Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officials are seething at the state government’s decision to make them take psychological tests. On January 30, the government had issued a notice asking officers above the age of 40 to undergo two tests Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2)/Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory and Rorschach Inkblot Test which were included in the long list of tests officers have to take every year.

These tests are used by professionals often to analyse and diagnose mental disorders (See box for details). What is surprising is that officers in only 11 districts in the state had been prescribed the exams. The IAS officers association objected strongly to the decision and the state has been forced to drop the tests.

“After receiving adverse reactions by officials, the state is going to make changes in the decision. Though the medical tests prescribed for officials beyond 40 years are valid and justifiable, the psychological test was something unjust and without any rationale,” the officials said. The medical tests have been prescribed as per the All India Services (Performance Appraisal Report) Rules- 2007, issued by the central government.

The tests are mandatory for the officials who are above 40; their results have to be forwarded to the central government every year. Though the psychological test was not suggested by the central government, ex chief secretary Jayant Banthia decided to introduce it. Sources at Mantralaya said the IAS officers raised strong objections after receiving copies of the decision that also prescribed a renowned city hospital and a Pune-based hospital for the exam.

The test was meant for officials from 11 districts of the Konkan and Pune divisions, which include Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Sangli, Satara, Pune, Kolhapur and Solapur districts. “Why was it not suggested to officials from north Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha that comprise 24 districts?” asked a senior official.

According to him, when the discontent among officers was conveyed to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, he, too, expressed his surprise. The chief secretary also was unhappy with the decision. It is still a mystery as to who included them in the routine exam list.

Explaining his decision, Banthia told MiD DAY, “We included the tests to check the mental stability of officers, since there was a suicide case recently, in which a police officer shot himself. We wanted to be in a position to help officers, if needed. Hence, we took the step. Officers are under tremendous stress; some speak to their colleagues, some to their family.

But those who don’t do so, this will help. This is just not for the IAS officers, but for all government officers.” Now, the state will exclude the test and issue a fresh decision, sources said. The officials will have to submit reports of the 15 regular medical tests by the end of this month.