Even as the government claimed to have brought respite to thousands of UPSC aspirants who have been protesting over the last one week, students criticised the measures announced by the government and alleged that they have been cheated.
Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh announced in Lok Sabha, on Monday, that marks of English language comprehension skills in the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) will not be included for gradation or merit in the civil services examination.
“What has the government announced? They have cheated us. No remedy to our problems has been provided. The problem is not just with the English comprehension sections. The problem lies in the Hindi translation of those passages. The translation is such that no Hindi-medium student or even a professor can make sense of it,” a protester said on the condition of anonymity, fearing police crackdown.
The alleged respite to students, in the form of giving an extra attempt to those who had appeared for the examination in 2011, also met with flak from aspirants. “The additional attempt makes no difference to us because the format of the UPSC exam has not been changed. None of our demands have been met,” the protester said.
UPSC aspirants have been demanding that the civil services preliminary examination, scheduled for August 24, be postponed. They also want CSAT to be scrapped or made optional. They also demand that the applicants should not be quizzed on their English language skills at any level in the screening process as it discriminates against students from other mediums.
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Protesters argued that UPSC can instead provide an English proficiency course to applicants after they qualify the examination and interview.
Meanwhile, students’ organisations backed by political parties also slammed the government’s decision. The Congress backed National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) said the decision was nothing but “an eyewash to the millions of students who have been relentlessly protesting against CSAT”.
Elaborating on their concerns, NSUI spokesperson Amrish Ranjan Pandey said, “The government did not talk about the translation issue which was a major demand of the protestors. The problem with CSAT was not just about English vs Hindi, it was also about humanities vs science students. That issue remains unaddressed. Humanities students will still face discrimination. Students who have studied regional languages are going to be on the receiving end. Why did the government wait for two months to reach this decision which is not even satisfactory to anyone?”
Incidentally, the BJP backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also felt that the measures announced by the central government was not enough.
“We welcome the government’s initiative but this is not enough. The government should rethink its decision and come to a conclusion based on a wider perspective,” Saket Bahuguna, ABVP Delhi State Secretary, said.