Keen to defuse the escalating UPSC row, the Government today announced in Parliament that English marks in CSAT-II will not be included for gradation or merit but the impasse is likely to continue with agitating aspirants sticking to the demand for complete scrapping of this format.
The Union Public Services Commission (UPSC), meanwhile, said the civil services preliminary exams will be held as scheduled on August 24 incorporating the changes even as the government refused to yield to the demand of the civil service aspirants for doing away with Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). The aspirants, who also demanded postponement of the exams, shifted their protests to Jantar Mantar from Mukherjee Nagar in north Delhi where they have been agitating for the last 25 days.
The government also announced that candidates who took the 2011 UPSC exam will get another chance to appear for the test next year. The UPSC row also rocked Parliament forcing a spate of adjournments in the Rajya Sabha. "Government is of the opinion that in the Civil Services Preliminary examination, Paper-II, the marks of the question section on 'English Language comprehension skills' should not be included for gradation or merit," Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said.
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In a brief statement, Singh also said, "Candidates, who appeared in Civil Services Examination 2011, may be given one more attempt in 2015." "We are not satisfied with MoS Personnel Jitendra Singh's speech in Lok Sabha regarding CSAT. We want complete scrapping of CSAT. We have decided to continue our fight from Jantar Mantar," Pawan, an UPSC aspirant, who is leading the protest said.
Pawan said the Government announcement has not addressed its demand. "We never demanded from BJP-led Government to modify CSAT pattern. Instead, our demand was to finish this test for the welfare of lakhs of students, who had studied in Hindi medium," he added.
In Rajya Sabha, trouble also broke out over Jitendra Singh's remark that, "We have made it language-neutral. What is the confusion?" Singh's statement could not pacify agitating members from Congress, CPI, DMK, Trinamool and AIADMK. AIADMK and other opposition parties sought to know if the civil service aspirants would be able to write the examination in native languages.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the minister's use of the phrase 'language-neutral' has further complicated the entire thing. There are two compulsory papers of 200 marks each in the preliminary examination. These papers are also known as CSAT-I and CSAT-II. The CSAT-II paper carries questions on comprehension, inter-personal skills including communication skills, logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision-making and problem- solving, general mental ability, basic numeracy, and English language comprehension skills (of Class X level).