in a statement in the morning, said, “As per the technical team, there was a central hardware issue which has impacted the exam start time in all the exam centres for talathi (revenue department officials) recruitment exam 2023 today.”
Maharashtra Revenue Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil announced a high-level probe into the matter and expressed regret over inconvenience caused to candidates appearing for the exam.
Talking to reporters in Mumbai, he said, “The additional chief secretary of the revenue department will conduct an inquiry into the reason behind the Tata Consultancy Services' server developing a technical glitch that caused major inconvenience to candidates appearing for talathi recruitment examination. The state government expresses regrets to candidates who faced inconvenience due to a delay in start of the exam.”
He wondered how a technical glitch can occur in the TCS server given the infotech giant has experience in conducting such examinations in the state.
“The company has informed the state government that a technical glitch in its data centre caused the problem. I wonder how such a technical glitch can develop in a company like TCS. The company has conducted recruitment exams for other state departments as well,” said the minister.
“The exam's first session, which was supposed to start at 9 am, began at 11 am. Since then, the remaining sessions of the exam have been organised to avoid any further inconvenience,” Vikhe Patil said.
Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Vijay Wadettiwar of the Congress said the state government has been "irresponsible" in handling the entire examination issue.
Wadettiwar said the state government should have opened examination centres in every district of the state.
"Candidates spent sleepless nights and arrived in cities, where the exam centres are located, today morning and found their exam was on hold,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to a government resolution, 32 per cent posts of talathis are currently vacant in the state.
The GR dated August 18 said of the total sanctioned posts of 15,744 talathis, who are Class C employees, 5,038 positions are lying vacant and the process to fill them was underway.
A talathi is a revenue department official whose job is to maintain village accounts relating to the demand and collection of land revenue, records of rights, inspect crops and boundary marks, and prepare agricultural statistics, among other duties.