Stepping in to resolve the controversy over the UPSC exam format for the second time, the government Wednesday said it will convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issue and find a way out even as it made it clear that the civil services preliminary examination scheduled for August 24 cannot be postponed.
Replying to an impromptu discussion in Rajya Sabha which saw opposition parties attacking the government, MoS for Parliamentary Affairs Prakash Javadekar expressed the Centre’s inability to make any change in the format before August 24, but said the parties can sit together and discuss ways to reform the present examination pattern. The Opposition, however, was not satisfied and staged a walkout.
The opposition parties have been disrupting Parliament, especially the Upper House, over the issue with most of them demanding that the aspirants be allowed to take the exam not just in Hindi and English but other Indian languages too.
Though the views differed, broadly, the demands were for scrapping of the second paper of the civil services aptitude test and inclusion of all languages in the Eighth Schedule for the preliminary examination.
Attacking the government for announcing that the marks scored in the English language comprehension skills section should not be considered for gradation or merit, Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’ Brien said it was a knee-jerk reaction which he said has compounded the problem. “The students of regional languages have to be given an opportunity to write those preliminary papers in the regional languages,” he said.
JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav said the CSAT exam should be made qualifying with equal weightage to all Indian languages.
Many members pointed out the errors in translation from English to Hindi in the question paper. SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav in fact cited examples. He said steel plant has been translated as “lohe ka ped” and North Pole as (Uttari Khamba) in the question papers and demanded that the second question paper of CSAT should be withdrawn.
Congress’s J D Seelam said it was wrong to remove English and suggested that instead negative marking should be removed, which will take care of the language problem in CSAT.
“You have heard the views of all parties here. Whatever views you seek in an all-party meeting have already come here. So, why don’t you take a decision on that basis,” CPM’s Sitaram Yechury said before leading his party’s members out of the House.
Party gives them 48 hours to respond.